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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Are you job-ready ?

"I finished BE electronics in 2013 with 58%. I took 7 years to complete graduation. I started my work in Maintenance at a salary of 8000. Job was boring. So i left the job last year and have since been trying to find a job in BPO. I could not get one. I am losing hope. Do I have a  future?". Vikas asked this question in a newspaper column last week.

Since last 3 years, I have been meeting many graduates like Vikas. Last year about 8.50 lakhs Engineering graduates passed. Every year more and more seats are remaining vacant in Engineering colleges. Last year about 8 lakh seats were vacant. Given the current situation of supply exceeding demand, you will find many Engineers like Vikas. What will you advise Vikas?

Job readiness develops only while playing the match , not by watching the match 

Vikas is making three mistakes - in sequence - which he would not have made if he had adequate CIQ- Career intelligence. 

Mistake nos 1: Believe "High-paying first job guarantees sustained achievement" 

Many graduates ( and adults) believe that first job guarantees success in career, or 'makes a career'. They will tell you that 'So and So started his career with the first job of 12 lakhs'. They assume that if one can get a first job with high salary , their sustained achievement is guaranteed. This assumption is simply untrue. It is like a married bachelor saying 'If I can find the right partner, my married life will be wonderful for rest of 25 years". 

First job simply helps you develop the job-skills, at the least, which help you produce results in a job, using different processes, teams, and bosses. For more details read this. Without this result-producing job-skill, no achievement is possible. With these job-skills, you become job-ready.

And earlier one starts developing this skill, the better it is, because we have limited life to achieve our goals. A footballer knows this. He keeps on playing even friendly-matches, so that he is match-ready. However, most of the graduate students are not job-ready, and expect to achieve results from their first job and still expect to 'succeed'. If a footballer is not match-ready, opportunity of playing the first match cannot help him. So too, if you are not job-ready, getting the first job is not going to help you achieve anything in the job, even if salary is 1 lakh per month.
  • Dumb CIQ students believe ' A high paying job guarantees sustained achievement". 
  • Smart CIQ students believe ' Becoming job-ready at the earliest makes it possible to achieve anything meaningful in career'. 
But some smart CIQ students make the second mistake, even when they do not make the first one.

Mistake 2: Use only cognitive skill, not the other three skills, to get job-ready

A footballer cannot get match-ready only by developing physical skill of dribbling the football. So too, the knowledge professional, cannot get job-ready just by using his cognitive skill. That is not enough. To be match-ready, a footballer must at least mix four skills:  

  • One is the physical skill of dribbling, kicking, or tackling the ball. And build his stamina by running around the ground every day. 
  • Second is the Strategic planning skill required to develop appropriate strategies to play a specific match. 
  • Third is using mind skills to avoid all the distractions, including the distraction of winning. 
  • Fourth is people-interaction skill to implement the desired strategy while working in a team.  This necessitates thorough knowledge of his team players 
In short, to get match-ready, he prepares himself with all the four skills: Physical skills to tackle the ball, Strategic Planning skills to develop useful strategies, Mind skills to avoid distractions, and people-interaction skills to collaborate with his team members. 

Similarly, a knowledge professional, cannot rely only on content knowledge to succeed in his job. To get job-ready, he must mix four skills

  • Like a footballer primarily uses physical skills to play a match, a knowledge professional primarily uses cognitive skills to work in his job. Unlike footballer, who knows which game he is playing, a knowledge professional does not know which job he is going to do while graduating. He therefore first acquires large amount of content of interrelated subjects, even though he may not need all of it in the first job.
  • Secondly, he should use strategic planning skill to produce results in a given situation of his job: his available team, the value chain in which he is working, and the boss he is reporting. 
  • Thirdly, he must use people-interaction skills to collaborate with colleagues while doing his work, because no work in a job can be done alone. 
  • And fourthly, he must use the mind skills to avoid distractions that will hinder the production of results in the job.  
In short, 
  • Dumb CIQ students just use cognitive knowledge, to get job-ready
  • Smart CIQ students mix four skills to get job-ready  
Although some CIQ students know the requirement of 4 job skills, they make the third mistake of using the wrong method of developing these job-skills. 

Mistake 3: Learn to mix 4 skills of job-readiness without doing a 'simulated' job  

A footballer knows that his four skills can be learnt only while playing a real match. 
He cannot learn these skills by just practicing in the empty playground. To become match-ready, he must play a real match, real team players, actual competitor, and real desire to win. So to develop these job skills, he plays in small club matches, district level matches, charity matches.  

Surprisingly, the graduates do not use this time-tested method of becoming job-ready. They develop each skills independently. Medical graduates do not make this mistake. They use internship program. They work in a real hospital before graduating. But engineering graduates do not get this opportunity. 

Few engineering colleges have now started using internship programs to provide this opportunity. They help the students to solve real problems in a company by helping them interact with real working professionals. They make them work on real projects that help others to solve their real problems. They work on real assignments, interact with real people, and solve real work- problems. 

But if your college does not have an internship program, what can you do? We shall discuss another method to help the graduates mix the four skills 
( to become job-ready) in the later blogs.

What happens when you are not job-ready

You will become like Vikas. 

Vikas is not aware that job-readiness depends on the static factors of role, domain, function of a job. But it also depends on the dynamic factors such as processes followed in a company, the team in which one is working, kind of boss one has and inter-dependency between the team members. 

Vikas has done a job of Maintenance Engineer for a year, but is searching for a job in BPO where all the factors - static and dynamic - are changing. He is completely job-unfit for BPO. Even if he gets a job in BPO, he is most likely to fail in producing desired results. 

On the other hand, if he 'controlled' his aspirations for next 2-3 years, and focused in delivering the results in his current job, he would have become job-fit for Maintenance Engineer. With some smart approach, he could have got job-fit for the higher role of Maintenance Manager. At that time, he could have searched for jobs that fetched the desired salary, which were closer to his 'aspirations'.

But, unaware of this, he is making another mistake. He is digging a bigger hole for himself. He is out of job.  He is watching the match from the sidelines and hoping that he will get ready to play in the match. From the sidelines, he is not improving his job-fitness even a bit. He is making himself 'obsolete' every day. 

To achieve anything meaningful in life, you must first become job-ready for a specific job. Only this will help you become achievement-ready. You will be ready to achieve your goals using the corporate systems available for you. The more you delay working in a job, the more you are delaying your time of being achievement-ready. To find your job-readiness, see if you can take these 3 steps in your current job.

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