Monday, August 18, 2008

Career Guide

I got this message when I had joined my 1st job.........

Rule 1: Be sure you are happy and excited about your job.

It is extremely important that you find a job that you feel happy and excited about. This will be the foundation for your job performance, satisfaction, and leadership. If you are doing something that you enjoy, you have a positive effect on those you work with, and the results of your efforts benefit the organization and your career. On the other hand, an unhappy worker tends to produce low-quality results and have a negative impact on the team, with little hope of career advancement.

Rule 2: Be a recognized expert in a particular field.

Establish yourself as an expert in a field and gain recognition for this expertise. Your reputation will grow, and people will come to you for help. The more people you network with, the more you will share and broaden your knowledge. The core expertise you started with will expand its boundaries into many related areas, and recognition of your achievements will follow suit. The people you help become your best advocates, which can lead to good opportunities both within and outside of your organization.

Rule 3: Expand your work beyond your responsibility.

It is not enough to do your assigned job well. Good companies get many outstanding people who do their jobs well. You need to take the initiative to go beyond your assignment, like you would get extra credit in school. Look beyond the task at hand and find ways to have a greater impact than what was expected of you. Those who are in a position to evaluate you will be impressed and will want to reward you. Don’t be afraid to use creative ideas to improve your job and the jobs of those around you. If you want to be considered for promotion, you need to demonstrate that you can perform at the next level before you even get there.

Rule 4: Help others succeed and be part of a team.

Helping others is one of the best ways to go beyond your own job responsibility. By helping others, you not only strengthen your own skills, but you also gain friends and grow a network of valuable contacts. When you help other individuals on your team, then you help the whole team be more successful. If you are perceived by others as being helpful and team-oriented, they will want to work with you, to have you on their team, and to recommend you for career opportunities.

Rule 5: Be sure your results align with organization goals, meet schedules with high quality and within budget.

Try to get on projects that have a high priority and substantial business impact. One way of learning which projects are important is to find out the projected savings and earnings, and to assess whether the project is an integral part of the company’s future direction. A practical way of telling which projects fit this description is to notice where your management is placing their emphasis and attention. But whatever project you are on, be sure your deliverables meet or exceed objectives, are on schedule, and stay within budget. However, keep in mind that your good efforts may not be valued or rewarded unless they are part of the organization’s business strategy.

Rule 6: Be clear about your goals.

Success is different for each person. Each of us has to define for ourselves what success means in our lives. If you don’t know what you want, then you cannot really channel your efforts and steer your career toward your goals. If you want advancement in your work, then you need to make a plan and execute it, while communicating your goals to your managers and any other people you may be in a position to help you. Remember that you are the owner of your goals, and you must be the champion of your future.

Rule 7: Be cautious about trying to change a difficult environment.

When we find ourselves with non-supportive management or non-strategic projects, we are tempted to analyze the situation to find a way to improve it. While this is appropriate problem-solving behavior, if you find yourself in the situation for an extended period of time, you need to realize that moving to another position may be the best answer for you. Differences in managerial style or personality conflicts can be detrimental to your career. Do everything you can to work collaboratively with a difficult manager, but realize that it may be beyond your ability to positively change the environment. Rather, look for a more supportive environment where you can excel. At one point in my career, I had a non-supportive manager, and despite my best efforts over the course of several years, I could not improve our working relationship. I transferred to another organization where my abilities and good performance were quickly recognized.

Rule 8: Find a mentor and a supportive environment.

Mentoring in general is a positive and proactive way of transferring knowledge and experience. There are two phases to mentoring. The initial phase is when you first join an organization and you need to learn the ropes to be productive in your job. The second phase of mentoring comes after you have established your expertise, when you are attracting managers who need your skills and want to leverage them. At this point you should take the initiative to seek these managers as mentors. The likelihood of successful mentoring in this case is strong, since these managers already appreciate and value your capabilities, and they will be supportive and act as your advocate. The first phase of mentoring is beneficial because you can learn the ropes faster and gain confidence more quickly than if you try to observe everything by yourself. The second phase of mentoring is beneficial because you join a network of people who can teach you a lot and sponsor you for positions of greater responsibility and visibility within the organization. Also, don’t neglect to seek out subordinates and mentor them so that you can pass on your knowledge and experience.

Rule 9: Work for several managers and study their styles.

People have different styles for communicating and managing. Observe the styles of successful managers, and identify the qualities that contribute to their effectiveness. Learn about these qualities and try to adopt them into your own way of doing things. Study various managers’ styles, and find a few whose styles are compatible with yours. Try to work for some of these managers, because when you work for someone whose style is compatible with yours, it is easier to learn from them and work collaboratively to reach organizational goals.

Rule 10: Show leadership qualities and communicate results effectively.

