Career is a paradigm that has been fast evolving
with time. Parameters like salary, level, title, which are often considered
to gauge a successful career, could just be some of the tangibles that are more
visible. These are akin to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which falls short of
assessing the underlying wealth of a nation. Today’s career is increasingly
about some of the intangibles that I have discussed below.
Career choices are no longer part of a linear
equation. These days, when a person considers taking up a
job, the question of “What’s in It for Me” goes far beyond the traditional
factors of money, title and role. A whole host of factors like work-life
balance, flexi-work, spheres of influence, self-development, etc. are beginning
to matter. Organizations are increasingly enabling employees to craft and
create their own careers to suit their specific needs rather than providing
‘off the shelf’ offerings to pick and choose from.
Today’s career requires one to roll with
the punches. The nature of working in an ever-evolving business environment
requires one to iterate and experiment, which means trying more and failing
more. That’s simple arithmetic. Don’t be surprised if someone were to share
their ‘failure resume’ someday. The requirement in today’s career is for people
to fail fast and quickly stand back on their feet. Being resilient and dealing
with failure experienced today is unlike what has been experienced in the past.
The lines are blurring; experimentation is
at the core. Gone are the days when people with a certain academic
background could do only certain kind of jobs. Lines are blurring not only for
academic backgrounds but also for cultures, markets and work experiences. The
focus of organizations to boost diversity & inclusion and foster movement
of employees internally have contributed in a big way in making organizations
more receptive to experimenting with their hiring. This space has turned into a
two-way street. Even individuals are more open to considering roles beyond
their immediate area of expertise/ comfort. The more varied the experience of
an individual, the more career options become available to her and vice versa.
This is a classic case of circular reasoning.
Today’s career is about striking a balance
between emotional certainty and intellectual skepticism. In the post Lehman
Brothers era and with the sheen from the start-up ecosystem waning off a
little, reckless risk-taking at workplace is in check. As required by today’s
ecosystem, it is important to strike a balance between what you think you can
vs. knowing what you can. Putting yourself out there is key – that’s the
emotional certainty part. But, it’s equally important not to be foolhardy –
that’s where your intellectual skepticism helps. After all, you don’t want to
be known as someone who only tried and failed.