Embarking on a transformation Journey named PGPX : Full time 1 Year MBA at IIM Ahmedabad

The choices you make will define who you become– Shikha Sharma, Axis Bank CEO

The word “transformation” means : “a marked change in form, nature or appearance”. More than the definition, two words listed as antonyms (sameness, stagnation) give us insight into why organizations, countries or Individuals embark on any transformation journey. We do not want sameness or stagnation and we seek change outside and within. I too decided to embark on such transformation journey named PGPX – residential full time 1 year MBA program at IIM Ahmedabad . Its been few weeks and I want to share my experience so far:

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Inauguration of 12th batch of PGPX

Most difficult part is making the decision to disrupt the status quo

After working for 12 years, I decided to go back to school. This decision was the hardest decision of my life as by this time I also had the responsibility of 2 children and a home. I was overborne with guilt of leaving children behind. I was also scared of living alone without family after a long time. My mind was full of apprehensions and dilemmas whether it was a right decision to disrupt not only my professional and personal life but also life of my children and spouse. It was indeed a hard and brave decision to make as often expressed by others to me. This is the phase where many women instead decide to drop their plan or ambition as they fear the disruption such drastic change will cause in their lives. If you are contemplating this decision, my advice to you would be to go for it. Once you are past this difficult decision making phase and have made up your mind, it becomes easier. It is entirely doable and worth the sacrifices you would make.

Change is completely disruptive (even more if you stay alone without family)

You suddenly arrive in a new city and start living in a totally new environment- a new city, a college campus, a hostel room. You eat in cafeteria and go to a class instead of office. How amazingly different life can become overnight hits you and there is initial resistance but within few days you start settling in and in few weeks start loving it. Just hang in there and go with the flow.

Rigor, fast pace and intensity of program is effective and actually helpful

No time to settle in or take it slow. It is overwhelming in the beginning but gets you to speed pretty quickly and is actually very helpful in dealing with emotions and the drastic change. When I took decision to join the program and in months before start of program, even the thought of staying without my children was enough to make me teary eyed and guilt ridden. It was in-fact not as tough as I imagined and post initial settling period hiccups, the rigor and fast pace of program left no time to miss home. Intellectual engagement in class and group studies and tight schedule of program immerses you completely into it and keeps you focused on tasks at hand which are plenty at any point of time.

Always remind yourself why you are here.

This is specially relevant to women such as me who chose to not bring family to campus. There are emotional moments of living away from family such as when you video-chat with family and you see your children or when they tell you that they miss you or when you miss seeing them, hugging them or being with them. In such vulnerable moments, it is helpful to remind yourself the purpose of coming here. Keeping the focus on the purpose of staying away from family will make your resolve stronger and will give you strength in dealing with your emotions. It is a hard choice but there must be some good reason why you still made that choice. It would be good to also acknowledge that this is a temporary stay and having made sacrifice of staying away from your family, you must make most of every second of it.

Only you exist.

If you are a woman and a mother, When was last time you could only do what you wanted to do even for 24 hours. When was last time your thoughts about work or self were not interrupted by thoughts about issues waiting at home – children’s home- work, classes or other responsibilities at home. When was last time you just lived life as you, the person. May be before marriage and kids. It is almost like a time travel. After so many years of living a multiple role life, you suddenly reclaim your earlier life without any additional responsibilities of being a wife and mother. You do miss your family but at the same time, you can’t help to not notice how free you are to focus on only you and your needs. Its like on those overwhelming moments of conflicting demands of work, children and home, you wished running off somewhere and staying alone for sometime and that wish has come true. Live it fully before it gets over.

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Honored to inaugurate the program along with IIM A Director and Program Chair.

It is a modern day “tapasya”

During the inauguration of program, PGPX chair Prof Sunil Sharma gave an excellent analogy of PGPX to a tapasya. Earlier, sages used to go to forest to do tapasya for some time to gain deeper knowledge, or to find purpose of life . I feel like doing a tapasya. I have left everything behind – my home, spouse, children and my life to come to this place and do one thing for a year – to learn as much as I can. To learn from anyone I can. To learn anytime I can. The greatest opportunity cost while we are here would be to let our focus deviate to anything other than learning.

