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Making the right moves

Is job hopping critical to career advancement? HT PowerJobs finds out.

india Updated: May 16, 2006 11:58 IST

Putting in his papers and quitting from a safe, well-paid job to chart a completely unknown territory was a calculated risk, but for Arun Naikar it was a risk worth taking.

"It wasn't a strategic move. I'd hit a ceiling point in my job and the only way to move forward, was to move laterally, which is what I did. I knew I had the strengths, so I took the plunge," he recalls. A Business Manager at eOffice Planet, Naikar counts that decision as a major turning point in his career.

The fact is that none of us think strategically in terms of our careers, but sometimes decisions get made impromptu which completely change the course of our lives. These decisions may be circumstantial or depend on the risk appetite and the confidence of the individual to pull them off, but the truth is that if they had not got very comfortable in their jobs, inertia would have taken over and they would never have found the courage to opt out.

So, although it's difficult to have a cut and dried plan in hand for moving up the corporate ladder, keeping a few points in mind could help you to evolve a flexible and fluid career outlook that will keep you going, despite the odds.

Look for the right job

Of course, you need a job. But any job will not do. So before you sign on that dotted line, pause for a while. The money may be great and so may the position, but is the job great?

It is easy to get carried away when you are being told that you will get a five-figure salary, plus perks, but should economics be the only reason for taking a job?

Success means movement

Work out your exit policy or your threshold limit when still in a job. Success needs movement, so if you get too well settled in a safe groove, the inertia that sets in will ensure that you are never able to get out. Each one of us has different thresholds, depending upon job satisfaction, the work environment, experience and expertise gained or the remuneration offered in a particular job.

For Suresh Kumar, working for a premier scientific institution was good, but his morale took a beating every time he was not given the rewards or recognition that he thought he deserved.

"I was so frustrated that my skills were not being valued that I quit and took up a job in the US," he recalls. "It was a risk, no doubt, but I don't know what else I could have done. I needed to grow; I needed the excitement of exploring new horizons. I was young, I was energetic and I had to prove myself to the world."

Update your portfolio

Always keep your portfolio ready with an up-to-date resume and case studies of your work experience.

Case studies enhance not just your resumes but also your presentation at a job interview. A written out case study will help you to present it verbally as and when the occasion arises. Ideally you should reserve one day in a month to update your portfolio.

Be ever ready to switch

Sometimes even the best-laid plans can go awry. So you must know when to cut your losses and move out. Prachi Verma had a mid-life crisis when she found out that she would have to quit her job as a business manager with a textile company because the remuneration didn't quite meet her growing budgetary needs and the company would not give her a substantial hike. "My academic qualifications and work experience were all tailored to meet my job, but with this particular company I knew I had hit the end."

So, one fine day, she took her fate in her hands, quit and appeared for a walk-in interview called by a call centre.

"I was apprehensive, as I was senior to all those youngsters I spotted out there, I had no clue what I was getting myself into." However, the social and networking skills that she had developed in her earlier job came to her aid and she was selected. "I am still the senior-most employee in the outfit, but I know that this won't be held against me, so I am glad I made this transition," says Verma.

Make the right moves

The important point is to recognise which jobs are stop-gaps and which are important; when and where you have learnt your lessons; gained your experience or added that all-important note to your resume, after which it may be time to move on.

For Suresh Kumar, the stint in the US was just that. "I needed to get away from the stifling environment here. I was given a taste of working at a higher management level. Above all, I concretised my knowledge with an MS degree."

In time he was ready to move back to India where he found a job that is commensurate with his calibre. During the interim, he had gained the necessary experience and qualifications that got him the position he wanted and on his own terms!