New Delhi (India), December 26:
1.What are the challenges that the 22year old programmer faces?
The protagonist faces two types of challenges, viz., personal and professional. His personal challenges start at a young age when his life is turned upside down as he is forced to shift from Pune to Mumbai. Professionally the first challenge he faces is that of finding an appropriate Job. After landing one, he is faced with subtle politics, and every step of the way he must prove himself.
2.What innovative strategy does he employ to overcome the hurdles?
The main strategy is to be calm in the face of adversity, that is what the protagonist learns from his manager. The logic is simple, if your mind is calm/decluttered, you will be able to come up with a solution which will work for you.
- Corporate world is a good learning experience, isn’t it?
We can compare the corporate world to life. In the initial few years, we get some level of hand-holding and guidance. As we grow in the organisation (experience wise) we make new friends, face new challenges, and are trusted with additional responsibility. We make mistakes on the way but learn to overcome/fix them so that we avoid repeating the same. We are further entrusted more responsibility, and some people get to do what they like (similar to a love marriage) while others are in an arranged marriage, purely from a work perspective. When we reach a certain level of seniority, we get the opportunity to guide/mentor juniors, and that is when life comes a full circle.
- How should a greenhorn prepare for the corporate world?
The initial few years in the corporate world is where one gets to learn the most. The biggest challenge for a greenhorn is he/she is fresh out of college with limited practical experience. Nowadays, students have the option of doing internships and work on specific projects. I always tell my students; you need to build your own portfolio like a photographer. In writing we have the concept of “Show don’t tell” which is also applicable in the real-world scenario.
Organizations are nowadays focused on seeing what work a newbie has done rather than just hearing the same or reading about it. The concept can be applicable to any industry but let us consider IT for the sake simplicity. If one person wants to get into the space of mobile development, he/she should develop sample mobile applications to showcase demos of the same during the interview.
- What drove you to write Cubicle Tales?
My first three books are educational, catering to a niche market, and I tried to share the information via short stories. However, I wanted to cater to a larger target market, which pushed me to write a fictional series.
- Tell us about your corporate experiences and challenges you faced? How did you override them?
Well, twenty years in the industry, so where should I start? Corporate experience are like sine waves, one minute you can be on the top and the other at the bottom but one needs to try and be calm in any situation. To give an idea lets talk about a specific example. A few years ago, me and my team were work with a client. The challenge was this client did not have clarity of what they wanted, their requirements were ambiguous while their expectations were sky high, they loved to micromanage and their deadline too short. The amalgamation of all these points resulted in me having to lead/guide a highly frustrated team. To resolve this, we took a stance and politely explained the client that the unsystematic way of working will not work. It took a few months to convince the client but the main solution in this case was constant dialogue/communication with my team and the client.
- What are the key takeaways from your book?
The book covers multiple themes, across different aspects of life. One of the key takeaways is you need to be persistent in order to reach your goal. You need to believe in yourself and above all “Make Hay while the Sun shines!!”
- Can you throw some light on the corporate world of this millennium
If we look at the current corporate world, it isn’t much different in terms of processes. Today anyone who joins a corporate organization undergoes some specific training, which has been the norm since long. Employees work in projects where we still have appraisal systems. The main difference is in the kind of people we work with nowadays. Today’s youth are more vocal in voicing their concerns and do not accept anything as is. To put it a different way they are more ambitious and if they don’t get want, they happily move out of the organization. In addition there isn’t a dearth of opportunity which is why ways of talent retention becomes a key area of focus.
Harish Rijhwani is the Author of the book 9 to 5 Cubicle Tales. He has twenty years of corporate experience and ten years as a visiting faculty teaching in various management institutions. Views are personal.
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