To my young friends,
In my previous blog I shared my opinion on the importance of our inner voice. This time I would like to share my thoughts on deciding the right priorities - at least in the beginning of your career.
Every day, we come across many people who have excelled in their fields, who have acquired a lot of wealth and who seem to be very successful. They inspire and encourage us. In most cases, their external success is very visible to everyone but the story on how they got there, largely remains unheard. We also don’t spend enough time trying to find that out. I will talk about a little bit of this today.
For most of us, a job is means to earning money so that we can lead a comfortable life. That is fine, however, the problem starts when we directly link potential of a job with the salary and monetary benefits it is offering. Since our society links wealth with status and success, we are told that a high paying job is what we must have. We tend to give low priority to find out what other opportunities are hiding in the job. It is hard to ‘see’ and evaluate an opportunity because unlike the money, it is normally not measurable and might take some time to deliver the results whereas, money is right there. Also, in today’s fast life and because of the demand to make it big quickly, there is less room for long term thinking and patience.
In my previous blog, I mentioned Kalyan Verma (world renowned wildlife photographer who left his high paying job at Yahoo to pursue his passion). Being a wild life photographer myself, I have attended his workshops and am very impressed with him and his skills. In the very beginning of his photography career, Kalyan got an offer to work at Jungle Lodges and Resorts near Bengaluru for a few weeks as a naturist for no salary but with food and accommodation. He accepted that. He actually ended up working like this for more than six months. He made great use of this opportunity. He learnt a lot about wildlife and photography, made friends and later that year, he got the “Wildlife Photographer of the year” award from Sanctuary Asia magazine (a very reputed nature and wildlife conservation magazine published from India). He never looked back after that. He valued the opportunity that came his way, he had much bigger picture in his mind than thinking that he is not getting paid. After few years of hard work and dedication now he now enjoys status and wealth.
Now let’s see another example that could have gone better. Few years ago I came across Rajesh (name changed) who was looking for a new job. Rajesh was in the initial stage of his career and possessed the skills that were very common in the industry. It looked like he didn’t have a stable job either. Through a reference, Rajesh applied in a very reputed firm. Fortunately, that firm was looking for that kind of profile at that time. The potential employer informally enquired about the expected salary from Rajesh before inviting him for the interview. Rajesh quoted high salary compared to the prevailing range in the industry. To make things worse, when he did not hear back, he tried to negotiate and asked how much can they offer. For obvious reasons, it did not go well. A good opportunity was lost because of the wrong priority. In my opinion, he needed to first understand and evaluate his situation and every aspect of the job before coming to remuneration.
20 years ago, I decided to move from being a manufacturing engineer to a software professional. When I got the job offer which I was eagerly waiting for, I found that the offered salary was lower than my salary at that time. Initially, I was a little disappointed. However, I am happy that I prioritized my requirements correctly and I accepted it. It changed my life and brought many more opportunities and satisfaction.
In this information age, the young generation is very smart, confident and aware, however, my advice to them is to be matured and not always keep money on top of their priority list. Have a bigger picture, clear priorities and long term planning.
When it comes to a job, let’s see what aspects of that we should carefully check:
- Opportunities to do what you really want to do, what you enjoy
- Opportunities to learn and to try new things, environment that brings out the best in you
- Opportunities to take more responsibilities, get more exposure and go beyond your comfort zone
- Opportunities to be yourself and not compromise on your integrity and values
Obviously, it is not always possible to evaluate a job up front, we have to rely on related information, friends and our own judgement before making the decision. That is where our maturity, long term thinking and ability to judge the situation come into picture.
I also want to point out that you must also realize that it is not always possible to get everything you are looking for in the job. Always remember, when opportunities are not easily available YOU MUST CREATE THEM. You will realize that it is very possible only when you try. We will discuss this point in future blogs.
At the end I like to summarize it this way, Worry about how much you are learning, not about how much you are earning because Learning brings earning with it.Good Luck!