Getting a first job is the happiest juncture of one’s life. Nothing pleases you more than getting first job. It’s a sign of self-sufficiency, achievement and a result of your hard work. Your career is like your stock portfolio or your investment portfolio. How carefully you invest (engage) in it, and how carefully you observe (study) it decides the outcome. While some are mature enough to understand the intricacies, professionalism and politics at the workplace, most of the fresher folks are not. This does not mean that they are totally naïve; what this means is that, they will take time to learn.
I therefore thought it appropriate to write an article to cater to this often important yet unaddressed aspect of one’s life. The question that arises is why is the need for most of the readers here, who are already articled trainees and management trainees to learn something more? The answer is simple. The answer is that, since you yourselves have now become professional, your stature has risen. Barring 20 % of articled trainees whose bosses are friendly (co-operative enough), many others have felt that they are totally at mercy of their boss. Now, however, once you clear the academic and training requirements, you are at par with every other person out there. You’ve grown up into a professional.
Therefore following are some common sense yet interesting questions regarding jobs/career choice etc.
1) The biggest question? Should I go for a government job or a private sector job?
Yes, this is the biggest question that comes to our mind and that’s the reason and this is at the topmost of this questionnaire. Government job or private job. Stability or growth. The questions that come to our mind are absolutely normal. While opinions might vary, if I am to give my honest opinion, then one should prefer the private sector job over a government job. There are many reasons which support this view. First and foremost, private sector jobs give you wide exposure and faster career growth as compared to a government job. Since most readers are chartered accountants/cost accountants and company secretaries, we are assuming that the readers are looking after premium and lucrative jobs and not normal jobs or jobs of routine nature. If you are lucky enough, you can easily join a multinational company or a big four consulting firm. In private sector, if you have handy experience, expertise and qualifications, you can climb the ladder very fast as compared to a government job. You can switchover very fast (but not insanely) to the role , payscale and the area that suits you. At least this has been my experience while listening to the colleagues in one of the big four that I am currently in.
So does that mean that government jobs are a big no? Not at all. The fact is that whenever a government job comes to our mind, people have a perception to think of it as if it is a IAS job and will always come with all the perks and benefits. NO. It is not so. A very few senior level government jobs have this lucrative package. The situation becomes even more dramatic when the government job that you are trying for is meant to be your first job. Government appointments take a hell lot of time and one Can hardly wait for so long. On an average (unless the recruitment is urgent) a government job takes nearly 7-8 months from advertisement to final job offer which is a very long time. IF they are competitive exams, then you can just wait till the calendar on your wall changes. One recent example is the ongc graduate trainee exam conducted in June 2014. After the exams were conducted all over india, they got cancelled due to paper leak. Therefore one most tread with caution while applying for a government job.
The second thing that can make a government job less attractive for a budding and enthusiastic person is that, once you join a government job, there might be a possibility that your work life becomes monotonous, mundane and of routine nature. The situation will get even bad if you are posted to some smaller institute or establishment.
The above discussed points are just a point of view and not a final point. Situations and attitudes vary. While a general government job can be less lucrative, jobs in PSUs and mini ratnas are as better as private sector companies because to some extent, these companies work like private sector enterprises.
One more additional advantage of working in a private sector job is that you can build great and lasting professional and personal relationships (this is also possible in a government job , but more possible in a private sector job).Your life will progress exactly as per herzberg’s theory of motivation(unless you are an alien).
2) To what extent should I diversify or specialize my academic qualification? Will I get labelled as being jack of all trades and master of none if I keep doing this or that?
Have you seen job openings for a senior position/ middle management level jobs in large companies. They require people who have at least 2-3 qualifications (mostly 1 /2 professional qualification and one academic or vice versa). For eg , a recent job opening in a good company in bangalore for a company secretary required cs + ca+llb and a legal experience of at least 5 years. On the other hand , in what I call as a bumper job for cs , facebook (as a company) recently advertised a position for Corporate secretary in Hyderabad which needed just a ICSI membership (the position was for senior counsel and therefore llb was still required).
The reason for mentioning all of the above is that, job markets are vibrant and dynamic and not static. Therefore a continuous professional and educational track record will prove beneficial for you. Therefore the answer to question no 2 is that , one should try to diversify within his professional domain. If you possess a degree which is totally unrelated to the position (but you still possess it), simply do not mention it in your cv or else , there is a chance that the interviewer will assume that you are a jack of all trades and master of none.
3) OK, I am on the verge of getting my first job but I am not quite damn sure whether I will find it interesting/ what if the job is not interesting for me?
