Saturday, March 31, 2007

How To Fast track Your Career

I was have been down last week and was fast sinking in to what appeared to be a bottomless pit of anger and self-righteousness. It was due certain event (actually non-event) in my career front. I reached out a friend and colleague whom I respect and discussed this non-event.

We were generally chatting and he mentioned three things consultants ought to have to fast track their careers. Though I didn't pay much attention to it at that time, as I mulled over, I was impressed with those 3 simple and yet comprehensive things he mentioned. These are not just for consultants but for anyone who want to advance in any group envrionment.

Here they are:
  1. Know your stuff: This is basically saying, you should be up to snuff on the things you are supposed to be doing and knowing. It doesn't mean you know it all but it the ability to always learn and be ahead of the curve.
  2. Communicate well: This is a must for consultants who are always on the move and interact with newer group of people over and over again. But, our ability to communicate succinctly is one of the core skills that we need in all spheres of our life. I have a colleague who is excels in 'two minute summations'. He is a senior technical leader who quietly listens to our all our dribbles and steps in at the right time to put forth his views and summarize the core of what appeared to be an aimless discussion. Almost always, these summations are effective and re-focuses our meetings and that sets him apart from the rest.
  3. Network: This is a catch all phrase, from expanding our contact base to PC (politically Correct) expressions. Lot of time, this means turning a blind eye to the 'dead moose' on the table and let the foul smell permeate. But it also means how we stick to our core beliefs and yet interact and communicate in a way that doesn't ruffle feathers. It might not get you to where you want to be all the time but wouldn't adversely impact either.
In my case, I am fairly comfortable with the first two but the last one is a continuous challenge. I am more comfortable in doing things than politicking and in PC talks. Regardless of the definition of advancement, these skills (politicking and PC) are as important as doing things to progress in any group environment.

So where does the fast track come in this? It comes in the degree to which we are able to internalize and successfully execute on all three fronts. What say you?


  1. What do you think of companies like Cognizant (I did not work there) who screw employees happiness, who have been hired as lateral. None of the 3 points have helped blokes there. I know some cases where the convince people to join, even at Senior level, promising great options & onsite posting, responsibility etc., at one level below saying it is the way there, only to find that people (old timers) with less or half the experience are at the same designation.... Just bcoz they have one young CEO, whatever they do becomes right, looks like... I also heard that their last (dirty) CFO was let go.... with SOX compliance on construction mis-appropriation, at least they had the courage to do that... they also try to make people life pathetic, by now allowing them to leave and join another co... exit formalities are not done on time, and the folks end up loosing other opportunities... Sickos! No wonder they have paid up 100K USD as gift to J to get that 45 acres plot... (pending investigation from SEC).. they also hire juniors, with a collision with consultants, taking 50000 plus... I have used this route to place 2 relatives of mine, who quit after using it as a launch pad. I heard the money gets paid to....

    I do know of some companies like Syntel (visa violation-black marks), Satyam (high attrition), try to be very narcissitic. Ramco could be other example too, as I see 11 years experienced person, being there as only Project Lead. So what is missing... ISoft has 15+ years folks working as Systems Analysts.

    So how can one fast track a career in this type of world? The first 2 points are OK, yes the third one of networking is tough, as it is not easy to meet up with people, a real challenge for everyone. You got to be lucky, or foreign return (US Citizen may be!) to hide your deficiencies....

    I also know of a person who returned from US after 15 years with PIO, but struggling here, right now doing one part time MBA to make an impression.

    Sometimes people are lucky ( a la Ambani, KBC, Sabeer Bhatia, Khosla ), but you have to be courageous to move on with life. You might know the theory of averages, that all in the life does average out one day! (salary, position, pride...)

    I request you to write more on your career, not to ruffle feathers.

    You right very well Sir!

    Rahul Dravidan

  2. Three more qualities will add flavor.

    Loyalty to absent; smiley face and always prepared to be a host rather than a guest.

    To act as a host even when you are a guest is a great way to socialize and network.


  3. Networking - Brings biz and buzz

    Communication - Ability to 'Listen' first (fully) and 'Articulate in simple phrases'

    Know How - What brings you the 'compensation'

    Selection - Don't grab anything for $$, be selective as to 'how it will help you'

    Avoid - BS, bad bosses, customers
    and ofcourse bad men and women

    Ethics - Do not deviate your defined work ethic

    I have benfitted from the above in my 40 years from the IT industry

    The best to you.

  4. I have a job offer in Bangalore so I have to move from Chennai, better than the last one, Delivery Manager to a VP, double the $ and resp. In your experience, how to look at things and see what is in store with the new co.? Also what should be done to make exit formalities of leaving the current co. smooth as settlement issues etc. ideas on approaching for it from them - timing and push for urgency? Will it snowball later, if I just walk out right now (other co. might accept me, as I am ), as they are insisting on completing the the projects, and I dont want to be a NRN of 15 months notice....

  5. Rahul Dravidian
    I don't know about the specific instances you are talking about.. but I do believe the three things my friend mentioned does make sense and can take you beyond the glass ceiling..


    Exile from the real world
    Thanks for the tips and wishes..

    Taking a new job is always a gamble.. will be better of or will be worse than the existing one.. Like anything else, you will be prove and network to grow in the newer place..
    As regards to exit formalities, I would suggest you always do it cleanly.. If the new company is willing to take you without the formalities then it says something about the company..

  6. You should read this old post.... this sounds like the co mentioned in the comments.

  7. I guess the same "event" is happening in my life :-S....seems to be simple..."know ur stuff", "communicate","network"..lemme try...:-D