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The Perils Of Dodging Errant Jobs

Author : Dilip Saraf

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My client Joe from the Millennial generation was in marketing at a social media company and was doing well in his role. Marketing has been in his blood and he enjoyed his job because it gave him the challenge, rhythm, and predictability important to him, along with the glamor and pay that came with the role. His last review was goodnot greatand that was enough for him to pat himself on the back for a job well done.

In a recent re-organization everything that was important to Joe was suddenly shaken to its core with redefined roles, restructuring, and a new regime that would drive his company in a new direction. For a company in the social-media space such upheavals are commonplace because the shifts in that fickle vertical are unpredictable and how competitors respond to these forces dictate your next moves.

As a part of the reorganization Joes new role was in a different functional area that had to do with Field Support. Although still in Marketing (a rather peculiar way to organize marketing) this new role would have given Joe a different challenge to work with the Field staff, giving him more customer access to their companys product and thus help enable sales. In this role it would have given Joe ability to directly contribute to his companys growth with measurable metrics tied to his work with the Field staff, something that was missing in his previous role.

Despite Joes continuing in Marketing, albeit under a different functional area within it, he was convinced that he would be sidelined in his new role. In the company Field Support was seen as a less glamorous job, especially for someone working in Marketing, where developing strategies, creating new campaigns, and building the companys brand was considered a critical mission in its success. When Joe got the news of the changes, and especially his reassignment, he called me with an urgent tone in his voice asking me what his options were.

I was a bit lost when he asked that pointed question. So, when I asked Joe what is problem with the reassignment was he bluntly told me that this was a clear demotion, even though his title and pay would remain the same, albeit under a different direct boss. When I reminded him that he was still in Marketing with the same uber boss, he retorted by saying that others would see the reassignment as a clear demotion because of the optics of the change; Joe would have nothing of it. I reminded him that in the scheme of things this was a minor change, as others had lost their jobs or had suffered demotions in the shuffle. He then asked me again what his options were!

I told him that he had two options: Joe could go back to his current boss and ask him to explain the reason for this assignment, and then plead with him to keep him in his current role; Joes second option would be to quit his job by resigning in protest if the boss did not allow him to keep his current role in Marketing. So, when Joe went back to his boss he bluntly told him that the change was a result of the massive restructuring that was done for better market alignment and that Joe would have an opportunity to prove himself in a new but complementary area. His boss assured Joe that there was nothing personal, nefarious, or hidden about this change that needed to concern Joe in his long-term outlook as a productive employee, as long he came through well in his new assignment.

Joe would have nothing of it, and without further consulting with me Joe abruptly resigned his employment. He was walked out immediately after he resigned, which took Joe by surprise, about which he called me to complain as he was driving home, now jobless! Anyway, there was nothing I could say to reassure Joe about what had transpired as a result of his irrational reaction to the otherwise routine changes following the reorganization.

So, what is the lesson here for those who feel disenfranchised when massive reorganizations happen in response to market shifts and surprises that companies face as a matter of everyday business realities? Here is my perspective:

  1. Your company has the right to assign you wherever it feels its immediate needs are and where it feels you can provide ongoing value to improve its business. It does not exist to provide you comfort in your everyday existence with predictability, choice assignments, and glam.
  2. You must learn to expand your career horizons by taking on challenging assignments and doing well in them. In Joes case he would have had a golden opportunity to connect with the customers through the companys Field staff and learn in the process how his marketing campaigns that he had previously worked on actually result in action from that front and how the customers respond to those messages.
  3. In his new role Joe would have had a unique opportunity to tie his leadership initiatives to measure how customer behavior translated into more product sales and what he could do, working with the Field staff, to help customers engage more with the product. He would have gleaned new insights that would have allowed him to go back to the Product team to improve the product and build a new relationship with the Product Manager, something that would enhance his rsum as a marketing professional.
  4. Joe was so focused on his narrow marketing role that he failed to see what marketings mission really wasto improve product footprint through customer adoption in a measurable waythat he failed to grasp how this new role would have enhanced his Marketing rsum.
  5. I am sure that the new job would have had its own trials and tribulations, especially during the ramp-up period. It is facing these challenges that one shows their creativity, grit, and commitment to succeed than what is possible staying in a predictable ho-hum job. In his recent book, How to Win at the Sport of Business by billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban he writes about his jobless days where he did menial jobs just to survive. These jobs included selling PCs and software, something he knew nothing about and something he did not like, and selling powdered milk. He writes: I worked jobs I didnt like. I worked jobs I loved but that had no chance of becoming a career. I worked jobs that barely paid the rent Most of them arent on my rsum anymore because I was there so short a time or they were so stupid I was embarrassed. You dont want to write about selling powdered milk or selling franchises for TV repair shops. In every job, I would justify it in my mind, whether I loved it or hated it, that I was getting paid to learn and every experience would be of value. It is often through overcoming adversity that we grow by challenging our creativity and by harnessing our potential.
  6. Seek your professional growth through venturing in new opportunities. Because exploring in the new vistas is where you get creative in how you apply yourself. It is through these insights that you get new inspiration for some breakthroughs or epiphanies.
  7. Overcoming hardships is something that gives us new perspectives. Sorry, but in Joes case this was not a hardship; it was a reassignment where his management felt that he could grow and contribute new value in ways that was not initially obvious to Joe. Yet, he decided to dismiss the idea out of hand and walk away from a well-paying job.

