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Why is choosing a career stream a bigger decision than choosing a job offer?

You will be spending 8-10 hours every day at work for a large part of your life and hence your job should be something that you are interested in. During your work life, you might work for organizations of different cultures but your career stream need not change much. Hence it is critical to choose your career stream carefully.

There seems to be a new skill in the market every day. How do I keep pace?

You are right. The dynamics of world economy means that technologies, concepts and methods are changing at a much faster pace than before and it is difficult to catch up. You really can’t be on top of every skill. The smart thing to do is to focus on your:

(a) Learning Ability – understand your learning pace and constantly work on improving the same and

(b) Learning Aptitude – integrate learning habits in your style of work so that it comes naturally for you to be on top of what’s happening in your field than having to put additional effort.

I am very good at what I do, but I don’t want to manage others. Will it affect my career growth?

No, you will be fine as long as you are great at what you do and you have reasonable people skills. It is an illusion that growing in your career naturally includes managing people. You can carve out a path that will make you a Subject Matter Expert or Techno-functional expert where you will be accountable for your own work.

Who really owns my career? My Manager or my HR Partner?

Neither! It’s you who own your career. Your career is too important to be left to others. They can all help you, but you need to own your career.

Which field should I choose – Big Data or IoT?

Well, we can answer if you let us know your strengths, interests and passion in life.

I am finishing all tasks that are assigned to me well in time. My appraisal will automatically be taken care of, right?

In an ideal world, yes! But the world we live in is not ideal most of the time. To survive in this competitive world, you can’t afford to wait for tasks to be assigned – you can ask for it proactively. More importantly, focus on goals than tasks. Three steps that can guarantee a satisfactory, if not great, appraisal are:

  • Agree on a goal sheet in the beginning of an appraisal cycle
  • Keep a track and validate it with your manager through the cycle and
  • Finally, prepare a comprehensive self-appraisal during the appraisal period

Why are managers so difficult to work with?

Short question, but long answer! Not all managers are difficult, but to give credit to the genuineness in your question, there are far too many managers who makes life difficult for their team. While there can be many reasons including lack of people management skills. The overarching phenomena we often find is many of them are not managers by choice. The rigid structures within companies, perceived career growth and social pressure to appear senior often forces happy individual contributors to take up managerial roles that they don’t want or enjoy. Lack of interest also means lack of skills and they become blind.

What’s the role of stakeholders in my career growth?

Stakeholders are not your customers, team or your line of management. But they have some “stake” in your success. They are colleagues, managers of other functions, support function heads and so on, who have to deal with you for some reason and whom you need to deal with. If you are a manager today, they are the ones who are going to give the confidence to the top management about your leadership potential – sometimes vocally and many a time with their gestures and side comments.

What’s the right age to retire?

You tell me! Because, what’s right for you may not be right for me. While everyone nurtures a dream of retiring early and going for that much desired world tour, the required retirement corpus can be quite a daunting figure considering the high inflation rates in most developing economies. Keep in mind that you need a bigger retirement corpus if you want to retire early. So, your retirement age should be determined after assessing the gap in your retirement corpus and creating a plan to address the same.