Nine Questions to Early Career Professionals. Are you Ready?

This is the first in a series of articles by Mr. Surya Prakash Mohapatra, Global Head- Talent Transformation and Learning & Development at Wipro Digital Operations and Platforms for Early Career Professionals.

Are you someone who has just stepped into a professional career? Or are you someone who is just about getting ready to begin the career journey? If your answer to one of these questions is yes, this series of articles is just for you. This article is about how you, as an early career professional would go about designing and shaping your career, find meaning out of it and make an impact. In this article, I am not going to preach any sermons. Rather, I am going to try and provoke you into thinking by asking you a few questions.

So lets start. Here are my 9 questions for you:-

1. What is your Unique Value Proposition?

What is your unique strength? Each one of us have something in us which makes us unique in this world. Each individual is the best in something that differentiates him or her from others. As you begin your professional journey, have you thought about what your unique strength is and what value or impact you can create leveraging your unique strength?

2. Are you running a 100 meters sprint or a marathon?

The 100 meters race happens inside the stadium. The stadium has concrete structures, stands and sometimes an unruly crowd. The marathon run takes place outdoors. There are trees, roads, lakes, ponds that you pass by as you run the marathon. The 100 meters race ends in a jiffy. Marathon continues for long hours. In 100 meters race, you are in a hurry to finish the race. In the marathon, you take your time, strategize and sometimes choose to speed up or slow down. So, what is your career going to look like? Are you going to run a 100 meters sprint or a marathon?

3. What do you stand for- Your Job or Your Role?

Are you going to stand for your job title or for the role you have been hired for? Manager- Human Resources is a Job. HR Business Partner is a role. Father, Mother, People Manager etc. are roles and not jobs. A job is defined by the JD. The role is driven by the responsibility and accountability one has towards her organization, team, customers etc. What are going to stand for?

4. Can you succeed even if you do not have all the resources?

There are resource constraints everywhere. You may not have enough budgets. Your supervisor may not be willing to make additional investments. What would you do in such a situation? Would you give up or would you dig up? Would you just crib about your constraints or would you try to look around for alternatives? Would you knock at a few more doors, scout for those invisible resources or hunt for those lessor known partners? Do Think about it.

5. Are you smart or disciplined?

If you have to choose between being smart or being disciplined, which one would you choose? Is it ok not to be super smart, but be highly disciplined or is it the other way round? Give it a thought.

6. Are you learning everyday?

Are you learning something everyday? Or are you complaining that you have no time to learn? Do you try to figure out what you need to learn and how you are going to learn? Or are you waiting for your manager/L&D function to send you to training programs?

7. Who do you hang out with?

Who do you hang out with regularly? Who do you spend most of your time with? Are they more knowledgeable than you are or are you more knowledgeable than they are? The answer to this question would decide your future. Ponder over it…

8. Do you have the time to stop by and ……??

Is it good to sometimes slow down to enjoy what is happening all around? Are you always running the race or are you sometimes slowing down, taking a pause, and enjoying the world around you? Do you sometimes slow down, take a break to be with your parents, children, friends, and so on?

9. Can you become a Leader?

Are leaders born or made? Can you become a leader even if you don’t have prior experience or exposure to leadership? Can anyone become a leader?

Yes, I have asked you 9 thought-provoking questions. You may be disappointed that I have not provided any answers. But as you get moving with your career journey, pondering over these 9 questions would be helpful. How you respond to these questions will determine how you are going to shape your career ! !

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