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An open letter to a young professional

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Dear Mr Z,

I prefer not to name you, not because of any courtesy but simply because I can’t recall your name. There have been more than a few of you walking through the hall ways over the years looking quite important but frankly nothing inspired me to remember your name. There have been an increasing number of you over the years, fresh out of college thinking you were the topper of the smart batch wanting success to be your inheritance. This is open advice, which you will do the rest of us a favor and not take.

The next time you read that article which talks about taking it easy, strictly 40 hour week, offline weekends, no calls after office hours and all that lovely watch the sunset in peace on a work day do your self a favor, check the bio of the author and figure if he is a fellow 26 year old with 4 lines of professional experience. Then it would be good to research how the author spent his time when he was 26 and what he spent his days doing. I have yet to come across any published author or journalist of repute who sailed through with 40 hour no pressure work weeks and has found a publication worth its salt to feature him.

I’m glad that you have made up your mind that your senior colleagues at work are over loading you with unnecessary pressure, and that they spend all week conspiring to ruin your weekend, when they are working away on their desks they are actually figuring 20 ways to ensure you basically have no Friday evening peace. That they are lucky bums who hit the jackpot and its a matter of time before the biggest cover of their last 10 years of profession life is blown! Before you cement that thought remember Darwin’s theory? (Its the theory that was being taught when you were busy thinking that the professor is an idiot) well this is the practical of that theory. I have never seen any lazy idiot make the cut for a leadership role professionally if it wasn’t their daddy’s business. But go-ahead disregard Darwin had he included you in his research he would have modified his theory.

You have skills, you should believe your Mom, you really are cut out to be a leader, get famous, be on the cover of Time Magazine, or (begin with India) The Economic Times. Before you sit back and relax, sit and write that nomination. Nominate your self for that cover (actually Time magazine should find you and nominate you by them selves) but they haven’t heard of you either. Wrote that nomination? Now compare the 1st 10 achievements you jotted down (did you get to 10? “I have friends” and “mommy loves me” does not count) with any of the last 10 years featured professionals. Where did you get? – Blah! Don’t worry! All this is not for you. At your level of professional excellence you must not cloud your mind with this benchmarking. Just focus on how to improve your life with your next paycheck.

One thing you have absolutely got right you will get hired, (may be the 5th time in 3 years will take longer, but look at the bright side – more personal time) you will almost always have a job (till the India economy is growing). You will get promoted probably with a double-digit hike (for the first few years any way) every organization needs fuel for Darwin theory (yeah it works). The fit, hard working co workers who gave up that all important movie and learnt from their more experienced colleagues and set goals, benchmarks and all that unimportant stuff will of course be happy to hire and promote you when they are calling the shots.

To every one who I know is going slam the insensitivity of this letter, or say its too scathing or in-fact advocate this upcoming trend of belittling those who are one step up the ladder and over valuing your current call to fame, face it! It’s a competitive world and survival, let alone excellence demands hard work and commitment. There is a time for enjoying that awesome self-earned lifestyle and then there is a time for giving it all you got to get to that awesome space in life. To the 26-year-old as I said right in the beginning do not take any of the advise from this piece, you may actually start doing something worthwhile and give the goal oriented ambitious ones added competition.

God Speed

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