Haven’t we read that before? Yes, but it never hurts to read once again. How many times you would have watched the movie Godfather and still not enough! Much has been written about. So let’s look from a personal experience as narrated. The person, a close associate of the author, is presently serving as Vice-President in a prestigious firm. During one of our regular meeting, he reminisced, “If I were to begin all over again, I wouldn’t have accepted the offer made by the MNC. Instead I would choose a startup.” I didn’t interrupt and it turned out to be a monologue. “When I joined the company, everything that existed was set carefully in place and played on. My addition in the workforce was to execute the delegated task. The productivity, I must say, was amazing - machine-like efficiency. No doubt. The system was great. No complaints – whatsoever. It was indeed a privilege, and needless to mention, the pay, perks all the way to the pantry was fascinating. Somehow I sensed despite having everything, something was missing. I must have really done well at work, as I was never appraised less than ‘beyond expectation’. So I was pretty good in getting the job done and very confident about myself overall. That said, the feeling of confined and compartmentalized was overwhelming – even though I enjoyed complete freedom with a caveat: the canvas was neatly dotted for the boundary as if to inform ‘within the territory’. Ah! No trespassing allowed. Absorbed in my work, and moved ahead in my career as rank and file, I missed out on learning aspect other than on the job, being content by staying on the surface or at the most scratching. Never dived deep. Never explored what lies beneath. Because it wasn’t necessary then. We focused on what needs to get the job done. Even some overzealous attempt or any initiatives will be stricken with 'stick to the specific tasks please'. Learn First. Today is a different story altogether. Students brimming with ideas either set up something on their own or settle for a start-up. Money is not the motivation – may be they have back-up or supportive sponsors in their parents. Whatever, but they listen to their instincts – something I didn’t, and always investing in knowledge by enrolling for this program or that certification. So for them it’s ‘Learn First’. Their smirk is almost infectious when looking at your eyes to say “today I am after you guys, but tomorrow evaluating my net worth in knowledge capital, you guys will be chasing me. As such they are not broke or chewing their nails all the way to the finger bones figuring about the next meal. No, they are planning to upstage one another or usher in a revolution. It’s their fierce competitive spirit and dare to do the unthinkable. Fear doesn’t seem frighten them at all, and their risk appetite simply amazes me. Deep Pockets or Schools of Learning. MNCs are flush with funds and can hence afford to shop for talent. Also they hire 'dedicated' resource, meaning hire made exclusively to execute a set of tasks that calls for a particular skill set. All of my career, I would worn one hat that probably grew up in size. A Project Manager will have PMO to shift some of the responsibility attended by delegation and supervision. That’s a luxury in a start-up. Startups are cash strapped. Don’t be surprised even if basic amenities are lacking. If you get back to the industrial jargon of 'Job Rotation' which had every worker engaging in all the activities to get hands-on and dependence of any particular employee is cut down , but then it had its cons as you can’t become an 'expert' by doing all chores. So it boiled down to Jack of all trades or Master of one. In software, especially startup, you actually don many hats. It’s common to come across a Project manager who is also the Business Analyst, Customer Interface, Test Manager, and some even roll up their sleeves and code. That’s versatility. The ability to take up any position and perform. The pay may not be that glossy but the returns are measured in knowledge acquisition. One gains a toe-hold initially and working on different subjects provides a foot-hold. You can see them dress-up their resume with an array of certifications. From my experience switching from one lane isn’t that easy. A Microsoft player will find it difficult to migrate to opens-source languages, whereas a proficient Java programmer with some effort can soon dirty fingers in php, perl or python with little time spent on transition - because the need of the hour is immediate leaving not much time for learning. Some professionals actually learn 'on the go'. It’s a matter of perform or perish, and to keep the head above water they just do what needs to be done. So multifaceted is the word. Certifications really count. Once they are groomed and gained enough ground, then it’s time for making money. The logic offered is ' at the start of the career, expenses are for basic needs and there is enough time to study the trends and shape yourself. But once you get into married life, there are more responsibilities besides the expenses.' So to start, I prefer startup to reinforce your learning. Learn as much as you can. With passage of time, and the need of the hour to settle domestically, marriage and family, money, of course matters. Then on, employment and education must go hand-in-hand. That’s the mantra. I have all that figured out in hindsight and though i can reset the time, I do pass as tips to those who seek my advice. Learn and keep learning. Certifications really count. Had I earned a PMP® certification, the monetary incentives aside, the in-depth study of the subjects has been deprived. I still find myself shallow in terms of learning and understanding, and enrolling for such professional certifications could have altered the landscapes completely. The capital gains from learning are just great for not only you benefits but create so many beneficiaries. There are no walls or boundaries. The canvas is theirs to occupy. Guess that’s the defining moment and even the differing aspect when I relate the past to the present. “ Well said.
Write a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (*)