I can guarantee you that in his next job Joe is again going to encounter a similar situation where he will be assigned to a job not to his liking. Pretty soon he will run out of options of finding narrowly defined jobs to his liking! In the process his rsum will continue to get narrower and narrower, and Joe, older and older!

Good luck, Joe!


Photo Courtesy: Compfight.com

About Author
Dilip has distinguished himself as LinkedIn’s #1 career coach from among a global pool of over 1,000 peers ever since LinkedIn started ranking them professionally (LinkedIn selected 23 categories of professionals for this ranking and published this ranking from 2006 until 2012). Having worked with over 6,000 clients from all walks of professions and having worked with nearly the entire spectrum of age groups—from high-school graduates about to enter college to those in their 70s, not knowing what to do with their retirement—Dilip has developed a unique approach to bringing meaning to their professional and personal lives. Dilip’s professional success lies in his ability to codify what he has learned in his own varied life (he has changed careers four times and is currently in his fifth) and from those of his clients, and to apply the essence of that learning to each coaching situation.

After getting his B.Tech. (Honors) from IIT-Bombay and Master’s in electrical engineering(MSEE) from Stanford University, Dilip worked at various organizations, starting as an individual contributor and then progressing to head an engineering organization of a division of a high-tech company, with $2B in sales, in California’s Silicon Valley. His current interest in coaching resulted from his career experiences spanning nearly four decades, at four very diverse organizations–and industries, including a major conglomerate in India, and from what it takes to re-invent oneself time and again, especially after a lay-off and with constraints that are beyond your control.

During the 45-plus years since his graduation, Dilip has reinvented himself time and again to explore new career horizons. When he left the corporate world, as head of engineering of a technology company, he started his own technology consulting business, helping high-tech and biotech companies streamline their product development processes. Dilip’s third career was working as a marketing consultant helping Fortune-500 companies dramatically improve their sales, based on a novel concept. It is during this work that Dilip realized that the greatest challenge most corporations face is available leadership resources and effectiveness; too many followers looking up to rudderless leadership.

Dilip then decided to work with corporations helping them understand the leadership process and how to increase leadership effectiveness at every level. Soon afterwards, when the job-market tanked in Silicon Valley in 2001, Dilip changed his career track yet again and decided to work initially with many high-tech refugees, who wanted expert guidance in their reinvention and reemployment. Quickly, Dilip expanded his practice to help professionals from all walks of life.

Now in his fifth career, Dilip works with professionals in the Silicon Valley and around the world helping with reinvention to get their dream jobs or vocations. As a career counselor and life coach, Dilip’s focus has been career transitions for professionals at all levels and engaging them in a purposeful pursuit. Working with them, he has developed many groundbreaking approaches to career transition that are now published in five books, his weekly blogs, and hundreds of articles. He has worked with those looking for a change in their careers–re-invention–and jobs at levels ranging from CEOs to hospital orderlies. He has developed numerous seminars and workshops to complement his individual coaching for helping others with making career and life transitions.

Dilip’s central theme in his practice is to help clients discover their latent genius and then build a value proposition around it to articulate a strong verbal brand.

Throughout this journey, Dilip has come up with many groundbreaking practices such as an Inductive Résumé and the Genius Extraction Tool. Dilip owns two patents, has two publications in the Harvard Business Review and has led a CEO roundtable for Chief Executive on Customer Loyalty. Both Amazon and B&N list numerous reviews on his five books. Dilip is also listed in Who’s Who, has appeared several times on CNN Headline News/Comcast Local Edition, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle in its career columns. Dilip is a contributing writer to several publications. Dilip is a sought-after speaker at public and private forums on jobs, careers, leadership challenges, and how to be an effective leader.

Website: http://dilipsaraf.com/?p=2232&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-perils-of-dodging-errant-jobs


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