Focus

image Today, we received a query on our website from a 16 year old boy. It was about wanting more details about the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program. I was absolutely stumped. This program is generally attempted by folks who are doing or have done their MBAs, or at least graduates. Of course, the CFA Institute has no qualms with an under-graduate talking the first exam, in fact the boy is completely eligible for giving the first level of the exam.

Now, go back 5-6 years (or in my case 15) … when you were in your 10th standard, did you have such clear aim in life?

I mean, its astounding.

I have nothing but respect for one so focused. When you know what you want, then getting it becomes easy. Kudos Kiddo! and God Bless!!

CV Gaffes

We are hiring, and are screening resumes of different candidates for interviews. Some of the resumes that we came across are hilarious and I thought I might take the liberty of sharing it here (I am not disclosing the identity of the people, but if your CV does contain a line or two from these selected gems, then consider rewriting your resume!)

  • Seeking an environment to relish the constructive attitude and fulfill my appetite of success by facilitating the organization with my skills and abilities.
  • To use and enhance my educational as well as professional skills with dedications and commitment in the best possible way do as to acquire symmetric height for me and my organization.
  • To be an efficient part of a reputed organization and enhance my abilities while working to attain objectives of organization. I would like to work amongst Network of Skilled Professionals in a dynamic and highly demanding atmosphere.
  • Looking forward for a dynamic career in today’s challenging business environment Achieving organization objective as well as professional growth in an environment of co-operation of team spirit. Reach the top positioning my career and to attain the goal of life.
  • I want to have challenging career in growing organization, which gives opportunities to utilize the skills and contribute to rise up in the learning curve and which values professionalism, by demonstrating high energy levels, ethics and integrity.
  • To Pursue growth Oriented Career with a Progressive Company that provides scope to apply my knowledge & Skill which would also help me to Contribute my best to best Organization
  • To establish myself as a successful professional known for emerging victorious from challenging situations and completing given task thus helping company to new heights and fulfilling my dreams.

I do not understand why people keep career objectives in their resumes. Not only is it a waste of space, but also the recruiter does not glean anything (except maybe a chuckle or two) from it. Most of the objectives I have seen are bloated and filled with hot air – save the recruiter some trouble and directly cut to the chase.

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!!

differences

The Difference in Perspective

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.