Failures are but human, and without failures we seldom learn the right things in life and when it comes to career we all have our shares of them. In fact, our mistakes accentuate our lives’ learning curve, by making it rich and resourceful with lessons learnt and experiences earned.
From Rajeev Bhardwaj, who heads the Human Resource function at Sun Life Financial Asia Service Centre-India, (created in December 2011 the company has grown to over 800 employees, providing IT and operational services to the business units of Sun Life Financial in North America and Asia), to Rituparna Chakraborty, (Ritu) the Co-Founder & Executive Vice President of TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd. (Established in 2002 TeamLease is now one of India’s leading providers of human resource services and foremost people supply chain company with eight regional offices and over 1200 full time employees), to Mahasweta Banerjee, Managing Director of Blue Sky Educational Services Pvt. Ltd, (one of the top career counselling institutions in Kolkata) -- all agree that career failures are part of life and should not be stumbling blocks in one’s professional life.
Rajeev Bhardwaj, is an old hand in the field and has spent 25 years contributing to the HR policies of diverse organizations across sectors. Over the years, Rajeev has been associated with a slew of global organizations such as ABB, Coca Cola, and Intel Technology, among others. Ritu is an industry veteran with 17 years of experience. She has played a significant role in transforming TeamLease, India’s largest and foremost people supply chain company, into an over Rs 3000 crore company, and has been selected as the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Asia for 2016 in Melbourne. With 15 years of experience in the field of education, Mahasweta Banerjee is the founder director of Blue Sky Educational Services Pvt. Ltd – dealing with communicative English, personality development, interview skills, IELTS and teachers’ training.
Here are six career failings that these industry veterans say you should forgive yourself for-
- Taking time to realize your true calling
“If you spent several years trying to make a career for yourself in a particular field only to realize that your true calling lay elsewhere, you are not alone. There are many people who take time to understand what they are really passionate about. People around you might belittle you for your “wasted” years, but you must not fret over it. It will be fine as long as you succeed in finding a work that you truly enjoy. It doesn’t matter if you arrived there a few years later than your peers,” – says Rajeev who has spent five years helming the HR teams in LexisNexis India, a leading global provider of business solutions in the IPR and legal space, before joining SunLife Asia Service Centre.
Being married to a traditional Bengali family at a very early age Mahasweta couldn’t get the opportunity to focus on her career in the beginning. However, the quest for a job was always there in her and one day she did get a job at B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre, but she couldn’t bear the sights of the depressed patients and their families over there and quit in no time. She tried her hands at professions in airlines, media and teaching before she found her true calling as a counsellor which has now established her as one of the most sought after career counsellor of the city.
- Doing it myself
“For the longest time during the initial days of my career I believed that doing everything by myself is the best way to get things done and on time. Little did it occur to me that such acts of valour and idealism not only comes in the way of my own growth, it also makes scalability a challenge for the employer. While doing it yourself has the highest probability of success it also has the highest probability of failure as it makes a job person-dependent instead of creating an organisational capability of getting it done. If this sounds familiar, fret not, rather take a cue now and stop being a unicorn, team work is more fun and productive” says Ritu who is currently spearheading TeamLease’s Staffing business vertical as well as India’s first PPP Apprenticeship Programme – National Employability through Apprenticeship Programme (NETAP) and has nurtured growth across Employment and Employability aspects of the business.
- Not being good enough at the beginning of your career
According to Rajeev, unlike in other countries where kids in schools and colleges also spend time working and gaining work experiences, in India most people join work only after completing college. If you found yourself facing flak too often or struggling to meet your targets, do not be too self critical. Yes, you might have done things differently that would have made your initial years more successful as a professional! But, this doesn’t warrant self-criticism. You need to learn to forgive yourself.
Mahasweta’s duties at home, her son’s education, and husband’s musical profession, left her with little scope to go for a full fledged career. But with time and focus she did initiate her career and is now an entrepreneur. “Be focused in your intent, and with time you will emerge successful. The initial hiccups should not weigh you down.”
- Being less tactful and too open
“Another trait of professionally inexperienced people is that they might be too open and candid with their colleagues and seniors without realizing that this might have negative repercussions. Being too open or direct to a senior (even if the latter seems to be seeking a candid opinion) might not be too appreciated. However, tact in dealing with people is something most of us develop over a period of time. And it is fine to make a few mistakes that will teach you the importance of striking the right balance between diplomacy and assertiveness,” – enumerates Rajeev.
- Career at the expense of Health
‘Long hours’ at work was Ritu’s way of signalling her, that her commitment towards her career is unquestionable. But later she realised, that while one might choose career above many other priorities, can’t be above health. “In my belief - ‘all is fair in my pursuit towards excellence in my career’ - I let my health slip, till it became a career show stopper,” shares Ritu, who represented the Employers of India in the last held ILO Convention on Private Employment Agencies in Geneva in her capacity as Employer representative from India. “I am not alone in this as the zeal to excel compels many to ignore health especially in the beginning of one’s career. A little working hard is fine but don’t overdo things because health is our primary wealth,” adds Rituparna, the first Indian to be featured in Global Power 100 & International 50 in Staffing Industry for 2015 and 2016 consecutively.
- Burning out very soon
This is a mistake a lot of people make. Rajeev says, “In their ambition to quickly climb the ladder of success, they end up filling their plate with too much. However, often they are not able to do justice to it and start burning out early in their professional lives. In the end, how much you work doesn’t matter as how well you do it. Yet, if you have already made that mistake, learn to adopt a right balance between your ambition and ability to lap up more, but don’t be too harsh on yourself for letting yourself burn out early.”