Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is your career in YOUR hands?

So, what do you think – Is your career in your hands? Or your manager’s?

Well, let’s see! Some are of the perspective that it is completely in the individual’s hands; while another school of thought agrees that it is the manager. Let’s look at each angle separately.

‘Your career is your hands’: Oh yes…very much it is and in fact we get to listen to this statement almost during every review meeting or appraisal cycle and I don’t find anything wrong in the fact that a person has to hunt for his own meat for survival. If we feel that we are not getting opportunities towards career progression, well then, learn to create them. Discuss your situation with your manager putting your point across in a manner that he recognizes that you are becoming bitter, not better. Besides, think about it, it will make him realize that you have a “strong urge of willingness and drive to excel in the organization” (Michael Freeman). Furthermore, Bob Ebers feels that all development is self development. To think otherwise sets up unhealthy dependencies and will lead to disappointment. Just thinking of the proverb, ‘God helps those who help themselves’ 

Your career is in your managers hands: Well...well...well, let me re-phrase this to a more frequently heard testimonial: “My career is in my manager’s hands and he does not care about it one bit!” This takes us to a completely different tangent, where the onus lies with the manager. In this regard, Tiffany Murray states that a "good" manager will help to identify opportunities to assist the employee along on their career path. Michael Burgess rightly states that managers have a responsibility for creating career opportunities, for identifying "blockers" to career progression and for working out ways to navigate a person’s career around them. Your manager knows you very well and should ideally allocate work and tasks on that basis. He should be skilled enough to shower you with challenging tasks, so that you are out of monotony and you work towards your efficiency and effectiveness. The new phrase these days is that employees do not leave companies, but they leave because there is nothing challenging left for them.

How about those situations when the manager gives complete support in terms of showing opportunities to team members to prove their mettle; however, the individuals do not build upon it? Thus it is indeed imperative that WE OWN 70% of our career, while our managers own about 20%. Well then, what does the remaining 10% comprise? This, my dear readers, is in the hands of our market conditions, which at times, we label as ‘destiny’. I would like to include situations like recession here (quoted by Venugopal, an Aircel employee).

Think about it!

As managers and as reportees to him, the art and skill of giving and receiving feedback is essential for a positive relationship. You take the steps towards progression; give your 100% and convince your manager to guide your ship through the rough corporate high tide ocean, where everyone is ready to pull each other down. Managers should inculcate this skill of working smartly, rather than hard or in fact, hardly. Richard Daugherty has rightly stated that while it is our inherent duty to be stewards of our path, a manager can provide insights and highlight talents that we may never notice in ourselves. Nina Chakaramakil from Aircel and Ophealia deRoze also feels that a manager will show us the path, but it is totally in our hands to tread on the path or not.


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