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19 October 2007

Raj is a happy man!!!

The recently concluded India - Australia series has made Raj very happy. Both the outcomes that he had hoped for have been achieved.

In one of my previos posts I had mentioned about the hopes of millions like Raj regarding the outcome of the series. He had wanted India to lose the series and Sachin , Sourav and Dravid to perform well. 'Once and for all demolish the nonsense of the 'young Indian Team' ' as he told me. Well India has lost the series and Sachin and Sourav has demonstrated their calibre. Sachin is the highest scorer in the series from India's side and Sourav and he put up another century opening partnership. Only Dravid failed, but he is too good to fail for long.....

No wonder Raj is happy.

18 October 2007

'Can't Do' V/s 'Can Learn'

From time immemorial, the experts have tried to classify people into different groups. There are the whites and the blacks and all shades of gray in between, there are Indians, Chinese, English and the rest, there are Europeans and non Europeans, there are pliant and aggressive people.....

The list goes on.

In my opinion, there are only two types of people in the world. They are the 'Can't Do' people and the 'Can Learn' people.

For instance, suppose I pose the same questions to two groups of people.

Can you do this job?

Both the groups begin their answer with 'I haven't worked on it...'. The 'cant do' type will say, "I haven't worked on this, I have only worked on this, this and this, I don't have the experience in doing this job and so I can't do it'. They assume that once they say yes, they are committing to this and people will later on come back and say, 'look, you told us that you can do this, but you are not able to. That means you were lying to us in the interview'. These people feel that you can apply for a job only if you know the nuts and bolts (and the bearings and the lubrication and the electrical circuitry..) of the job.

The 'cant do' type is internally controlled. They do not rely on the organizational resources to meet their skill development objective. They do not want to feel obligated to the organization for the support provided to meet their 'personal' career goals. They will pay from their pocket and do a certification program rather than utilize the organizational resources which would have been available to them. They feel that they are individually responsible for the work they are called upon to do and are sceptical about the quality of help and support available within the organization.

They always try to build up on their existing skill sets and soon become experts in their area. These people collect certifications in hoardes. They are recognized in their organization for their technical expertise and is looked upon to provide guidance and solve critical technical issues. Typically they are loathe to change jobs and rarely try to learn new skill sets in line with market expectations and requirements.

On the other hand the 'can learn' type will answer the same question somewhat like this. 'I have not worked on this job specifically but I have worked on this, this and this. Even though I have not worked on this area, it is closely related to the work I have done so far and it is easy for me to pick up this skills in a very short span of time. In addition to the technical skills associated with the job, over my past experience, I have picked up a lot of soft skills like communication skills as well as man management skills which are common across different jobs. Only thing lacking is my knowledge in this specific area which I am confident that I can learn in a short span of time.'

Approach of this group to skill development is one of collaboration and team work. They understand the potential of the organizational resources and enthusiastically tap them to meet their career and skill development goals. They understand the power of team work and use it to their advantage. These people continuously analyse the job market and plan and prepare for any new opportunity that may be available in the market. Their updated CVs can be seen in various job portals. They try to stay one step ahead of the market at any point in time.

What is the career strategy for these groups?

If you are a 'can't do' type, you might be missing out on some of the big opportunities that the world is throwing at you. You could be wrong in your 'linear' assessmet of your carrer opportunities. The flat world and the new economy offer much more scope for using the same skill set in multiple ways. For instance, if you are a domain expert / project manager in construction industry, in addition to the linear growth in your own industry, an IT organization with focus on construction industry vertical could be one such opportunity for you. This industry is constantly on the lookout for construction industry specialists and project managers, both skills of which you have in abundance. To get into this industry, you might have to learn some IT the knowledge of which is available cheaply in the market. You will come to know of this requirement only if you are constantly in touch with the market.

Another non linear opportunity could be to work for banks that lend money to the construction companies. They are on the lookout for domain experts who can assess the risk of the project and provide effective mitigation strategies. This role can be only played by domain experts who have spend a lot of time in the construction industry.

You could also use the power of internet to brand yourself. You can use blogs, networks and even yahoo groups to project your capabilities in addition to the ubiquitous job search portals. You can read a very good article on 'e-BRANDING YOURSELF' here.

As far as the 'Can Learn' group is concerned, they have to be careful about the 'Jack of all and master of none' syndrome. They have ensure that they stay for a sufficient duration in a specific job to pick up expertise in that area. Since they normally switch careers midway, they have to have a clear long term strategy and a vision of where they want to reach in the medium term to long term and plan their career switches accordingly. Moreover, they should always be able to integrate their career choices as enablers to achieve the above objectives.

One of the complaints about these people is that they use the organizational resources to upgrade their skills and then quit the organization. In these days of reference checks and background checks, this adverse reputation could significantly impact their ability to sell their upgraded skills in the market.

P.S: What type are you? What do you feel about this article? Is this useful? I would love to hear your comments.

15 October 2007

Home coming......

Though I was born and bought up in Kerala, and did my engineering there, I have so far not considered myself to be a malayali. Having been outside Kerala post my graduation and having worked in different parts of India, I proudly display my 'cosmopolitanism' on my sleeve..(Aren't my engineering collage friends going to hate me for this?...)

