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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Career success needs a framework like a doctor's health framework, not specific advice

End goals are similar

End goals are similar ! 
In career, the end goal is known and understood. The mountain to climb is quite similar for all the individuals. It is either earning money, finding job satisfaction, doing something of significance, leaving behind for legacy or the combination of the above four. A doctor's health framework also has clear established end goals of health which are similar across different individuals.

But the roads to reach the end goal are dissimilar ...

The challenge in career is therefore not having the right end goal, but to negotiate the roads smartly to reach the goal. In order to reach these end goals, an individual faces unique situations ( and therefore difficulties) which are caused by the combination of these four variable factors:

Every individual faces a different difficulty in his/her career path
for which he must be ready
1. Starting point dissimilarity: Depending on your starting point, your difficulty changes.If your family is rich, then your opportunities of learning ( and doing) increase, but your motivation engine  is down. On the other hand, your friend's ( who is from a poor family) motivation engine is working automatically but he faces the difficulty of finding the right school or college. You cannot follow the same strategies as your friend because your path is different than your friend. Or if your family is from law background, and your interest is in music, you have to find a different 'road' to negotiate with your family to pursue your interest. Or if your family is 'Marwari', and you want to do research, you have to surmount the 'beliefs' of your community to pursue a path of researcher.  Or if you are from a typical Maharashtrian background, and you want to become an entrepreneur, beliefs of your community will force you to take another path. Another path change !

2. Work-path dissimilarity:
Differences in work paths constitute the biggest differences of road changes ( and therefore the difficulties) in reaching the end goal. If your path is of a sportsman, you have to achieve everything before the age of 25. If your work path is of a knowledge professional - like engineer, consultant, researcher or even entrepreneur - you start your work-life only after the age of 25. Therefore, for the sportsman, choosing his ' workpath' happens automatically, while for a knowledge professional, choosing a path of education at the age of 16 is a major challenge for which he has to start getting ready at the age of 12.

Similarly, Artist faces a different challenge than, say, an engineer. An artist's work in design, fashion or drawing cannot be evaluated objectively like an engineer. Therefore, an artist has to negotiate a different road: he has to develop a huge stock of self-belief in his work unlike an engineer. Even within a professional work-path, the difference can be large. A gynecologist, for instance, seeing patients every day has to learn and practice being empathetic, while a pathologist may not be very adept in dealing with people. Every profession - be it research, banking or software - forces an individual on a specific road with its unique set of difficulties which an individual has to negotiate. The professional, to avoid derailment, should be ready for meeting these challenges, so that can exploit all the given opportunities.

3. Difference due to intermediate success or failures: Intermediate success also changes the expectation and therefore unknowingly changes the workpath of reaching the end goal. For instance, if you are successful in your first job, and earn lot of money in the first job itself, your expectation from next job changes. Instead of seeking money in the next job, you seek job satisfaction or meaning in job. Your workpath has changed unknowingly, but, if you do not equip your mind for this path-change, you struggle to find your next job. On the other hand, when one fails in the first job, the challenge is to find right kind of job, where one can find one's footing back. Every individual encounters success or failure in different part of his life, which in turn, creates a unique situation ( a road) for that individual that he/she has to deal with.

4.Problem-dissimilarities: Every individual faces a different problem in his life. Besides work oriented problem - like a wrong boss, an obsolete technology to work, or an inappropriate work-location - individual also faces problems in his family ( working spouse, too brilliant child, or father who needs your support) and health that may present a unique difficulty to that individual. Once again, the solution has to be unique for the individual. You cannot utilise someone else's solution, because your situation is different from others, even if the problem looks same on the surface.

Because the end goals are similar, but the roads are dissimilar, we need a framework that can guide an individual in negotiating the road smartly

Luckily our end goals are similar. So too is the functioning of our minds. Therefore, to reach our end goals, we need a framework - like a doctor's framework that enables us to monitor our health - that can help us achiever our unique career end goals. Such a framework to negotiate career challenges should have 5 robust features like a doctor's framework:
  • Career Result framework should enable an individual to anticipate the road ahead in producing the desired results ( like a doctor anticipating health problems with high calorie diet) In other words, the individual should be clearly aware of the results that are required to achieve the end goals. 
  • Career Input framework should help the individual to get equipped with the minimum inputs ( or abilities) to achieve the career end goals ( like food and exercise that helps individual to remain healthy). In other words, the individual should be aware of the minimum basic inputs that are required to produce the desired results. This should help individuals to 'change' and alter his input skills and traits that can be used by an individual to either fill the gaps or build new inputs that are required to achieve the desired end goals. 
  • Action framework to produce the desired results should be simple enough to be understood and applied by every individual in one's life but also robust enough to respond to the complexity of the situation. ( Like doctors health framework that can be applied by every individual  )
  • Diagnostic framework of correction to diagnose and correct a career-problem . This framework should be like a doctors health framework that will help him detect a problem and find a solution. This framework should help an individual separate root cause from multiple symptoms to enable normal individuals to seek timely help from different help-givers like teachers, mentors and role models ( like a doctor's framework that enables one to take help of health-providers like physiotherapists, nutritionists and plastic surgeon) 
What happens if you do not have this career framework to guide your career 

If you do not have a framework to deal with your unique career challenges, you will suffer like citizens of 18th century who suffered from health because they they never had a health framework. In 18th century, every prescription of a self-proclaimed doctor was right even though it cured one person by fluke. Every advice of a physician, be it a prescribed by a road side quack or by a renowned doctor, was considered right, because we did not know the criteria on which each health advice could be evaluated. In a way, any health advice was right, if the person said it more loudly or if he had large followers.

In the matters of career advice, we are still in 18th century. In the same way, we are at the mercy of quacks who claim to know what is right for us in succeeding in our career.Anyone prescribes a career advice and claim to be the best because there are no criteria to judge the validity of any advice. Without any framework, any person can claim his advice to be the best, if he can shout loud and show to have more followers.

But there is no free lunch if you make a mistake.If you listened to a wrong advice on health in 18th century, you suffered. Some people even died. So too, you suffer when you listen to a wrong career advice today in 20th century. Although the price of wrong health advice is paid immediately, the price of wrong career advice is paid by us sooner or later. 

When the sportsman, for instance, is advised to work on her game and not on his mind, she is unable to sustain her performance as soon as she starts playing serious game. However, when a student does not work on his mind and makes a wrong choice of education path, he pays for his mistake much later in his life. Every time, when we do not anticipate the difficulties in our work path, we lose time in recovering. And every time, when we cannot use our life situations ( such as rich family or poor family) to build the right skills, we waste opportunity to learn faster.

Are you ready to learn Enlight framework to achieve your end goals? We shall see what results are required to achieve the end goals in the later blogs.