Hi! And how are you all? It has been a very busy month after the Deepavali and Hari Raya festivities. My calendar has been full, but I also managed to sneak in a holiday to Bangkok with the family. Lots of eating and shopping (my favorite pastimes after training).
This month, I want to talk to you about a great piece of advice from Andy Grove, Chairman and CEO, Intel Corporation, in his book, “Only the Paranoid Survive”. The advice he gives is as follows:
“The sad news is, nobody owes you a career. Your career is literally your business. You own it as a sole proprietor. You have one employee: yourself. You are in competition with millions of similar businesses: millions of other employees all over the world. You need to accept ownership of your career and your skills. It is your responsibility to protect this personal business of yours. Nobody else can do that for you. You are where you are because of what you are”
I personally think that this is an exceptional piece of advice from a brilliant man. If we all managed ourselves as a business, I think we would surely have better careers. With globalization, there will be good news and bad news in relation to careers. The good news is that the employment market will become much, much bigger meaning lots of career opportunities all over the world. The bad news is that the competition will also become greater as people from all over the world will vie for the same jobs. Even if the job is in Malaysia, you may have to compete with professionals from Thailand, India or even France. Big multi-nationals like Microsoft and GE will recruit the best, irrespective of their country of origin.
Here, I wish to augment the advice from Andy grove with the following three simple things:
a. Be good at what you are doing. This is a simple but very profound piece of advice. David Blaine is where he is today because he is exceptionally good at what he does i.e. performing magic! If magicians were needed in corporations, he would be tops in everyone’s list. If you are good at what you are doing, opportunities will come because all organizations are looking for good and competent professionals all the time. Being good also means that you will have to keep up with the changes occurring in your profession. The best dentist in the world will be ‘obsolete’ if his knowledge of dentistry is outdated even by a few years.
b. Market yourself. This may sound strange, but it is something you will have to do to get the best out of your career. Ask yourself this question: what have I done to tell the world (in particular search consultants, other corporations etc) that I am very good at my job and am available. If you say, nothing, then that’s why you are still at your present job, in spite of you thinking that you deserve a better job elsewhere. Please remember that coca cola is a product that only consists of water, syrup, carbonated gas and sugar and yet billions of dollars are spent annually by consumers on it. Why? Because it has been marketed brilliantly! Being good at your job is important; letting the world know about this may be equally if not more important! So go write that article for publication, go to the right forums to network, participate in activities organized by institutes in your industry: this will most certainly raise your profile and importantly, tell people that you exist! Better jobs will most certainly follow. A final reminder, if you think that everyone knows you, that doesn’t mean you stop the marketing process. Coca cola is the most well known brand name in the world, but that doesn’t stop them from continuing their marketing activities.
c. Package yourself well: you are the product!! The best product packaged badly may create a perception that it is a mediocre product. Hence dress well and appropriately, it creates a very positive first and lasting impression among people you meet, which will prove to be crucial. So go spend a little bit on your wardrobe. It may pay back many thousands of times over.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. I really do hope I have provoked you into thinking about this piece of advice from Andy Grove and you will take measures to become better at what you do. Until my next newsletter, my warmest wishes to all of you and your loved ones. Take care.