Ignite the Professional Within

Ignite the Professional Within

Author: Pratyush Chivukula | Friday, March 1, 2019

The days of Torn Jeans & Baggy Tops.
When Bunking classes was a norm.
Last bench seating or the lecturer’s unexpected beating.
Love at first sight or that last celebration at the Prom Night.

Are the golden days really over?

Spoiler Alert: The above poetic excerpt is exclusively for the Freshers who are just out of college, if anybody else is reading this, the Writer is not responsible for any triggered flashback memories, that may circle in your mind when you were a fresher!

My Dear Fresher friends,

I am sure that since you are out of the college, most of you might have heard from various sources near and dear to you including your parents, Lecturers, friends etc., that “Your golden days are now over!”.
“Now is the time to get serious about life”,
“You gotta think and understand what you want to become”,
“You gotta lay down your plans and see what you want to be ten years down the line.”
“Don’t act childish, you have to become more mature now” etc. etc. etc.

Not sure if these people are right, and do you really have to think on all these parameters and makes you wonder if your golden days really over?

Well, it’s a partly Yes and No to begin with the answering part here.
Life is an enjoyable journey, where at times you have to be serious but not all the time.
You have just finished your graduation, you have to definitely think about what you want to do, but this is a question, that each and every one of us may take time (Days/ Years) (again depends upon individual to individual) to understand.
Take things slowly, exploring one field at a time. It ‘s fine you don’t strike a chord with one, there are many others to make noise with.

One of the foremost things you need to do is to do some introspection on the following points:

  • What is it that I find interesting
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses
  • Goals that I want to achieve in life
  • Financial aspect
  • Job market and available opportunities
  • Backup plan

Let’s not stress upon the regular pillars of hard work, sincerity, optimism and positivity here, because you people are GenNext and it is something which we expect you to already have these imbibed in your personality.
So, the basic thing is to work upon the parameters mentioned above. Think carefully and be honest with yourself when you come up with the list.
You are expected to be very practical, when you make the list based on the above and prioritize.

I’ll specifically stress upon two points:

a) Job market & Available opportunities:

As of this day, the maximum opportunities are there in the IT sector and other sectors/fields are also embracing/embraced the IT processes /methods of working.
The job market needs flexible and highly adaptive individuals who can work with the changes.

b) Backup Plan:

Well, this is a most crucial parameter that I want you to also consider.
In this fast-moving age, people have very high goals and huge expectations (Nothing wrong from their perspective), they forget the simple ideology, that you cannot be successful all the time.
You are bound to fail sometime or the other in life. Not to be confused with pessimism, this is to stay grounded and being more practical.
With this being said, I want you to imbibe an attitude that learns from failure and gears towards success again but keep a threshold for everything.
E.g. You could not make it into Robotics, you tried you level best 3-4 times, but failed. You cannot let this failure take over you and eat your brains for the rest of your life with a guilt. Instead learn to move on with something else, don’t be too harsh with yourself.

Point being, if you could not get /achieve something, there is always something else on the horizon.
You don’t get what you always want, be ready for surprises.
Regarding childishness and maturity, you get mature when you gain experience on things, people, tasks etc.
This experience can be happy, sad, harsh, motivating … but consider any experience worthy.
For this you need not lose the child within. Keep the childishness alive throughout your life.

Don’t change your personality for anyone or anything, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to improve it. Learn by observing others, learn the good and ignore the bad and evolve into a good professional…

Here you as a professional can be working in IT or any field/sector other than IT.

I am listing here some basic expectations from young professionals like you:

  • Wear Formals and come dressed to the office as per the office norms.
  • Politeness is not dead - In a new office, you will deal with the many people there - the security person, the HR personnel et al. You don’t have to bow down to them but be polite. A small "thank you" at the end of the task will only create a good impression on those people and others around. “Your seniors take a note of your behavior, not just in your team but otherwise too. It gives an impression of your personality”
  • It's not wise to comment immediately - Freshers are frequently asked for their opinions because it is assumed that they have a better pulse of the current market trends and mindset. No need to fire from your mouth right away, think through and craftily put forward your opinion backed by a solid reason. Simple ‘yes’ followed by long praises or ‘no’ with deep damnation for the concept will make you look dumb. If confused, tell people that you want some time to think about it but do come up with a definitive opinion later.
  • Suggest new things - Everyone loves fresh ideas and companies subtly expect you to come up with new suggestions in the existing processes. These have to be in the suggestive tone and not sound like a contradiction of the processes
  • Don’t be overfriendly - Like in Bollywood, in office too there are no permanent enemies or friends. People come to office to work, and while they spend 8-10 hours of their time in office they do tend to be friendly with others around. While you would like to discuss life outside office with them, please be advised that intimate details should be totally avoided. Thing like troubles with in-laws, boyfriends, happening night-outs are totally no-no unless you become over friendly with someone at work, and that can only happen in a course of a year.
  • Don’t snoop on your boss - A fresher is tempted to impress his boss. Many newbies tend to find out what their boss likes in terms of food, clothing, what his life is like, what are his hobbies and other such details. A senior at work may classify this as ‘intrusion’ and just avoid you altogether. Draw a line when being casual with your boss.
  • No Sir’s /No Ma’am’s - You can call people by their First name, there is no need to postfix a sir or a madam/ma'am after their name. We all are professionals here.
  • Don’t gossip - Office is the ultimate ground for silly hearsay and its propagation. Tea breaks and coffee time out is often the time when people spill the beans. You may also get to be a part of such sessions at times, since you will be a new employee, a lot of people will keep a watch on your mannerisms and the ability to gel with the team. Useless gossip can ruin that for you.
  • Be ready for surprises - You may have been a college topper, but the office situation is completely different. It is advised to be ready with all concepts but also be prepared to learn new and totally different things at work.
  • Speak in English, refrain from speaking in Hindi/Local languages - You are professionals and are expected to converse in English. Refrain from speaking in your local language or Hindi.

Some tips, which come handy being a better professional are as follows:

  • Improve your soft skills like fluent English speaking, writing emails, writing reports, making PPT etc. better, these help you in the long run.
  • Start reading industry related articles & blogs. E.g. Tech Crunch, venture Beat etc.
  • Speak confidently and build your own vision. People like to be with one who has own vision. Speak about your goal like building a different kind of software etc.
  • Be Flexible and Adaptive. You need to be adaptive and flexible with changing trends in the IT industry. Trust us its changing very rapidly and we need young professionals like you who can quickly be receptive to the change.
  • Don’t think that more experience means more knowledgeable. It’s actually reverse. More experience means more legacy. So being a fresher is your plus point - not the minus point.
  • Observe your seniors, interact with them learn the positives.

With all this said and done, these are not the only things you should know, but there are other things too which you should be knowing, but things when learnt at the opportune time, make the most impact.
The information given above, is sufficient for you to start with. I am sure you will learn many things as you ignite the professional within.

I left out answering one question that we had discussed in the beginning, let’s revisit the question again…

Are the golden days really over?

Nope, Are you kidding me.. I don’t think so.
When you were a child, you went to school, after growing up you went to college and then graduated from there. You transitioned from one phase in life to another.
Similarly, when you are stepping out from college and joining an office as an professional, you are again stepping out of a phase in life and entering a new one.

Trust me when I say this, the golden days always continue, it’s just that, we need to understand how to make sure we make every day, a golden one....

I’d like to end this with a good quote, tweaked a little bit:
“The best part is still ahead of me - I haven't experienced my 'good old golden days' yet.”