Beware of officemythicitis. Those affected by it show firmly entrenched misconceptions about work-life factors that are critical to career success. The myths are also the symptoms of the disorder. But fear not for cure is at hand. Simply dispel these myths and you’ll be free from the clutches of officemythicitis...
Symptom 1: Job-hopping is bad for one’s career
This was true about a decade ago. At the time, employers viewed job-hopping as a sign of instability and hence unreliability. The new thinking is different. Job-hoppers are considered market-savvy and having more exposure since they have worked in more than one company. This also makes them appear desirable in the market. They are considered smart players, who plan their growth and actively seek challenges [working in a new place is a challenge]. On the contrary, those who are in the same job for long are seen as lacking ambition—people who are stuck in their comfort zones and undesirable in the market.
It may sound radical, but the approach soon will be—if you haven’t moved in two or two-and-a-half years, you had better have a good reason for staying at that job. The new-age thinking is speedily seeping in as recruiters don’t have the luxury of writing off good talent just because of job hopping. Picking people with high performance is always desirable and when it is a consistent feature at previous jobs it also conspicuously indicates the fast learning and quick-on-delivery traits of the candidate. Today, loyalty is more about delivery than time spent behind the desk. Often people hold out in a career or a job for a little too long until it’s clear that the job isn’t working for them anymore. This may be for two reasons, either they are nervous to take the plunge or they have been fed upon the age old myth of job-hopping is bad. Hanging on more than the required shelf life of the job blunts your ability for accepting new challenges and getting into a delivery position where results are outstanding.
So regularly keep monitoring yourself for the next jump before it is too late. The change is much harder to manage when you’re operating from a place of desperation and exhaustion. However, remember: Don’t burn bridges and leave with good references; keep your spouse in the loop not just about what you’re doing but also about what you’re thinking. It goes a long way in creating a team feeling.
Symptom 2: Engaging in office politics isn’t right
Office politics is nothing but networking with the right people, nurturing your relationships and knowing what to say when. It’s nothing but being sensible. What’s not ‘right’ about it?
My suggestion is observe those who build their careers quickest. Don’t they spend almost one-fifth of their time at work in office politics—building their network and nurturing relationships? This is vital to success. It’s one of the fastest ways to grow because you will have friends in all the right places. Think of it as a strategy that you use to accomplish what you want.
But don’t confuse office politics with office gossip. Participating in office gossip is never a good move unless it is for listening and gathering information. If you are seen as a gossip monger, be ready to kiss your dreams goodbye.
Symptom 3: Big companies is where success is
Just like we have a general tendency to associate goodwill and positive attributes to good looking people, we really get excited about big brands and large companies. We automatically correlate personal success with that of the company. I don’t have anything against people working for corporate giants. It’s the perception, which I’m against. There are many drawbacks of working in a big organisation and I can say this with confidence as I have been employed with at least three of the world’s most renowned brands in the past.
You’ll learn newer ways of doing things and better processes but executing any plan takes time given the multi-tiered hierarchy of such organisations. Lastly and most importantly, you don’t get to fail as often as you want so the learning curve exists but develops at its own gradual pace.
Symptom 4: All you need for success is hard word and good work
For some reason people seem to believe that if an individual will work hard, follow the rules, and be patient s/he will be successful. Hard work is necessary but overrated. Also, it depends on what you mean by hard work. The new-age mantra is—it’s not about how you work but about how fast you can learn and apply what you learn that makes you most valuable.
Simply by slogging for long hours every day will not take you anywhere. What you need is focus, ambition, willingness to take risk, desire to grow and efficiency.
Symptom 5: A perfect resume guarantees a job
There is no such thing as a ‘perfect resume’. Besides, a resume will neither help you get a job nor will it help in networking. I have seen thousands of resumes, but have never come across even one that compelled me to hire the person without the usual interview.
A resume is simply a means that you use to introduce yourself to potential employers. That’s not to say that if a resume is exceptional it won’t interest an employer, but they will only take you as far as the interview room. It will not guarantee you a job. So your resume need not be perfect, it should be good enough for the HR and hiring manager to seriously consider you for a position. Neither of them care about how ‘perfect’ it is.
That doesn’t mean that you should present a badly done resume. The important thing to remember when crafting your resume is to resist making yourself look more important than you really are, to impress head hunters. Such embellishments make you vulnerable to all sorts of problems as it would be pretty discrediting if your prospective employer actually calls your previous employer to verify your job tasks and discovers that you were not exactly forthcoming in your specific duties. Avoid the other extreme as well—a resume is not a laundry list that reveals everything about you. Highlight your work talent and qualifications in an honest and easy to understand manner.
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