I am a foodie and am equally at home in the tamilian taste of Saravana Bhawans as well as the Kannada taste of the omnipresent 'Sagar's in Bangalore. I relish the tandoor's of Punjab with the same intensity and enthusiasm as the Indian made chinese noodles. While I dig the spice of Andhra, I crave for the sweet of Rajastan. The doklas of Gujarat are my passion and rasagollas of Kolkata are my devotion.

You see, I am a Cosmopolitan foodie and am proud of that fact...

Over the last few days, I am in Dubai, staying in a place called Bur Dubai. This place is littered with Indian food of all tastes, be it the Vasantha Bhawan of Chennai or the 'Chappan Bhog' of wherever or the ubiquitous Udupi Restaurants. Being the true cosmopolitan that I am, I never bothered to choose between them and used to frequent these establishments at random.

Today morning while going for a walk, I came across a very small restaurant called 'Taste of the Town'. For those of you who know Dubai, this place is in Bur Dubai, behind Burjuman Center, on Bank Street, opposite to Apsara Supermarket. I saw a few malayali waiters roaming around and assumed that it is just another Indian Restaurant. Out of curiosity, I went inside and asked for the menu.

Much like the commentary of a US Soccer game, the waiter started reeling out the items. Out came the menu in torrents, Porota with egg masala, alu baji, 'kadala curry', sada dosa, masala dosa, poori baji, Appam with stew, alu baji, egg masala, dal curry......

It was a Kerala restaurant and I ordered an appam and alu sabji.....

Maybe I was hungry, may be I was longing for it in my subconcious, whatever may be the reason, I was soon relishing the food. It was excellent and was significantly different and tastier than the appams and alu baji ('Urula Kezhangu Masala') I had eaten in many of the restaurants in the last few days. The chutney had the unmistakable smell of coconut oil, onion and red chilly (which is typical of Kerala) and the baji was made with home made masala of Kerala. The food was delicous.

Soon it dawned on me. I was eating 'my' food. The food that I had grown up with. The taste which was flowing in my vains despite my years of cosmopolitanism. There were memories associated with this smell and taste. The memories of growing up pangs, the happy memories of eating out on my own or with my friends, the memories of eating out after going to temple in the morning, just getting into a restaurant and ordering something on the fly and feeling contented and relaxed after the stress of exams........

I was back home in Kerala.

The food reminded me that, wherever I go, whatever I do, I am still a keralite and will remain one no matter where I go.

12 October 2007

Where am I now?

I am giving below a few clues based on which you have to identify where I am presently. (This quiz is primarily for Indians)

1. I have masala dosa for breakfast in Sukh Sagar, Andhra style lunch at Nandini and North Indian Dinner at Woodlands......

2. The sports page of the newspaper shows an ecstatic Irfan Pathan jumping in joy after taking the wicket of Andrew Symonds.......

3. The daily newspaper is full of news about city's burgeoning infrastructure, the crumbling civic facilities and the rash and rude drivers who cut lanes.......

4. I go to a super market and ask for location of yogurt in malayalam / tamil........

5. My taxi driver is a tamilian / hyderabadi / punjabi........

6. Everywhere you look, you see drivers driving cars while talking on their mobile phones...

Where am I?

05 October 2007

Very Distrubing Scenes on TV

The other day I was watching news on 'Headlines Today' when they showed a scene that shocked me to the core. It was the scene of the death of the malayalam intellectual Vijayan. He died of a massive heart attack while he was attending a press conference. Suddenly he asked for some water and before you could react, his eyes rolled up and he fell back.
He was immediately taken to the hospital and was declared dead on arrival.
Presumably he was dead instantly.
That scene really shocked me. More than the scene, what shocked me was the insensitivity of the TV Channel in airing the scene. What were they trying to prove? I don't know. All I know is that this channel is competing against, CNN IBN and Times Now and is not doing really well.
They have now added one more member to their detractors. I dislike the channel for showing this scene. I totally object to the scene.

Watch the video clip here. It is shocking. I might delete this post altoghther since I am really anguished by this scene

02 October 2007

Bad English

As India integrates with the rest of the world, we keep on tom tomming about our knowledge of english and how that provides us with the competitive advantage with respect to the rest of the non english speaking world. We pride on our felicity with the language and our ability to interpret accurately the nuances of the language.
We should keep in mind that our achievements in the last 10 years or so has made the rest of the world to look up to us with respect and admiration. We should be very careful that we build on it.
I am not very sure that we are giving the right impression in this regard.
I am a member of various forums that deal with ERP and either participate in or observe the communication threads that go in these forums. Let me say with the utmost confidence that some of the comments from Indians is devoid of any grammatical linkage and do not even go through the basic spell check which is available in any decent software.
Mind you, these are purely ERP forums and one can expect that the members who participate in this forum are either ERP consultants or wannabe ERP consultants. Considering that effective communication is the most important aspect of a successful ERP implementation, these exchanges do not inspire much confidence.
My objective is not to deride the ERP consultants. The larger point that I am trying to make is do your homework thoroughly (run spell check, run the posts through a friend who is good in english etc) before posting your comments on these sites which have significant level of international viewership.
I am giving below one example of such communication. Try to find the number of spelling and grammatical errors in this short communication. In this one Suresh is advicing Madhu on how to go about becoming an ERP consultant.
I found this in IT Tool Box in one of the ERP forums.
hai madhu,
i am suresh
its very easy to go to ERP programs like you experence peoples so you have to contact your near ERP learning centres. now a days its very demandful one
have a nice decade (60th indepence day)

If you feel strongly as I do on this, please share your experiences and observations.