Learning is the key

I can feel the excitement a child feels when he opens a new gift and likes what he sees. He cant wait to play with it. Its only been few weeks and I am loving the experience so far. When and where am I going to get all time to myself, to think, to introspect and to reflect upon my past and future. I am already starting to feel that this is going to get over very quickly. I look forward to each new day, each new class, each new assignment, each new interaction with professors or peer because in each one of them lies the opportunity of learning and transforming myself.

Note: PGPX office is inviting applications for Year 2018-19 batch. Click here for details.

How to restart your career after long career break ?

back-to-work-copyOne of the common advice I am asked as a mentor  is ” How do I resume working full-time after a long career break”?  I think in today’s fast changing times, the need to keep reinventing your skill-sets to stay employable is very relevant and important. This is applicable even more to working women who take a break from working full time. While it might not be possible to plan the duration of break always but if you can have a tentative timeline for your break and a comeback plan as well, going back to work would be easier. If you plan to resume working full time, you must keep working to build your profile even when you are technically on break or not working full time. There are two parts of restarting career post break.

PART 1 – Things to do while you are on break

Assess if you can work part-time or for few hours while you are on break

This is the best way to maintain continuity in your career and at the same time also take care of responsibilities at home. Many companies offer part-time working option for a limited duration. Explore these in your current workplace and while you are making you r break plan make a comeback plan as well. Even if you do not pursue a formal part time working, you can always look for freelancing projects or project based work which allows you to keep in touch with your industry, job function or specialization. Check platforms such as one offered by TATA group tatasecondcareer

Keep working on keeping your skill sets relevant

Irrespective of whether you are taking a break or not, you must work on reinventing and refreshing your professional persona periodically. You need to keep infusing fresh blood and thoughts into your professional persona. World is dynamic and the pace of changes whether on political or technological fronts is increasing day by day. You need to keep refreshing your skill-sets and perspectives. There are so many online education mediums available(for example coursera) to keep learning and adding skill-sets.

Keep up to date on Industry trends and how the wind is blowing

Read about latest news, trends and developments in your Industry/function. Attend seminars and workshops if available. You need to allocate time and do this systematically. The rate at which technology and business disruptions are happening currently and making technology skillsets and employees obsolete, one needs to be in tune with the changes and adapt to the them to remain employable.

Keep networking 

Lateral job fulfillment happens mostly through referrals and your former colleagues and larger network plays a big role in this. Networking is an art and this can not be done in one day. Network relationships need to be nurtured over a period to be used when you need them. Even though you are on break, keep in touch with your network in companies where you worked before. Attend college reunions or any meeting where you might be able to network.

PART 2 – Things to consider when you are ready to make a comeback

Be flexible in your job search

When you are looking at restarting your career, you need to be flexible. A long break in career is not seen favorably by recruiters and you would face the hurdle of rejections initially. You need to understand the job market, its requirements and act accordingly. You can utilize service of professional recruiters and resume writers to help you in your job search. You can also target the companies or platforms (such as sheroes) which focus on helping women restart career post long break.

Consider the option of higher studies – PG/MBA/PHD 

Good way to gain knowledge, credentials and add value to your profile is to go for higher studies from a reputed institute and re-enter the workforce from there. This route may also be specially useful if one wants to switch career tracks. There are many 1 year MBA programs for experienced professionals  in India. (such as PGPX by IIMA)

Remember, no comebacks are easy and you might face difficulties in the beginning but it is important to have a solid resolve and not give up.Whatever path you may take to restart the career, it is possible to do, provided you are ready to persevere, you are confident in your abilities and ready to make adjustments.

Here are few online platforms and companies which run focused programs in helping women  restart their careers. All the best!