Hmmm…..People shy away from asking this question. What’s wrong in asking that? A common question that arises after you pass your final qualification is that , within what time should I get a job. The answer is max. 12-18 months (which is already quite a stretched one) because after that your resume becomes stale. You can of course rejuvenate it by adding more qualifications (at least as a measure to fill the gap) but still, experience is always preferred over plain qualification. Therefore if you’ve a certainty that its hard time to get a job, it’s better that you join the uninteresting job for the time being…..
People don’t leave a single opportunity to label you as a lazy guy if you are not getting job quicly and therefore sticking and even muddling might be the best solution at least till the time , the tide turns on your side.
4) What is more important? Qualification or experience?
For a new job / fresher post – Qualification.
For a job opening with no particular experience requirements given- Experience over qualification.
For Niche areas for freshers- Qualification.
For niche areas with no particular experience requirement given- Experience over qualification.
Here experience means relevant experience and post qualification experience.
Lastly, those professionals who upgrade their qualifications while working are the most preferable.
Yes, these things are common sense, but still its worth noting it down.
5) What more can be done to make my job interesting?
Everyone experiences this situation after working for a certain time. Things start to become bore. The best thing to avoid this is going back to the basics. Rebuilding your interests. Getting into reading and learning into new streams related to your job, may be it finance or law. You do not get time is the most common excuse. If you are giving the ‘lack of time ‘ as a reason , then you are wrong. One of the IAS toppers, who was a btech from a prime engineering college as well as a IIT AND IIM gold medalist used to study for his IAS exams along with this full time job. Therefore its futile to assign this reason for your lack of interest in academia.
The general trend in the united states, especially amongst engineers is that after graduation , they go for 3-4 experience and then return back to academia for upgrading their skills. Max tegmark , the well known scientist is an example of this trend.
Therefore research, reading, information gathering gives your job more theoretical and foundational depth and rejuvenates your interest once again (unless you are thinking of becoming a hermit).
6)Should I go practice or a job? A simple answer.
Answer to this is simple. Job for 3-4 years , professional contacts and experience then practice. However if you are born with a silver spoon or have a financial backing , the situation is vice versa.
7) Going forward, will my specialized qualification be my only savior for job or is there something more that I need to do. Will my institute be able to safeguard from the hoard or competition?
This is a controversial area. Most people think that they have got a never ending boon to be the ‘only one’ in their field. Friends, times change and with change, everything just collapses. Many people live in what is known as a ‘fish pond’ always thinking that a big brother will always save them.
Situations are changing. The time when statutes were meant as job guarantees are gone. The dtc and the nearly final inclusion of cma and cs in I.T. is a testimony to it (if you still don’t believe, then …… wait for some more time when you realize the truth).
Therefore you will be your own savior going forward.
8) What’s better for career? Joining a company and serving there for a long period or periodic role changes?
This question can be best answered by using real world examples. When you get acquainted enough with your boss to know about his detailed career graph, just try to take a sense from it. Visit and closely read the linkedin profiles of senior executives and achievers from companies or even just do a random search and try guessing from it.
Changing roles as well as remaining at a same position are both sides of same coin. Many people temporarily leave a company and return to it after 3-4 years. Large companies are mature enough to tolerate this kind of job shifting. In government jobs , many people join young and directly retire, spending their entire life in the same cadre.
Things however have changed now and therefore the majority trend is a job change in 4-5 years so that you can climb the ladder based on post and responsibility.
9) What are the Advantages/opportunities of a globally diversified career and what are your chances for that? do I have a chance for it?
The answer to this question should be read in conjunction with question no8. Diversification within a limited boundary is a healthy career move. There are hundreds of instances where people who are genuinely talented and genius have taken roles totally outside their domain and come out with flying colors.
Today is the world of globalization. Chartered accountants are venturing into the middle east and Oceania and globalizing their careers. The ICSI is sadly not working towards this aspect. Facilities and resources today allow residents of one country to truly globalize.
If you have enough resources, talent, contacts and skills, then there is a possibility that a global career awaits you. The word used is possibility and not surety.
Many Indians , specially engineers and tech grads lead some of the world’s largest companies. What made it possible? Think and you’ve got the answer.
10) How to maintain good and cordial relationship at the workplace or at least contacts if not relationships at workplace?
Do I need to explain this? You already are a master in that.
The only point I’d like to add is that , even you leave a job , stay in touch with your earlier job mates and maintain professional contact with them.
That’s it for now……..
- Rohit Jain
(I believe in the supreme court doctrine of ‘if you do not like it , do not see it’……… if you find this article as amateur, irrelevant or too simplistic, please don’t read it. This is meant for people who are not familiar with all the above aspects. Do not waste your precious time in commenting badly or criticizing this. There is much more creative that you can do )