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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Individual Aspirations and Organizational Expectations

When a business organization ("Company XYZ, Inc.") hires an individual it is concerned only about its interests. The decision to hire an individual is based on need of the business and fitment of the individual to the role, title and budgeted CTC. It's a process where individuals are considered to be a business commodity which need to be purchased like any other commodity. The significance of "Me, Inc." is limited to the business context in which "Company XYZ, Inc." operates.

Going by the above elaboration, it is clear that "Company XYZ, Inc." from time to time would not need certain individuals. Right-sizing, down-sizing, organizational restructuring, lay-offs, closures, etc., is the name of the game for an organization to retain its market relevance. If an individual, a project, a product line, a location or a plant is not performing to the organization's expectations, there is a danger of it being 'shut down'.

Understanding the Me, Inc.

There's a second side to it, the organization loosing its relevance for the "Me, Inc.". If the aspirations of "Me, Inc.". are not aligned to or at direct clash with the expectations of the "Company XYZ, Inc.", an individual should analyze and decide his or career path accordingly.

For an individual, the way his or her career shapes up is the most important concern more than anything else in his or her professional life. For each month, if not week or day, spent in the organization, an individual must analyze how his or her career is progressing. Everyone should do a "Monthly Career Progress Review" against the short-term and long-term career aspirations.

When Me, Inc. Should Part Ways with Company XYZ, Inc.

It may not be advisable for an individual to cling on to an organization in the following situations:
  • The individual's competencies are either under-utilized or not utilized or his or her aspirations are not duly recognized and addressed
  • The individual's role doesn't offer the possibility for any further growth into increasingly senior positions
  • The individual's role is designed from a 'job' perspective and not a 'career' perspective
  • The individual is not in agreement with the organizational expectations from his or her role and finds it difficult to accept certain aspects of the role
  • The individual is not able to or willing to adjust with the overall working culture which makes him or her to work in a style not natural to the individual (like an organization where one is not supposed to question or challenge the persons higher up in the organizational hierarchy, or an organization where the legacy element is so strong that the very suggestion to change anything is considered to be 'revolt', or an organization where there's excessive bureaucracy in getting job title change, getting a laptop, getting administrative tasks done, etc.)
What should an individual do if his or her aspirations are not supported by the organization's expectations from "Me, Inc." as highlighted in the points above?

Putting Parting Ways into Action

Here's a suggested step-wise strategy to handle such situations:
  • Step 0 : Bring out that rusted resume, update it and float it to know one's marketability. And in fact, one should attend some interviews as well to know precisely where one stands w.r.t. one's market value.
  • Step 1 : Give oneself a specified time for correcting the situation in one's current organization. This requires making 'right noise' about one's aspirations. One must be careful but this needs to be done if one wants to determine whether he or she has any 'future' with the organization one is working with. Having a mature and understanding boss is crucial for this to be even attempted. Otherwise, this is akin to committing professional suicide.
  • Step 2: If Step 1 fails, one must be ready to move out. This is the time when Step 0 would come to one's rescue. One shouldn't wait beyond the specified time and must exit as fast as possible.
The above strategy is similar to "Me, Inc." shutting down the "Company, Inc.", figuratively speaking. Again, one must ensure that before joining an organization, one has researched about the organization thoroughly. Frequent job change is not good for an individual, organizations, the economy and the society as a whole. And in fact, it impacts individuals more than anyone else. After all, individuals have lesser resources and lesser power than organizations.

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