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  • Raghav Sand

Job Change: More Than The Raise

Humans have always worked for food, clothing and shelter. In recent times, we get to hear terms like purpose and joy being associated with professional pursuits. Some social commentators label the current workforce as brats. The overgeneralization of discontent with jobs as lack of work ethic will not take the conversation forward. I have been meticulously observing how my current and previous workplaces have functioned. Increase in remuneration is not the only reason for a job change.

Initially, when I used to get thoughts about good workplace practices and holistic employee well-being, the discomfort with the status quo felt premature. After two internships and four full-time jobs, I cannot suppress my true feelings about the organisations, and the people I have worked with thus far. As individuals, we look at the world in diverse ways. People shy away from difficult conversations and internalise unhappiness. How can we improve the situation? We need to talk.

The Art and Science of Knowing

The central theme of a book I recently read talked about the need of knowing what you do not know. People who have multidisciplinary knowledge become best managers, and as one would say in pop culture, “they go places”. By not telling employees about the interconnectedness of processes at the workplace, the employer has chosen to not invest in them as a long term resource. I have always joined a new organisation with a learners mindset. Yet, they have never failed to disappoint me.

Let us get one thing clear: no one is going to stick around forever. Every person is working to equip themselves with the tools needed for the next leap in their career. Managers who are realistic and believe in creating leaders, talk and behave like a mentor. This is where competence, confidence and a sense of security among the leadership group are non-negotiable.

For someone to train another person, they need to know the business inside out. I know what I know, I do not know, and that I need to learn. Do people at my current or future workplace have the same clarity of thought?

Growth Is Essential

The most important element of any business is the consumer. If consumers are happy with the company’s offerings, cash will follow. Review and planning are important to assess past and future resource allocation, respectively. Creating documents, spreadsheets and slides are part of the job but not the only job. Companies which have a customer-focussed mindset seldom fall short of stakeholders’ expectations.

To make things even more clear, let me take the example of money. The subject of strategic financial management taught me the concept of time and importance of money. If we keep a ₹100 note in our wallet, it will not grow on its own. Due to inflation, the purchasing power of ₹100 will reduce overtime. After meeting living expenses, we must invest funds in diverse assets. This intentional diversification will help us to meet expenses in the future.

Every day expenses are the daily grind at the office, investing the surplus is similar to upskilling, and inflation is similar to the changes that come in the work environment over a period 3-5 years. If we do not grow intellectually and financially over a given period, it leads to deterioration in living standards.

Sport: The Mirror of Life

As a teenager and a young adult, I did not watch sports, rather I lived it. Beyond the score and statistics, what intrigued me was the synergy of human effort in an organised set up. Experiencing the flow, excellence, and enthusiasm of my favourite individual athlete or team was contagious. In sport, workplace, or daily life, we need to be surrounded by people who can bring the best out of us. Humans aspire for stability. When employees start looking for opportunities elsewhere, it means the current set up is not good enough to make them better.

I have completed two half marathons (21.0975 kms each), and I know what it means to cover long distances. The mind and body suffer visible and invisible bruises. Working for long in an organisation that mimics walking on the treadmill is intellectually exhausting and demotivating. It feels like I am just burning calories and not moving forward.

Stop Playing Follow The Leader

Every industry has a leader. We may not get to know the inner workings of every industry leader, yet it is safe to say that leading companies are doing more things right than wrong. Being part of a well-oiled system implants good habits and procedures.

Human ingenuity helps to some extent but there is a limit to rowing in the fog. When your manager or organisation is obsessed about the competitor, they are doing injustice to collective potential. It is not harmful to keep a tab on competitor activity, but please understand one thing clearly: innovation and imitation are not synonyms of each other. There is no formula for creating something new. People pay attention to how a product works, feels and looks. Creative confidence comes from interacting with others and empathising consumers.

Companies need to normalise the communication about errors and should stop demonising the downside of risk taking. Every organisation and individual has a risk appetite, and it should not go untested. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will transform the way we work. What if your industry flatlines within the next decade? Does your current workplace equip you with tools to face an uncertain job market? These are legitimate questions one need to ask themselves. If you are living in autopilot mode, then it is time to take control of your career’s flight path. Watch out for turbulence ahead and plan beforehand.

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