GoI and Careers

When talking with some colleagues at work, I realized that they are working on a supposedly ambitious project – to categorize all the possible jobs and opportunities for people in India. It struck me that this has already been done by the U.S. Labor department; and very well executed at that. In fact that site is often cited as the basis for a lot of research that goes into the space of work and careers.

This got me thinking, if Uncle Sam can do such an awesome job of documenting all the career spaces, then why can’t Mother India do the same? A few googles and some clicks saw me come to the Directorate General of Employment & Training, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Govt. of India website. It’s in a mess … I know. A usability nightmare and it takes someone with grit and determination to make sense out of the plethora of content strewn on the website. I was suddenly appreciating content rich sites in a whole new light.

I did not start this post with the intention of bashing the government’s websites, so I will not. I urge you to go through some of the sites that I have linked in the post if you are in the IES industry. The Central Institute for Research and Training in Employment Service (CIRTES), is one such initiative that needs to be commended. It’s not in the same structure and format as the U.S. Labor department, however it’s a start. The Government of Maharashtra also has a website for employment which is a similar model to Naukri, do check Rojgarwahini out.

All in all, my view that the Government of India is not doing anything to sort out Labour problems of the country has been shattered. It feels good to be wrong :-)

Good going India!!

The Difference in Perspective

differences

I do not consider myself as a blind person.

He said this as a matter of fact.

I have seen the U.S. Open, I have seen the Wimbledon, I like to see movies … I do not know why people think that a blind person will not enjoy all these things.

The operative word is see, he uses it the same way as I do. I am talking about Ashish Goyal, who recently won the National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities 2010. He was awarded by the President of India on 3rd December.

Today, Illumine had invited him for a session and all of us got to interact with him. Hearing his story, and how down to earth the guy was touching … heck, if I had graduated from Wharton (with honors) and working in one of the sought after companies, I would’ve preened. Oh, did I forget to mention that he has lost his eyesight due to a degenerative disorder?

Yes, he lost his vision at the age of 22. But Ashish went on ahead to get into NMIMS, get a job with ING Vyasa and then get an admit into Wharton. He incidentally was invited for this session by the same professor who used to hold guest lectures for him as a visiting faculty in NMIMS.

Ashish was even witty enough to share with us some of his funny moments at Wharton. As the session was concluding, some words he said got stuck in my mind –

Sometimes it takes only a small difference from our end to make a big difference for someone.

I do not want to take the credit away from Ashish (I would have shat my pants had I been in his shoes … I almost had lost my eyesight in one eye about three years back and I had been shit scared). What he has done is really commendable. I am sure that the visiting faculty might not even have thought of this when he recommended to Ashish that he give overseas MBA a try, yet that act of providing advice and hope made such a big difference.

How many of us do such small acts of kindness without looking at the outcome?

Move on

I still remember that day in 2007. It was the 17th of September. It was evening and I was stuck at the airport, waiting for my delayed flight at Hyderabad; making one of the biggest decisions of my life.

I had been offered a meaty role in a start-up firm, and internally had decided to take the jump. However, the lizard brain was nagging me and urging me to not go ahead.

I made two phone calls. The first was to my parents, to let them know about the switch in my life. They accepted my decision and told me that I was going to rock :)

The second was to the only man approachable and who had operated in several organizations in that role. He was and is a role model; Thomas Sir. I had not spoken to him in the past three years, yet he immediately recognized me and asked me what he could do for me. I told him my background and told him that I was thinking about joining a start-up. Pat comes his reply, if you want to work in Cleartrip, I can see … all said and done, the amygdala was quitened.

At the end of the conversation, he told me one thing –

After this, there is no looking back

I did not fully understand the depth of this. I think after 3 years, I am getting it. After that jump from the corporate wagon, I don’t think I will be going back to a large corporate. Ever.

However I am only human and when I go through a rough patch in my life, I make the mistake of looking back to the day I made this jump. The moment I do this, I remember that one piece of advice … I move on.

Careers: Visibility is not the only problem

One of my assumptions about career design lays shattered today. I thought that students do not have visibility into their next career spaces, and that is why there is so much confusion in the careers area.

However, after reading this post by Rashmi Bansal, it’s not just career visibility that is the problem, but also something else. In the post Rashmi has put down her conversation with an ambitious fellow. This fellow is an engineer (aren’t they all!!) working in an IT MNC firm (you knew this would be there) and wanting to work in a finance role such as i-banking or analyst (surprise, surprise). For this purpose, he has done enough research on the pros and cons of giving the CAT, doing an MS from IIT Madras and doing a PhD from a US University.

The boy has done his research, at one point Rashmi tells him to do give the CAT and to do an MBA from the IIMs; to which the boy replies that he wishes to do a PhD due to a demand-supply difference in the no. of PhD students v/s the no. of IIM grads.

All said and done, the boy is still in a quandary and hell bent on doing a PhD. Interestingly enough, all his choices can get him there. So the visibility is not stopping him, then what is? It’s fear.

Fear of making the wrong choice. He wants to foist off the choice making to someone has informed as Rashmi Bansal. In his latest book, even Seth Godin has touched upon this point. It’s fear that makes us fit in. Here the boy is talking about PhD because less people are doing it, but he is afraid of fitting in – because if he makes the wrong choice, then he will be singled out.

I have concluded this piece on the CrazyEngineer’s blog, read it here.