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Sketching out a grand career design

Once you have done your Swot analysis, you are more than half way to knowing the kind of company you would like to work for, the kind of job you would like to do and the kind of career path you would like to follow.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 01:13 IST

Once you have done your Swot analysis, you are more than half way to knowing the kind of company you would like to work for, the kind of job you would like to do and the kind of career path you would like to follow.

Of course, this career path may veer in many directions over the years — some by accident, some due to calculated risks, some to chance encounters. But this does not obviate the necessity to have what may be called `the grand design' — a plan to start out with.

Now is the time to look at the location, where you may want to work. It is true that at this stage in life when you are starting a career, you cannot be too choosy; you cannot decide to stay put on home base. Most of us are not so lucky, not unless we inherit our father's business!

In which case, we may not be required to make any such decisions anyway. But for those of us who need to make a decision, we may choose to restrict ourselves to the north, the east, or the south. This is reasonable and fair to the corporation and the individual.

I have come across so many sales people who will answer the question in the application form ‘Are you prepared to be posted anywhere in India?' with a firm, affirmative, no nonsense ‘Yes'. They are appointed and posted to Dibrugarh or Shillong in the east, or Nasik or Sholapur in the west.

One week after the six-month probation period is over and the confirmation of a service letter has been received, the rumblings begin. The syndromes of the only son, old parents, widowed mother, seriously ill sister or sister to be married suddenly, surface.

They all want transfers to the metros. This causes great unhappiness to the individual as well as to the corporation. If the ground rules had been avoided. The individual must have the courage to stand by the decision taken.

If the decision was taken because of the lack of choices, then you must abide by it regardless. Or change the job and go elsewhere, with another corporation. To stay and whine, complain and fret is only a reflection of a weak-minded and scheming individual who is not valued anywhere else anyway.

Within the geographical zone, the focus is on the corporation. What kind of company is it? What kind of reputation does it enjoy? Is it a newly started company or an old reputed one? If new, has it been started by an established organisation or by newly inducted entrepreneurs? If by new entrepreneurs, what is their previous record as individuals?

If promoted by an established company, what is their record? Is it a public limited, private limited, partnership or proprietary company? What is the style of management - paternalistic, autocratic, democratic, or laissez-faire?

And is it really professionally managed? There are so many proprietary companies which are professionally managed and so many public limited and even multinationals which are managed as if the chief executive's grand father owned the company' that the distinction between professionally and not professionally managed has become blurred.

In the past, people believed that companies managed by paid employees who had no stake or ownership were professionally managed and those managed by the owners or major shareowners were not professionally managed. This distinction no longer holds true. A strange metamorphosis has taken place and the new entrant has to be all the more careful.

There are companies with community preferences and even though they may take on people of different communities on the ground level, the going may become difficult as on climbs up a narrowing pyramid, until community alignment takes place at the senior most level, between the senior management and the `supreme'.

There are also education taboos. Some companies prefer to recruit only MBA as trainees or junior executives. While some may accept MBAs from any university, others insist on an MBA from one of the premier institutions, such as the Indian Institute of Management, Xavier's Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur, or Jamnalal Bajaj Institute, Mumbai.

If they do accept someone who does not fit this mould, it may be because of an immediate need. But come promotion time, all other things being equal, the MBA will be preferred. This contingency has to be foreseen by non-MBAs, non-CAs in accounts and non-degree holders in engineering; so that one is not disappointed at a later stage in life when it is too late to retrace one's footsteps.

Excerpt Courtesy: Conquer Fear By Lisa Jimenez, Published By MacMillan India