Platforms  : Sheroes,  Women restart , Jobs for Her

Companies : TATA group –  Tatasecondcareer,  GE – Restart program , IBM – Bring her back  GENPACT – Career 2.0,  HUL – Career by choice,  Intel – Home to Office, SAP – Stay in touch, Axis Bank – Reconnect, Philips – Back in Game(B.I.G),  AV Birla Retail – ENCORE, Capgemini – Career Comeback, Intuit – Intuit again, Goldmansachs- Returnship,  L&T – Renew, Target – Back on Target

You are a leader in making. Act like one.

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Sometimes, it’s “what you don’t say” counts more than what you say. Perception is as important as reality, if not more. When it comes to branding, perception decides the brand value. Personal branding is important to build to reach corner offices and boardrooms. It is true for everyone and more for women because women have to overcome a subtle gender bias against their capability and potential to reach the top and lead an organization. You don’t have to be the smartest and most knowledgeable to be perceived as a leader. You have to be perceived to be smarter than others. All leaders are judged by their body language. Importance of nonverbal communication is depicted in graph below, a result of research by Dr.Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA.

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Following are some recommended body language do’s which women should exhibit to be perceived as powerful and a confident leader.

  1. Work on your voice and watch you voice tone:

As per this study : people who put out the right kind of sounds—below the range of conscious human hearing—become the leaders of most groups. The process of picking a leader has more to do with having the right kind of voice than it does having the right ideas or the right physique. You can work on your voice, and produce a leadership-quality sound.

2. Establish and maintain an eye contact

Eye contact conveys trustworthiness. People who meet your gaze seem sincere and trustworthy, while those who don’t seem either dishonest or lacking in confidence. However, too much eye contact can be uncomfortable  Studies suggest the proper amount of eye contact in the U.S. and many other countries should be between 50% and 60 % of the conversation, mostly when listening.

3. Use appropriate hand gestures

Hand gesture can complement the words you are speaking. Try Steepling which is a body posture when someone brings their hands up towards their chest or face and presses the tips of their fingers together. This is a gesture of confidence, self-assuredness and even superiority.

4. Use power poses 

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Take your space. Women tend to minimize the space they occupy through pulling in their bodies and minimizing their space. An outstretched, open posture projects an image of power and confidence. Research at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools shows that simply holding your body in “high-power” poses (leaning back with hands behind the head and feet up on a desk, or standing with legs and arms stretched wide open) for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone—the hormone linked to power and dominance—and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.too. Power poses are great way to boost your confidence and portray leadership potential.

4. Firm handshake

People with weak handshake are judged to be passive and less confident. Face the other person squarely and make sure you have palm to palm contact. Shake the hand firmly and for at least few seconds.

5. Remaining calm and composed

Women have a tendency to go overboard on expressing themselves and their emotions. Expressing too much can overwhelm your audience. Be watchful of your expressions and hand movements to appear in control and mature. Calmness and composure are often associated with leadership and authority.

6.  Be business like

Maintain a distance literally and figuratively. Smile but do not smile excessively. Do not flirt. There shouldn’t be any ambiguity about your intentions. Control perceived girlish behaviours such as twirling your hair, playing with jewellery such as rings or biting your nails. These things also convey sign of nervousness and lack of confidence.

7. Speak more in negotiations

Research has confirmed that in negotiations men talk more frequently than women and interrupt frequently. Do not keep waiting for your turn to speak because you might not have it if you leave to others to let you speak. There is a famous quote by former secretary of state of US, who when asked what advice she had for women professionals, replied, ” Learn to interrupt”.

Good news is that body language behavior can be learned and internalized with practice. Communication skills are key to be an effective leader and one can not rely on only instinctive behavior when it comes to nonverbal communication. In order to be successful leader, one has to be aware of signals sent by non verbal cues and choose appropriate body language to convey more power, confidence, and leadership potential.

Reference : http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2013/11/body-language-alphas-nonverbal-secrets-leader/

 

Women Empowerment lessons from movie Dangal

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“Maari chhoriyan  chhoron se kam hai ke”

Translated in english it means – ” Are my girls any less than boys?

