Video: The career advice you probably didn’t get

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You’re doing everything right at work, taking all the right advice, but you’re just not moving up. Why? Susan Colantuono shares a simple, surprising piece of advice you might not have heard before quite so plainly. This talk, while aimed at an audience of women, has universal takeaways — for men and women, new grads and midcareer workers.

 

How passionate are you?

Passion according to wiki is

A term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion compelling, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.

and dictionary says:

Strong and barely controllable emotion.

Person 1: I know this person, who ignored sleep for two days to read a book on data analysis, which he believes to be one of his current passionate area. He was confident in just one week to conduct a training to people who are already experts in that area, which is usually a risk and fear factor for common man.

Person 2: Another person, who told me his passion is in the implementation of organizational process and conducting trainings one year back but now he says he does not get much time to conduct trainings or going behind the process.

Which person you think passionate? For me, obviously the first person is more passionate while the other one is affected by external factors and do not want to take risks.

Need for dreams
If you need to call yourself passionate in X then you must have dreams tied to achieve X. You should be having keen interest in X then only you will be “passionate” about it and you will passionately try something to fulfill the dreams. If you think you are not able to achieve it because of tight schedules, kids, commitments then please understand that X is not your dream and you are not passionate about it.

Need for goals
The word dream is very subjective, it can remain for ever as a dream. So decorate it with a goal. A goal requires an objective and a deadline. Once the goal is set, you can work towards fulfilling it through desire, focus, determination, dedication and discipline.

While you are in this race, you will start to feel that your visibility is increasing as a byproduct, that is when people around you start to rumor – “he is very passionate

 

Industry wants perfectionists

Finishing a job is a myth. Unless the attribute ‘quality’ is not accompanied, ‘finished’ is just a meaningless word.

I asked one of my past employer in a casual meeting about the reason for not trying to convince an employee to withdraw his resignation request though this guy used to be well known in keeping deadlines. Answer was – “I used to get at least one bug report from the customer within one week of the work he delivers”.

How many us get angry when the internet speed is slow? What is your emotion when you want to transfer money urgently but banking site says “try later”? How do you feel when your name is misspelled in your pay slip? …expect the same response from your customer, and so as the employer who issues paycheck.

So the reasons narrow down to ‘Quality’. What ever work you do, you should be doing quality work only. In short you want to be a perfectionist.

How to be a perfectionist?

If you are in software development industry:

  • Do not keep aside any tasks, no matter how minor its priority be. You may keep it in a notepad and practice to follow it
  • Read/review your own code!
  • Review full module/project code and make sure the integration is done perfectly
  • Take responsibility and ownership of what ever task you do. If it is a team project, do not assume a task is other guy’s responsibility. You must check with him and confirm it is done.
  • Use on screen rulers to check UI alignments
  • Use online grammar and spell checkers. Or you can use a word processing application to do this.
  • Make sure you are following coding standards and branding guidelines
  • Test your application well. Do not wait for tester’s report to come.
  • Think out of box. Because your customers are not predictable.
  • Do not assume everything will work fine. Your website might work perfectly in Windows but you cannot ask customers not to use Mac
  • ….think for more
 

Employee to Entrepreneur: Taking Initiative is Key

Become an entrepreneur” if you are not already.

When I say ‘become’, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and start a new business. You just need to start thinking like “you are an entrepreneur”.

How?

Take the ownership of what ever job assigned to you. That’s it. But, by just completing the tasks assigned to you will make you a good ’employee’ only. You have to think more, like – what value addition you can bring to the ‘environment’ and methods to implement it. No workplace is perfect, you have to make it perfect. Stop the blame games and tell people that it is their responsibility to make it perfect.

What will you do if you find paper cups are finished?…

– If you don’t have requirement specs, you prepare it.
– If you do not have a tester, you test it.
– Another developer is struggling with a bug, you try to help him.
– If the CFL lamp at the bathroom is not working, you notify it to the respective department.
– If the printer bay area is messy, you paste a notice “don’t waste paper’.
– When a new technology is introduced, you send that news to colleagues.
– …

Think about how you can make your environment perfect.

Once the employee-mindset is converted to an entrepreneur-mindset, you will start feeling changes. Better work environment, respect, promotion…