Let’s start with the basics — Why do you need a job? Why does one need to work? Common responses would be money, learning, people, growth. Man can’t live without working. We either for ourselves, our farms or businesses or some of us get a job working for others(organizations or individuals). Most of us in today’s urban world need a job to survive.
So how does one decide on a job? The basics — the skills that you have and the skills you want to learn, things you can perform and want to perform, your focus area(s), the places you want to travel to or live in, your goals and ambitions and the money you want to make etc. There’s more. The 3 most important parameters I’d say.
Positive Contribution to the world
This is the first most important parameter to anyone considering a job. I’ve pinned this tweet on my twitter profile.
You’re never getting younger. You’re at the best of health. Stay fit. Stay focused. Keep up the pace & contribute positively to the world. Our time on this planet is short, we need to make the most of it, leave a positive mark behind.
I’m not asking you to take up a job in the social sector — to go work with a non profit in Africa or rural India, that would be much better though. Positive contribution in this context means something that’ll help make the planet a better place. If you’re building technology, build something that’ll make lives better or businesses work better. If you’re in marketing, do it for the right product or service. If you’re consulting, help companies do the right business.
I’ll give you an example. I once worked with a technology company that focused on banking products. I was mainly working with banks in south-east Asia and Africa, helping them run their business with better tech. There was good money in this job and I was contributing positively to the world. Later, I moved to another job, here I was helping my company sell their product to major outsourcing companies around the world. The problem was that the product wasn’t really good enough. We had to sell it with a hundred lies and I’m not really sure it helped these companies do business better. Here, I wasn’t contributing positively to the world.
It’s plain and simple. The jobs that contribute positively to the world will stay. Also, they give you better job satisfaction.
Working with the leaders
There are leaders within every industry. All of them need not be famous. But they lead in their own way. Some might have a technology vision, some might work in a different way, some of them might want to change the world or the way we do business etc. No matter how small or big, every leader makes an impact. Working with such leaders will help you learn a lot of things. It’ll help you gain expertise in your industry, get exposure to areas other than your job role and improve your habits and skills at a personal level.
Every boss or manager is not a leader. The store manager at the supermarket might not be a leader but a street vendor selling lemonades could be one. There’s no definition to identify the right leaders to work with; but you’ll know the difference when you start working with them. Leaders have big aspirations for themselves and their team members and they work hard to achieve these. The leaders inspire people who work with them. They influence your habits, thought process and lifestyle. Working with such leaders will help you become one.
Disruption — one of the most overly abused words of this generation. Everyone talks about it; but few actually get it. Disruption in any industry is a process where a company uses new/different business models or products or services to meet the unmet needs of the market, thus hugely impacting the way entire business works. There are always examples of disruption in every industry. For example Netflix disrupted the movie rental industry; Apple disrupted personal computers and mobile phones; Uber(debatably) disrupted the taxi industry. The point is — you can build a better career working in a company/industry that’s disrupting than the ones that are getting disrupted.
In the early 2000s, technology started disrupting banking in India. The bank employees unions were against the computerization of the banks. They feared computers would take away their jobs. My father led one such union. In one of the meetings they had with the management, the General Manager of the bank explained it to them using the theory of ‘Paradigm shift’ saying – “If we don’t adapt, we won’t survive.” My father has been keen on me taking working with industries/companies leading such ‘Paradigm Shift’ ever since. I simply like to call it the Disruptors — the industries or organization leading the change.
I don’t need to say further on how this will help you build a better career. Your job might get disrupted or you might be on the forefront of the disruption. It’s up to you! But if you’re in an industry or company that’s leading the disruption, you will for sure have multiple opportunities to grow.
My current job doesn’t really fit in any of the three parameters plus there’s not much learning opportunity in my focus areas. The only good thing about this job — Money! I zeroed down on these parameters when I decided to start job hunting. It has just begun, let’s see how it ends.
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