What a line. If one line can transform lives, then it has to be this line which summarizes the core of this inspiring story. It is this belief of Mahavir Singh Phogat, the erstwhile wrestler that changes the destiny of phogat daughters and of future generations of women wrestlers. This is such a powerful line and shows through movie the potential of outcomes when girls are believed to be equal to boys. The movie Dangal which is a biopic on women wrestling champions -Geeta and Babita Phogat is special because it depicts an inspiring journey of a father and his girls who dare to dream and make that dream come true even when all adds were stacked up against them.

Odd # 1 Family lives in  socially regressive Haryana infamous for skewed sex ratio, female feticide and khaps.

Odd # 2 Lower middle class family with limited resources and more vulnerable to societal pressure. ” What people will say” matters in that world.

Odd # 3 Choosing a uncoventional career which is unfavorable to women – wrestling. Traditionally wrestling has been a male domain and when you imagine a wrestler, you imagine a man. It was akin to imagining the unimaginable, doing the undoable.

Geeta won gold at commonwealth games and has been the first woman wrestler from India to qualify in Olympics. The legendary story of Mahavir Phogat making wrestling champions out of his daughters is told through a high-profile motion picture – Dangal and has also many lessons for women empowerment. Let’s take a look at them:

Lesson # 1  Children’s(specially girls) destiny lies in hands of parents to a larger extent.

While it is true everywhere and for all children, this is particularly true for Girls in India specially in small towns, in regressive societies and lower socioeconomic families. The eureka moment was when the father realises that his daughters have potential and the gender doesn’t matter in fulfilling his dream of making his child an international wrestling champion. What matters is that parents believe in gender equality and provide girls equal opportunities and choices. It was a girl who was being married off at young age and was unhappy about it makes young Geeta and Babita see that how lucky they are to have a father like Mahavir who has not thrown them into life of early marriage/domesticity and is giving them a shot at life same as any son would have got. Indeed if it was not for a social barriers breaking father like Mahavir Singh Phogat, Geeta and Babita’s destinies would have been same as other girls of their age, place and time. There would have been neither the inspiring story nor the movie to write about.

Lesson# 2 Social Barriers, Stereotypes and glass ceilings have to be broken once and they remain broken for all.

While the movie mainly covered the journey of Geeta’s making into a wrestling champion and it mirrors the life of similar other women wrestlers. Why Geeta’s story is significant because it was she and with her Mahavir Phogat who breaks first time the social barriers  and gender stereotypes.  On every step of the journey , a stereotype or social barrier was broken and prevailing rulebook was challenged :

  • Girls starting physical training to be wrestler.
  • Girls shunning traditional wear for boys clothes – shorts and Tee
  • Girls cutting the long hair for boy cut. Even mother cried here.
  • Cooking non vegetarian food in a vegetarian household. Mother too resisted this.
  • Wrestling with boys in dangal.
  • Mocked by school friends, neighbors, sports officials and who not.

When Babita or other girls would have gone through same path, it must have been somewhat easier for them as the glass ceiling was already broken and rule book already changed. It was now under imagination that a girl can also be a wrestler. That’s why it is so important for any glass ceilings/ barriers/stereotypes to be broken first time as it paves the way for others who would walk the same path. Somebody has to break the social barriers and barriers remain broken for all. It not only serves the person breaking it but indirectly empowers all who come after them and that’s why their stories are celebrated and lauded.

Lesson # 3  Conviction. Focus on goals. Self Belief. Hard work. Sacrifices & trade-offs.

Evergreen recipe for success. Father’s conviction in his own dreams and in turning that dream into reality led to convictions of all around him, mother and daughters themselves. There were also sacrifices made. The phogat girls didn’t have normal childhood or any other regular pleasures of children of their age in pursuit of a larger goal in life.

