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What are some ugly truths of careers?

Updated: May 11, 2020

We all live and work in a highly competitive world. In such a situation, it will be naive to believe that only hard work will get you to the top of your career. While working hard is an essential part of growth, in life and career, there is more always that something extra that is needed.

How many of us have used or experienced the phrase :

  • The boss does not deserve to be a boss,

  • The boss does not know what he/she is doing,

  • I do not know how this guy got to such a position without knowing anything....

Have you ever felt, experienced or said one of the above in any shape or form?

Well, then you are not alone. Almost all of us in a job scenario, have gone through this feeling. Where it feels that the one working the least is somehow getting all the promotions and accolades. while you are working like hell and getting peanuts in return. Forget appraisal and promotion, you are barely being recognized for the job that you are doing.

In today's work environment, delivering on the required job goals is a basic requirements. That alone is not the deciding factor for your professional success and growth.

Arun has been going through his own experiences and trying to find those key points that he could share here.

Well, here it goes :

  • 2 colleagues - A & B working in the same team, more or less as equals, reporting to the same boss. A is technically sound, delivers his work on time, and goes home. B is technically just about ok, collaborates with A to deliver his work, hangs around water cooler and builds up a great rapport with other colleagues, including senior staff of the company.

Takeaway : people skills count more than technical skills. Technical skills might get you the job, but people skills is what decides the career level you reach. Over long term, B will most probably be leading a team, while A will still be working as a technical contributor. (This should not be taken to mean that there is anything wrong with this situation. The takeaway is that technical skills alone are not enough to grow in career.)

  • 2 colleagues - X and Y are working in the same team. X is highly motivated individual contributor. He is a lone wolf, requires minimum supervision and deliver his tasks. Due to this, he has a rapport which inspires awe and fear. Even the manager is careful about how to handle X during his performance reviews. Y, on the other hand, is docile, tows the manager’s orders, delivers works and is easy to appease and scare for the manager.

Takeaway : managers needs a team, who are docile, less stress to manage and do not challenge authority. An employee like X is a high attrition candidate, due to better technical skills and disdain for authority. Y on the other hand can be relied upon by the manager to deliver as asked and expected.

  • 2 colleagues - A is a very smart employee, comes with more experience than his manager, X. A is technically sound and can hold conversations with people who are 2–3 levels his senior. A’s manager X is a veteran in the company. X has been on this job forever and probably, this is the only company he has worked for. Very soon, one of them (most probably A) will change his role or worse, leave the company.

Takeaway : Managers decide your worth. Managers are as insecure as any other employee in the company., they also have a boss. Any team member who is more experienced, has a better understanding of “managing” his workplace, will have issues with such managers. (In global workplaces, this can be enhanced due to cultural differences and language issues in teams and management),

  • 2 colleagues : B & Y work in same teams. Both are equally good at their jobs. But, B has been bitten by the “start up” bug. He wants more from life and career. For this more, B needs to “sacrifice” his monthly salary for the thrills of a start up. Y, being a nice colleague, advises B not to do this. Y tries to convince him B to stay at this job and aim for the next round of increments and promotion…. maybe even stock options!! B declines and takes the plunge. Despite his best efforts, B fails as an entrepreneur and comes back to the salary world.

Takeaway : Courageous employees like B will always be laughed at. Companies do not want you to think that you are worth more than your monthly salary. Examples of “failure” like B will be spread around n talked about in professional circles for a long time.

  • Mediocrity is the requirement for every company, not meritocracy. There can only be 1 CEO of the company. Depending on scale of company, higher numbers are required in employees than the management. Companies need mediocre skilled employees, who are happy to reach a certain level and not aspire for more - Win Win situation for the employee and company.

Takeaway : Mediocre employees are promoted because the management wants those who can execute the orders and lead their teams to do the same. A management is a always a superior in the corporate world. They do not need technically or business smart employees, who challenge their authority and decisions. A technically smart employee, unless has awesome people skills, will rarely make it to the zenith of their careers.

There will be a lot more points that every individual experiences in their career. The purpose of this post is to dispel some of the most commonly thought of pitfalls for an employee, especially those who are just starting out in the corporate world.

CDG wishes you the best for your careers and stay safe from Covid19.

It always helps to have a mentor, who has worked and lived in Germany for some of the best brands. For personal consultation with Arun Mahajan, book a time with him.

Not for Reproduction without authorisation.

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