COVID19 has shaken the world and reminded the humanity of its vulnerabilities. Life must go on and hence, it is a continual course-correction that each one of us is doing to stay relevant and optimistic of finding a solution to this obstacle. As history has proved time and again, this shall pass away. We have to persevere and keep making progress, else we will be blown away by the storm. India’s millions of young graduates are now exploring various possibilities.
A handful has been clear about their plans and moved to the universities and some are still exploring the road ahead. This happens every year, however this time around, we have a huge number of students unable to transition to the world of work. As a result, they will be landing up in the universities to catch hold of some stability and clarity for the next few years. As they commence a new journey, what can help them take some steps in a sure-footed manner towards the world of work?
Studies are not enough!
Right from childhood, most families in India train their children to excel in studies to secure their future. The focus is on studies, examinations and academic scores. Learning is not a major goal for most of us. Extra-curricular activities are viewed as an icing on the cake, a checkbox to be ticked as an optional item. As one reaches the final leg of the student life, it is time to get ready for taking up the work-life. At this juncture, we realise that there are a few things we have not done enough and hence, aren’t sure how to deal with them. Excelling in studies are not enough in the final leg of one’s student career.
One has to combine studies with real-life project work and rigorously focus on learning concepts and developing one’s ability to apply those concepts. These are needed to stay relevant and competitive in today’s dynamic world of work.
Ethics at work are critical!
Knowing how to do a job well is not enough. One has to relate to the organisation, its purpose, practices and norms. Every organisation is unique in terms of its norms and practices; the leadership team establishes those through their behaviours day-to-day. There is nothing wrong or right about the way they go about accomplishing their goals. It is their way of doing things which makes them unique.
It is important to understand those values and figure out a way of working with those values. In the worst case of being unable to relate to the way of life there, one should not hesitate to move away from that organisation to another place whose way of life is more amenable and compatible with one’s thinking. Accommodating the dissonance for a long time isn’t going to be fruitful and sustainable for one’s future.
Secondly, we have to develop skills in understanding others, listening to their views and appreciating where they are coming from. This helps us form our thoughts and direct them appropriately so that we can be understood fully. One to one or in a group, conversations at the workplace play an important role in determining the effectiveness of each individual at work. While the knowledge of communication and feedback is a good starting point, practising them in a real-time work environment makes one better at it. Hence, this is such a very important part of work ethics.
While at work, we have to negotiate our way through the myriad processes and obstacles. With the right levels of practice in communication, we learn how to influence others to accept your point of view and be effective in meeting deadlines. Perseverance and practice pave the way to success! There is no short-cut to success and hence, high standards of work ethics have to be a way of life.
Clear goals and rigorous execution needed!
Given the dynamic world we live in, it may not be pragmatic to have a clear goal in life and the path to achieve that. As time passes, many paths open up and one has to choose a path to pursue further. Irrespective of the path one follows, there is no escape from being rigorous in keeping track of a bunch of simple and boring parameters at the pre-set frequency. One has to know if one is making progress towards the goal and accordingly, make the required course-corrections.
Along the way, one has to deal with multiple variables like money, relationships, changing interests and new situations in the environment. Also, there will be many distractions along the way, right from the notifications on your phone to confusing signals from the power centres at work.
Hence, one has to be much more agile than what was needed earlier in adapting to emerging situations and confident in dealing with them. One has to make choices and move on rather than brooding over the past and conjecturing. And finally, we have to stay optimistic and positive!
We don’t want to be happy surviving. We have to thrive!