Strategising career moves


By Binayak Datta
Just to recapitulate, we spoke of competition, sense of urgency and making things happen, we spoke of goal setting and last month we spoke of our talents and strengths in the context of our career and our plans. We now speak of your very own career strategy.Now why do I say this in emphasis ‘your own’?
You must strategise – not select a career. It’s often the case at this stage you will like a couple of dozen careers as your own: a pilot, a film star a DJ? Or may be a cruise ship captain, a pop star?
You will choose a career where you are good – which means you either have talent or you acquire strengths in that field – which also means you acquired knowledge and skill sets. If you do this you will enjoy that career – we all enjoy doing things we are good at. And if you enjoy doing what you are good at – your career – how can you ever fail? This might sound a little utopian, it does!
In reality, I might be good in something, but a suitable opportunity does not come my way. You might be excellent in music – you have Cliff’s voice and your strums are equal to those of Belafonte – but then in our country you must come face to face with an opportunity – yes once that crystallises – you may or may not grab it – but prima facie that opportunity must be there! The opportunity must be something which gives you your career – not another hobby
As I said in our last episode – your career should be able to sustain yourself and your future – not give you only “enjoyment” – that’s a hobby we said.
Here comes the question of strategising on your career – and it is you who have to do it – not your dad and mom, not your professors, not I – it’s you and only you.
In the words of Steve Jobs….”deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.”
There are essentially 3 basic characters – in most cases all 3 are present in varying degrees in a person…..but the one which generally dominates is the trait the individual generally follows:
These are:
– The Creator
– The Manager
– The Destroyer
The Creator creates new things – IT designers, great scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, research scholars, R&D Professionals – successful people in these fields are creators. They are generally low profile, not communicators, shy of crowds, generally disorganized – but they make it big in life! Rabindranath Tagore, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci… nearer times Robert Kahn and Vincent Cerf inventors of the TCP/IP for Internet …and so on.
The Managers manage and grow something which has already been created. They excel in Managing People and Processes and there are examples of Managers all around us
The third set of people are the Destroyers – (Dynamists) – (In a very positive sense). They destroy all that is old and outdated – or systems which are repressive in themselves. They dismantle old unscientific beliefs, repressive practices, dogma’s which stand in the way of progress. Reformers generally belong to this sect – very few in their numbers, they have immense courage and mental strength and are generally excellent communicators – a Nelson Mandela, a Martin Luther King, a Swami Vivekananda.
The first category is small in numbers, the last is miniscule and the second is the one most of us would belong to.
Still do take a look at yourself. If in any way you belong to the first category – the chances of you doing it big is much much better in the fields that go with it – as I said. If by chance you think you are in the last one – fields such as social science and social activities, NGOs, professors, politicians, spiritual leadership, etc, could be the ideal. If you are not in 1 not also in 3 you would be in 2 which means you would be a Manager with proper training to organize, lead and grow an organisation.
In one of my interactions in a response sheet – to a question ”I want…”
and I saw a student write ”Revolution” and I told him – its best then not to aim at being an MBA manager then – rather concentrate on social studies, mass communication etc, etc, everybody need not be an MBA, or a B Tech or a CA or a doctor.
Assuming then you belong to category 2 above, your strategies have to be final on:
– Your Visions (dreams)
– Your Strengths – knowledge and skill sets
– And the constraints you face: eg:
+ Your family
+ Your location
+ Need for higher studies
+ Your Family business – its needs if any
As I said – all our dreams need not come true – but some will if we try that out.
Constraints in life are true – they must be recognized as long as they do not encroach upon your personal capabilities.
Strategise then on your career:
Innovator? Manager? Social Careerist?
If a Manager – depending upon your knowledge and skill set in which field?
location, environment, remuneration, etc, etc.
In deciding this use all resources that are available to you, speak to elders, teachers, consult the net, talk to friends, read the news papers but at the end of the day – you will be the decider – the maker of your own destiny!
I particularly liked the short quips from Peter Turla the famed NASA rocket designer and he used to say “Living your life without a plan is like watching television with someone else holding the remote control.”
(The author is a chartered accountant and corporate consultant and is retd CFO and vice president, Zuari Group Goa)


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