Lesson # 4 Success changes everyone’s negative attitude into positive

The same society which was mocking the phogat family starts respecting them and welcomes the champion Geeta like a hero and she becomes pride of her village. Even though society and others will discourage girls from pursuing their dreams or any unconventional career but if you achieve success, fame and money, the same people will not only accept you but also respect you. Success changes people’s perspectives and persepctives matter.

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Real Mahavir Singh Phogat with his girls and medals. Source: Rediff.com

Night before the final bout of commonwealth games, father tells Geeta that this fight is not only with opponent but with the ” mindset” that girls are not equal to boys and this mindset is root cause for gender inequality, denying girls opportunities to life, career and choices. Cheers to Geeta who proved his father’s belief in her right but she couldn’t have done if it had not been for his father, the real hero of this story, Mahavir Singh Phogat- a brave man, an inspiring father and a social barriers shattering figure not only for his daughters but for all young girls and their parents in this country. Salute to him for believing that “maari chhoriyan chhoro se kam hain ke”.

Are we falling into “Gender Trap” when raising children ? PART II

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Source: Quoteaddicts.com

Read more about importance of raising children in gender neutral way in my PART I of this blog series. Here are few more questions we must be asking ourselves as parents to make sure that we are not falling into gender traps in raising our children.

Are we encouraging gender stereotypical behaviours in our children. Girls – feminine. Boys – Masculine?

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Source: Pinterest

Look at the list here. Are we consciously or unconsciously encouraging behaviours which reinforce gender stereotypes? Do we tell girls to speak softly, be gentle, not to interrupt and wait more for their chance to speak at cost of becoming passive, submissive and fragile.Are we encouraging boys to become manly right from childhood by telling things such as ” boys don’t cry, don’t be weak and encouraging rough and tough behaviour? Have you ever dismissed an inappropriate behaviour of your son by thinking ” boys will be boys”?

Are we setting girls on unending pursuit of beauty and perfection ?

Are we focusing on appearance of our girls and talent of boys?  Does appreciation for our girls focus around them being pretty and beautiful. Do we often tell our boys that they are smart and intelligent? Media messaging is already doing so by tagging beauty and pretty with advertisements targeted at girls. Look at the magazine cover below. As per the magazine, girls life and efforts should be around dream hair, fashion and waking up pretty rather than exploring future and careers as in Boys life cover.

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Source: Huffingtonpost.com

A graphic artist designed her own cover based on the message she thought Girls’ Life should convey as below. Why should a girl’s only worries be about her looks, makeup and fashion.

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Source:Cateherineyoungcreative.com

Are we promoting different set of rules for girls and boys ?

Do we believe that working or pursuing careers post education is optional for girls and mandatory for boys? This is a key one here, doing as above is one reason for the leadership pipeline leakage of women in corporate and why women voluntarily drop out of organised workforce. There has to be one set of rules. Optional or mandatory whatever you tell them has to apply to both genders. I can not stress the importance of teaching your children especially daughters the significance of being financially independent and carving out an identity for themselves outside of roles of a daughter, wife and mother.

Are we promoting gender specific subjects and careers ?

Are we promoting subjects tagged to genders through misconceptions such as Maths – Boys and Languages – Girls. Most of the time these are prophecies which prove themselves true for simple reason that you are going to do well in anything you believe you can do well and put in the required hard work to master a subject. Are we encouraging indirectly  stereotypical career streams such as Teaching /Medical or Fashion/Design for girls and Engineering/Science/Robotics for boys.

Are we teaching our kids gender equality values in sharing household chores? 

Are we asking our girls to help in kitchen and household chores but not the boys ? This one is also very important. If we need to increase participation of man in sharing household chores in future, we need to expose children to gender equality in kitchen early on. As per a research, on an average, an indian man spends only 19 min on household chores compared to  104 minutes a man in Denmark spends on doing household chores. Indian men have a lot to catch up.

If anytime as a parent, you have a yes as answer to any or many of questions raised above, it is time for you to think deeply, reflect on serious repercussion of your choices as parents will have on future of your children and on what person they are to become in future. You need to quoterealize the subtle and subconscious gender stereotype traps you are falling into. You need to work to break free from gender stereotype shackles set in place by society since mankind evolved.

