Career Blunder

Ensure that you avoid the five top mistakes people make in attempting a career change. They may impact your prospects adversely, says Prasenjit Bhattacharya.

Ensure that you avoid the five top mistakes people make in attempting a career change. They may impact your prospects adversely, says Prasenjit Bhattacharya.

A recent study by Great Place to Work® Institute shows that 62 per cent of employees in corporate India are less than 35 years of age and 64 per cent are less than five years old in an organisation.

This confirms what we already know. Majority of our workforce is young and a majority of them do not stay in an organisation for long. Not everyone who shifts jobs makes a great career, just as not everyone who stays back has a great career. People are either “stuck” in their current jobs or have made bad choices. Assuming you have a career goal, have assessed your financial status and consulted your family and close friends, the following are, in my opinion, the five common mistakes we should avoid while changing jobs.

1. I am getting a great compensation package -There is no free lunch. Many employers who offer great salaries will typically budget six months of your salary with the assumption that by that time, their investment in you will pay them adequate dividend. Be careful about understanding their expectations from your role. How many people in the company routinely achieve such goals? If it is a non-revenue role find out if the organisation has a history of restructuring and cutting such roles. Is it the first time they are investing in such a role?

2. I am joining a boss I already know well -Your previous boss may have joined another organisation and you may have a great working relationship with him/her. Evaluate the possibility whether this person will last long in his new job or not. The CEO of a global ITES company walked out with a whole set of senior managers to launch a competing business some time ago. While it was tempting to walk out with the leader, those who stayed back, not only managed to protect and grow the business, but also got enhanced roles, and the gratitude of their company.

3. The role is just right for me, I have done it before - There is a certain degree of comfort in moving in to roles which you have already mastered. Examine carefully the support structure that made you successful there. Find out whether it is available in the next. A high performing product manager in a family owned FMCG company joined a big MNC and soon found that most decisions involved an intricate matrix structure that led to delays impacting its market performance. He returned to his old company.

4. Is the organisation a great workplace - The case in point is a large Indian organisation led by a promoter known for his “use and throw” approach to people. There is no dearth of senior professionals waiting to join this organisation. They speak about how the promoter is “misunderstood” and how the organisation is “professional”. A year later the same person joins another company. “This organisation is like a railway platform. At some stage in your career you have to alight on this platform to catch another train,” explained an executive. Find out from your friends or their friends (when will you use Linked in!?) who are in the organisation about the organisation culture.

5. I can’t stay a day more in my current organisation -This perhaps is the worst reason to leave! Any extreme statement is an indication of your emotional and psychological state rather than the organisation you seek to leave! What is worse, after a few job changes you will realise that this has become a familiar and self- defeating script that you keep playing. You should leave such an organisation, but not before you have attempted to repair your ties. Once you have decided to leave, your boss or the current organisation ceases to have any power over you. Remember, any professional relationship is between two fallible humans who have some need for each other. How can you offer your support to your boss or the organisation in a manner that they will appreciate? An amicable divorce and parting as “good friends” is always better than wasting energy washing dirty linen in public.

The Columnist is the CEO of The Great Place to Work® Institute, India.

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