If you want to be recognized as a leader, you need to demonstrate your leadership abilities by fostering good relationships and a team spirit among peers, upper management, subordinates, and customers; understanding the business and driving technical excellence and innovation, which leads to important new opportunities; managing conflict, drawing out and identifying critical issues in personal interactions, and negotiating resolutions; instilling a feeling of respect in others by showing integrity and a sincere interest in people; exhibiting excellent listening skills and a willingness to be open to suggestion; attracting and motivating good people, and helping to make them outstanding.

Make your presentations simple, focused, and to-the-point. Communicate results that are clearly aligned with business objectives and have high business value impact. Emphasize how you achieved high-quality results while delivering on schedule and within budget. Be sure to include specific qualitative information about your achievement, such as business impact (savings or revenue), use of leading-edge technologies, managing teams across organizational boundaries to meet very aggressive commitments, and taking charge of new or struggling projects to make them successful.

Rule 11: Be aware that you are being evaluated every day.

Try to do your best at all times, knowing that your participation is evaluated every day. Each person that works with you will form an opinion about your effectiveness, capabilities, and expertise. This is especially true of your superiors, who will judge your performance every time they have contact with you. These opinions will affect your performance evaluations and any management decisions made when career opportunities arise.

Rule 12: See yourself through the eyes of others.

Become aware of the value systems and objectives of those you work with, especially the leadership in your business. Try to see yourself through their eyes so that you can align your efforts with their priorities and identify the contributions that are supportive of their objectives. With this increased understanding and awareness, you can improve your performance by focussing on high priority business initiatives, enhancing your working relationship with your manager, and effectively communicating the impact of your contributions.

Rule 13: Be patient – time spent at current level may be important.

Don’t be too eager to advance to the next level; you may not be ready yet to perform effectively at that level. There are certain skills to learn at each level that will help you be effective at the next level. If you are promoted too soon, you may perform only marginally in your new position, and your evaluation will reflect that level of performance. It may be difficult or even impossible to overcome that initial impression. On the other hand, when you are ready to be promoted, you are most likely to quickly be successful in your new position, and create a favorable initial impression of your abilities.

Rule 14: You can not control everything.

You can plan your career, be dedicated, and deliver on commitments with high business value. However, there are circumstances beyond your control that may cause you disappointment. At these times it doesn’t help to look back and fret about what should have happened. Keep looking to the present and future, and focus on things you have some control over. Continue to make your best effort toward achieving your goals, and keep learning from your experiences.

Rule 15: Don’t overlook the role of luck.

Many times an achievement results from being in the right place at the right time, which involves some degree of luck. Many of us are equally deserving of advancement, but the role of luck may be a factor in who actually gets ahead. To make luck work for you, be alert and capture opportunities for being at the right place, at the right time. Following Rules 1 through 14 above will enhance your ability to realize these opportunities.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why we choose careers that don’t make us happy - Part 1

Human behaviour is influenced by our perception of the world and other people and events in it.When we look back on some of the choices we have made,there is always this feeling of what might have been.What if we had gone to a different college. What if we had not taken up that 1st job.

About me, I chose(or rather my parents) to study computer science and engineering on the year Y2k.Not that this is a bad choice for many. But it simply was the wrong choice for a person like me.I struggled through this course for 4 years. Programming lab exams were always a nightmare. I had been a pretty good student all throughout school. Now I was "average".Whatever that means.

But as luck would have it, I still got through a campus interview and landed my first job as an application developer(read programmer) at a medium-sized company.But here the matter got worse. From being average I went down to below average.....:-(

That year I wrote several competitive exams CAT,GRE, SCJP for programmer certification.I flunked the 1st and last and got a decent score in GRE.But my parents decided not to spend 15-20 lakhs and send me to US.They decided it was better off to get me married and registered my name on KeralaMatrimony instead. ....To be continued

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Food for thought

Recently received the following message as a forward from one of my friends:

New Exam pattern in India (Revised):

1. General students - Answer ALL questions.

2. OBC - WRITE ANY one question!

3. SC - ONLY READ questions!!!!





Same day came across the below article as well:
Its high time the government realise that real talent has got nothing to do with the caste or upbringinf of a person it is something inherent. Not giving an opportunity to real talent to grow will result in a loss to this nation.

Wake up atleast now..........

Quotes on Time Management

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst." - William Penn

"Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week." -Charles Richards

"Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life."- Alan Lakein
"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." -Carl Sandburg
"A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life." - Charles Darwin

"Make use of time, let not advantage slip" -William Shakespeare

"Those who make the worse use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness." - Jean De La Bruyere

"Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year - and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!" -Anthony Robbins

"If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got." -Lee Iacocca

"Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions"John Randolph

"Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it." - M. Scott Peck

"Your greatest resource is your time." - Brian Tracy

"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot." - Michael Altshuler

"Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose" -Thomas Edison
"Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else." - Peter F. Drucker
"You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it." -Charles Bruxton
"What may be done at any time will be done at no time." - Scottish Proverb