One of my professor friend’s sons had graduated in 1993, and went to the US for pursuing his MS. While pursuing his graduate degree he was getting a scholarship. He applied for 100 Infosys shares through its public issue in the same year. He was allotted all 100 at Rs 95/- each; totaling his investment to Rs. 9500/-. The 100 shares in 1993 have become 3200 in 2000 on account of bonus issues and stock split. Then he found the current market price (CMP) of the stock. It was trading at Rs.5500/-. Thus, the investment of Rs. 9500/- turned out to be Rs.1,76,000,00. The moral of the above story is very clear. If the investment is based on sound fundamentals, keeping the long term view in mind, then you get good and assured returns.
I know of many college graduates who opted for companies offering higher pay packages and fancy designations rather than long term career growth. After 3-4 years they ended up with frustration and uncertainty, as the companies were either closed down or the graduates lost an employability edge due to low-end work that made them redundant. You should evaluate the fundamentals of different career options thoroughly before committing yourself. While choosing a company or a job one should strike a right balance between various factors listed below:
Self Factors: Evaluate the options with reference ‘you’, viz. your likes and dislikes, your passion, your qualification, your strengths and limitations, your personality etc. Be clear about your career goals – short as well as long term.
Scope for Growth: Is the company growing in terms of its business operations, geographies, product lines, markets and profits? This will give you an indication about the possibility of your career growth and long term stability.
Money: Influence of this factor sometimes misleads many people. A high pay package creates a screen of mist due to which people do not explore other critical factors. Remember, the pay package that you are offered at the initial stage, in most cases, might not be as per your expectations or in tune with your perception of your self-worth. But you need to give some time (2-3 years) for things to take shape. You need to ask yourself what value you added to the company over the period, how indispensable are you for your manager and for the company, how critical are your knowledge, skills and abilities. The biggest mistake many do is to compare the salary of their peers working in other companies. You need to give your 100% quarter on quarter, year on year first, to create your space, and then you get rewarded. Till this time you are just one among hundreds.
Quality of Work: This should be the first and foremost factor any knowledge worker should value while choosing the career or job. It may be entry level job or your next job after 3 years of experience. So what is mean by ‘quality of work’? In simple words, it is the work that makes you unique, special and un-substitutable. Ask yourself a simple question ‘if I resign today, will my manager plead to take the resignation back’?
Other Factors: The other factors might be company culture, company brand, people philosophy of the company etc.
How precious is your investment?
You can’t forget the fact that when you are choosing an Institute or a course to study or a company to work, you are investing much more than what meets an eye. The various factors that come to my mind are: Time, Money, Efforts, Sacrifices, Expectations of Close Ones, Knowledge etc. For example, when you choose to take an MBA course, you are expected to choose your specialization at the end of first sem/year. When you choose it randomly based on self perception or by getting influenced by some people, you are taking a huge risk in your career. The MBA fee, two years of efforts, nearly 4000 hours of inputs and most importantly if it is an inappropriate specialization for you, then a frustrating start to your career as you won’t be enjoying your job. Moreover, it would take lot more efforts to get on the right track with close to 150,000 MBAs getting added to the market each year.
In today’s highly competitive, demanding and uncertain business environment one cannot afford to gamble with career. Choosing the most ‘appropriate’ option at different point of time is extremely critical for a successful and rewarding career. The challenge lies in arriving at a decision on ‘what is the most appropriate’ choice whether it is choosing the academic course after X std or XII std or after graduation, or picking up the right industry or role or a company to work for. Getting attracted only to high salary, glamour, popularity and brand perception about the company may turn out to be a nightmare. The so called ‘dream job’ may actually end up as a major career setback. Value your investment of time, money and efforts and choose the best that gives you assured career success that lasts for years.