Friday, March 1, 2013

Life after Graduation: Expecting the Unexpected - Part 2

Let me continue from where we ended Part 1

Ironically, we study enough to get the ‘cut-off’ percentage or grade to qualify for campus interviews. The interview goes well, and we get a job. Job provides monthly salary. You go to office, and your manager tells you what you are going to do. You do that month after month, year after year. And you think that you are performing well just because you do what your manager asks you to do. Is this what you expect? Does it work that way? Do you want to do that? Do you think a job like this will ensure a rewarding career? No! Not in our industry. Not when you are a knowledge-worker.

Let me reiterate. Limiting yourself to a part of syllabus or limiting yourself to a specific percentage or grade can’t happen at work! It does not provide you bright results at your college as well! Colleges provides you knowledge, intends to make you a scholar and wants you to be a committed student whereas corporate stresses on professionalism.

Corporates stress on professionalism
Yes. When you are in college, you approach your faculty members for help. Don’t you? Think about the last time you and all your classmates, as a single big group, approached your professor just because all of you wanted to postpone a class test! Think about the last time when you ignored regular preparation and burnt midnight oil to prepare for an exam! Those moves or approaches may work for students! You cannot bring them into your life after graduation.

Corporates stresses on professionalism. To become a professional you need expertise as well as several other things such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, team skills, analytical skills, flexibility, adaptability, detail-orientation, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, organizational skills, leadership skills, lifelong learning, self-direction, industry knowledge, customer focus, dedication, self-confidence, etc.

When you are weak in one of these skills, you will get a chance to improve or build your skills. You may get one or two chances to improve.

There are non-negotiable qualities as well. These are honesty, integrity, work ethics, decorum, social responsibility, non-discrimination, etc. You know these. You know the boundaries. You know when the boundary is crossed. For example, you know or you can sense when there is a violation of honesty or integrity. You can identify discriminatory actions or transactions.

If you are weak in one of these skills and if such a weakness results in action, you will lose your job, your will lose big opportunities and you will tarnish your image. You will not even get a chance to retract. Violation of such values is irreversible.

How can you merge smoothly?
Let me tell you an analogy. Moving into corporate life after graduation is very much similar to merging onto a highway after years of practicing in city roads where the speed limit is 30 or 40 miles an hour. You know your city roads as much as you know your college campus. You know your fellow drivers. There are rules – simple rules! The traffic is less or moderate.

Highways have multiple lanes and the speed limit is 60 miles or more! You must know the rules of the game before you enter the highway. It is not just entering. You must know how to merge smoothly. Also you must know when to yield. You must know how to make decisions as you move on.

The expectations of our industry on college graduates has transformed over years. Decades ago, one has to be skilled in a specific language or database or platform. That is not adequate at present. Let us watch this video.

I want to tell you about my journey and I want to share what I expected and what I didn’t. I have added this in Part 3.

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