Since I haven't blogged in quite a while, and by blogging I mean writing some serious stuff instead of just updating my blog with pictures of food :D I thought I'll write a series of posts giving advice to the youth of Mizoram about the Corporate world.
I don't know whether you'll find these posts helpful or not, but having seen a lot of Mizos crash and burn and head back to Mizoram, some of these pointers might prevent you from committing the same mistakes they did.
This series is especially for the freshers in Mizoram, including those who have recently moved outside the state for higher studies or better job opportunities. During my short vacation back home, I met a lot of really bright students who were much more ambitious and self-aware than my generation was, itching to take a bite off the Corporate pie. Unfortunately, they lack in industry exposure, and so I hope this post will help.
I'm not going to pen down some of the general advices and common gyaan about Corporate life here in India, because in this series I want to focus on just our Mizo mentality so that this article is as relevant as possible to the youth of Mizoram.
First of all, what is a Corporate office? Technically, it is the Headquarter of a large Corporation, but these days, we just refer to any large business office that is "corporat'ish" in nature as a Corporate office, you know, those large professional-looking, centralized-AC, private offices with cubicles and multi-layered boss hierarchy where people working behind large computer screens wear suits or at least formals while carrying ID badges and signing-in via biometric machines and stuff.
The right Mizo term for this would be, "Company a thawk" :)
Keeping nomenclature aside, the work environment in such a Corporate office is very different from, let's say, working in a Government office in Mizoram.
Now I am not belittling the Government and Public sector in anyway or saying that working for a private firm is more valuable. Every job is as important as the other as long as we work diligently and devoutly. But from what I have observed so far, people working in Govt offices and Public sectors tend to be a bit more lackadaisical and carefree in their approach, and this is where I want to warn the youth of Mizoram because I have seen a lot of Mizos come down here and commit the same mistakes and go back home with their heads down.
First and foremost, dear tlangval and nula of Mizoram, keep that mentality of "seniority" locked away in a trunk and throw away the keys. Unlike in Mizoram where promotions and pay scales are based on "seniority" in most of the sectors like government offices and even medical and education sectors, that is not how things work in the private sector.
In the Corporate world, your promotion and pay grade are based on a lot of factors like your performance evaluation, skill set, team work, communication ability, managerial skills, etc etc. "Seniority" plays a very small factor (Yes, "experience" plays an important role but there is a tiny difference between seniority and experience).
And these are the fields where you'll need to focus on if you want to survive in the Corporate world.
Starting from the very beginning of the day - always be in time for work. If you're working in a BPO or for those companies that provide customer support or sales, you probably won't have an option of going late because you have a company cab picking you up every day at a specific time. But when your company does not have that facility, then it is your responsibility to reach office in time. Believe me, your tardiness will be noticed, if not by your colleagues or reporting manager, then by the HR team.
And you may not even get a warning from the management for reaching late. This is where you must grow up and realize you're not in school or college anymore. Your manager is not your principal, he/she may not reprimand you for regularly coming in late. I have seen my own fellow Mizos taking advantage of this and they started going late to work on a daily basis. And then suddenly one fine day, they received their termination letters and that was it. Bye bye. Time to book their tickets back to Mizoram.
Don't ever make that mistake. Be dedicated to your work.
Also, in Mizoram, once you've land yourself a good government posting, you are set for life. It is almost impossible to get fired once you're in the system, unless you do something extremely bad, like turning up for work drunk every day or having a large scale corruption case, and in such situations too, you'd probably only get transferred and not terminated. In the Corporate world, there's a possibility that you'd still get fired even if you met your target.
You have to continuously walk the extra mile if you want to keep your job. As Secretary Elizabeth McCord tried to make Blake handle new responsibilities in "Madam Secretary" (season 4, episode 21), she quipped, "Either move up, or move out". That's what the Corporate world is all about, you are expected to grow and contribute more to the growth of the organization.
And in most occasions, you will have to take such initiatives on your own. Nobody is going to spoon-feed you what to do. The more you try to take on new responsibilities on your own, the greater you'll become an asset to your organization.
Just give it your all. Coming back to the point about reaching office in time, don't just be one of the firsts to arrive, try to be one of the lasts to leave too :)
I know the above point I just made is debatable, because you must have heard a lot of wise words and speeches about not being stuck to your workstation and that you should also take time off to appreciate the finer things in life like your family and friends.
Maintain a healthy Work-Life balance. But of course things are not always in black & white, and balancing work and life is much tougher than you can imagine…
By the way, when I spoke about spending long hours in the office, I am not talking about just sitting on your ass there until you have clocked out. Of course you will have to complete your designated tasks (that is a no brainer), but don't just work hard, you must work smart. And that is a topic I will cover in another post, because for now, there is an important topic I really want to address, and that is about our Mizo ATTITUDE.
The most frequent complains I have heard from my fellow Mizos working in the Corporate sector is this – "My boss is an asshole".
Yes, bosses can be assholes sometimes. But from all the complains I have heard so far, there had been many times when I realized there is something wrong with the attitude of my friend rather than his/her boss.
As a Mizo brought up in Mizoram, you may harness a few attitude problems against non-Mizos. You gotta shelf such attitudes here. If you can't stand being reprimanded by your boss just because he or she is a "Vai", then I'm sorry to say the Corporate world isn't for you. This simply means that you are not emotionally strong and mature enough to take on the tough Corporate world. Believe me, it is a dog eat dog world out here, you will not survive with such an attitude. Change that.
I have been working in the Corporate sector from more than 10 years now, and never have I had an asshole boss even once. Yes, there may be times when I felt my boss was a bit incompetent, but an asshole? Nope. The thing about the Corporate world is, even if you get shit on from your boss, remember that he/she is also getting shit on from his/her boss. The domino effect. Most of the stereotype bad bosses you'll see are in TV shows, which we find hilarious. But in the real world that is very unlikely to happen.
If you truly have a bad boss and nothing can be done about it, then just move out of the organization. There are plenty of other offers around in this booming economy. And with that, I want to cover the last point for this particular post - Moving out of your comfort zone.
I don't think I am wrong to state that most of us Mizos hesitate to move out of a surrounding we have grown accustomed to. I have so many Mizo friends working in various BPOs who continuously complain about their current work, but take no further attempt to look for a new job since they've been working for a long time there. Just get out of your comfort zone, man :)
I'm not saying I am an ideal example, but I not only jumped to a different company, but I moved to a different industry altogether! After years of experience in the Advertising industry, I suddenly moved to the Gaming industry with a completely different job profile! Yeah, it's possible to do that, and many people do that all the time.
So with that, I hope some of you will find this blog post helpful, and I'll try writing another part to this later if the response is good. And I sincerely hope people take this in a positive way and not try to spin my words like, "private company a thawklo ho chu min van hmusit ve" because I know many people are capable of spitting out such venom :) Feel free to ask me any queries you may have. Until then, cheers.