The best way to make a gender equal world is to raise children in gender equal way. If children would grow up to be adults who understand and believe in gender equality, that is the only way real and sustainable way to make a world which is fair to half of its population.

Recommended Read: google-tell-me-is-my-son-a-genius on nytimes

Are we falling into “Gender Trap” when raising children ? PART I

It is important for parents to evaluate periodically if they are raising their children in most gender neutral way? We should be mindful of not falling into the gender traps set by society since ages. W137039-quotes-about-raising-childrene don’t even realise that as parents we are allowing or sometimes even promoting behavior which is sowing seeds of gender inequality in young impressionable minds of our children. World is gendering little children and as a parent it is our responsibility to protect our children from getting stereotyped. Here are some key pertinent questions which would tell us if we are raising our children in gender neutral way.

Are we drowning our girls in ocean of pink ?

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. This one has gone too far. There is also a gender discrimination here as you do witness newborn boy babies getting gifts or apparel in blue color and newborn girls in pink but as they grow blue goes away and all colors except pink or peach come in for boys but girls are drowned in pink  for another 7-8 years. At Least it would have been fairer to girls if blue had stuck to boys the way pink stuck to girls but that’s not the reality. I have a 3-year-old daughter and without my ever picking up pink stuff for her or promoting pink as a color , pink is her favorite color. Everything she wants is in only one color and that’s pink. I do not know how to “de-pink” her and bring to her attention the diversity and beauty of all other colors. There is nothing wrong with pink color but then there is nothing special also about pink color which other colors don’t have. Just because she is a  girl, a child’s color palette should not be limited to pink or purple.

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Source: Pinterest

Are we choosing extracurricular activities classes for our children through invisible gender tinted glasses? Dance for girls and sports for boys – sounds familiar?

Activities beyond studies are very important as these activities not only shape a child’s personality but also shape his or her point of views and opinions. For children between age 3-8, when there isn’t any preference or particular interest of child, parents choose the activities which sometimes mirror their own interests and sometimes mirror gender stereotypical norms. In Dance classes, you would find more girls than boys and in sports classes, more boys than girls. I would recommend to expose your child to both and then let the child choose. Here also, many girls are kept away from sports & related activities only because  these have been categorised as boys stuff. Imagine what would have happened if Saina Nehwal or PV Sindhu would have not been introduced to badminton. A Sport not only teaches you a skill but also the lessons in teamwork and grit. Sports shape your personality. Let’s not keep our girls away from the amazing world of sports.

Are we choosing gender neutral toys for our children or as gifts for other children?

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Source: http://assets.change.org/

Why do we buy LEGO or Thomas & Friends engines for boys but not girls? Why does a girl get to play only with Barbie doll, read princess stories and watch movies such as Frozen. In my daughter’s second birthday, barring few, most of the gifts were either kitchens sets/house plays or Barbie related toys. Why don’t we gift girls Lego sets, cars or engines ? By not doing so, we deny them the exposure to another world itself and thus keep them away from developing multi dimensional interests and personality. Girls like Barbie because that’s what they get to play with- at home, in friend’s house or at birthday parties. Toys Industry is promoting gender stereotyping which contributes to gender inequality in a way. Visit any aisle of girls section in a toy store and you would find plenty of Kitchen sets, house sets, makeup kits, hair dryer kits and scores of barbie and her friends as if the world is getting young girls ready for their future jobs in kitchen and house. This one has serious repercussion in promoting gender inequality in household chores when these children grow up and are playing with real house and kitchen sets. Read my blog on gender inequality in sharing household chores  here.

Read further on gender traps when raising children in concluding PART II of this blog series.

How to make successful career transitions ? PART II

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This is PART II of two blog series on career transition. You can read about why people want to change career tracks in PART I of this series. You have one life and if you are not happy in your current role or have clear preference or another career, it is worth to try for a career switch.

