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Survival Tactics

Most of your professional training happens in your first job, so try and stay on longer to learn more, Jeevan Prakash Sharma writes.

business Updated: Sep 03, 2012 23:32 IST
Jeevan Prakash Sharma
Jeevan Prakash Sharma
Hindustan Times

Who isn't nervous reporting for work for the first time ever? You are not in college or school anymore. You are accountable for what you do, you have to follow rules, obey the bosses and be liked by your peers and superiors… daunting stuff, wouldn't you say?

We have all at some point quit the academic world to enter an office. How quickly we master survival tricks determines how fast we grow within an organisation.

A study on 1000 CEOs from all over the country, conducted by the TMI Group, (an integrated HR services firm) revealed that 80% of the top bosses had stuck to their first jobs for around five years.

"This reflects the importance of staying on longer at the first job. What we can draw from the study is that your first job lays down the foundation of your career. If you survive the first job you can survive anywhere," says T Muralidharan, executive chairman, TMI group.

So, well begun is half done. That's what many experts believe in. For a good start, however, one should keep in mind several factors that play a decisive role in shaping the right future.

Tailored for you

Get into a job which suits you, your ability and temperament. Many experts feel that fresh graduates compromise on their choices with big brands, which can sometimes prove to be disastrous for their careers.

"Instead for going for big names and taking up a job in which you don't have any interest, choose to do something that gets you thinking creatively - irrespective of how big or small the company is," says Manish Garg, president, Everest Industries.

It has been observed that first-timers often base their opinions on the advice of their peers or parents, instead of experts. "For example, would most parents understand a digital marketing job? Would your peers be able to recommend which industry is going to grow at 25% for the next 10 years? Try to find a proper mentor whom you can consult for proper advice," suggests Govind Wakhlu, co-founder, Common Job Test (CJT).

Understand the company

Send your resume to an organisation you have researched and found out more about the job profile you are interested in. This should be your first due-diligence exercise. Saurabh Uboweja, director, brand strategy at Brands of Desire, a strategic brand consulting company, recalls how one of his colleagues had to quit his first job only because he felt he was a misfit there. "He could not do justice to his role and quit. He didn't feel comfortable or welcome enough in the organisation," says Uboweja.

Observe more, speak less

Successful professionals lay emphasis on a more patient approach for those in their first jobs. Seniors appreciate candidates who listen to them. "Being inquisitive doesn't mean unnecessary interference when your senior is speaking to you. Ask when you feel it is required. Making small, useless talk will go against you," advises Ashok Sahni, ex-general manager, Standard Chartered.

First-timers who are hard workers want to perform well and get instant recognition. However, they find it hard to maintain the intensity once initial efforts fail. "Both performance and recognition take time. Therefore, patience is the key to success in the long term. Also, fresh candidates should not try to overdo things initially and then taper off gradually, says Uboweja.

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