” In the end we only regret the chances we did not take” – Lewis Carroll

Here are some “dos” as when you are have decided to change your career and are preparing and planning to make the transition.

Research . Get to hear from people in your desired shoes.

Talk to people in your target profile. Learn about their experiences in their career. Ask specifically about challenges they have faced and what they don’t like in their job or what they would like to change. Research current profiles and their core competencies in your target roles on LinkedIn.

Try to gain a first hand experience of your target function

If it is consulting that your heart is after, try to do one project or at least be part of it if not in active role. There is nothing like experiencing it yourself and you must try for it if possible. Most likely the first brush with the job should have generated your interest towards it but if you are planning to switch job functions based on popular perceptions about it, please make sure to test the waters first.

Look for lateral transitions in your current company

This is the safest route. For example if somebody want to move from profit & Loss core function to a support function such as marketing or Human Resources, it would be good to try to do that within your existing organization, if possible.  The risk is low and you won’t be new to everything. Industry and company remains same. Your existing network and past performance can also help you in transitioning to new role.

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Make the transition multi step , one at a time

Any job would have at least 3 components.  Try to change one thing at a time. Carry forward some common skill sets and experience which would be relevant to new role.

  1. Your Job function – Revenue generating or Non revenue generating support function. Example Marketing department.
  2. Your core competency/capability or specialization. Example in Marketing , your specialization could be digital marketing.
  3. Your Industry – The industry your company belongs to. Example IT industry.

Here if you try to change all 3 parts in one go, transition could be difficult. Plan for a multi layered transition where you can carry forward your past work experiences.

Higher education – Post graduate Programs , MBA, MS or Doctoral programs

Professional Education is one way of bridging knowledge gaps, acquiring new networks and credentials which are helpful in opening the doors. Now there are 1 Year MBA programs designed for experienced professionals. In India , PGPX from IIM A is known for helping experienced professional in switching careers. If you want to switch to teaching a doctoral program equips you for that. Professional certifications are also helpful in bridging the knowledge gaps.

Some tips on how to make career transition successful once you are in  your desired role:

” We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castenada

  1. Don’t give up too soon. All changes are tough in the beginning. 

mm_dontgiveupInitial months in new role are going to be hard. You would need to work harder to learn ropes of your new role and establish yourself in the organization. First 6 months, be prepared to toil and give your 200 %. The first project or assignment would teach you more than any of many more your would do.  Treat the first opportunity as a test to prove and establish yourself in the new role. Aim to not only meet expectations but exceed them. Trick is to do more than expected and pleasantly surprise your stakeholders. Believe me, the extra hard work put in during initial crucial period would give you rewards in long-term. Perseverance is the key.

2. Adapt to new role, culture and people.

Don’t just focus on getting the work done. Every Industry or company has unique characteristics and a unique culture. You need to not only adapt yourself to the new role  & its responsibilities but also to the new organization and its way of life. You need to assimilate into the new company/Industry’s culture and become one with its people, processes and the way things work. Work relationships, networking and managing stakeholders expectations are critical to success in any role and you should start working on these from day 1. You get only one chance to make the right first impression. Don’t lose that chance.

3. Reflect. Realize . Reverse the decision

Not all changes are successful. If possible, keep the lines open in your last company, Industry and networks. However things might appear from outside, there is nothing like first hand experience. Give yourself at least 6 months in the new role. Keep reflecting on your experiences and evaluating if your expectations are met. If you realize, this is not what you wanted and want to go back to what you were doing, do not waste further time and try to reverse the switch as soon as possible. Be careful to realistically evaluate if the problem is not in job profile but in your ability to settle down in any role and looking for change all the time. If it is latter, you need to work on it and fix it before attempting any more switch.

Successful career transitions are all about first seeking the change and then embracing it with all your heart and might. With lot of introspection, effort and bit luck, if you are able to successfully transition to a new career, the decision to change could transform your life. Afterall, nothing is worth it, if you are not happy.