This is a post that I wrote for 'If I were 22 again' (#ifIwere22) series in LinkedIn. You can read it directly in LinkedIn
If I were 22 again, (#IfIwere22), there are two advices that I will give myself.
One, get out of emotionally draining situations.
Two, stay focused on the future. That is where you are going to live
First about getting out. I started my career in a steel making company in eastern parts of India. The job was routine but tough. I was handling the operations of the plant and was working in three shifts.
Every day was the same. Sleep, get up, go to factory, come back, go to club in the evening, come home, have dinner and sleep off. Had you asked me what I would have been doing one year hence, I would have answered with the above routine.
I was not learning anything new. I was not growing intellectually. Ergo, I was decaying.
Something kept me going in that job. Probably it was my ego. I did not want to be known as a quitter. I did not want to leave the job without an option in hand.
Back then, there were not many options for an operations engineer doing routine. Even now there are not many.
God knows I thought about quitting a thousand times. All those times the fear of quitting without an option in hand kept me back in my job that I did not enjoy.
Finally, when I decided to quit, I found that there were many options out there. I moved into a new field, learned a lot, grew as an individual and continue to do that.
I found email and social media. I opened my first email account, learned computer languages, started my blog, became a member in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...
I wish I had quit earlier. That is the advice that I will give myself. Do not stay in situations that drain your energy. There are plenty of options out there. Unless you take the plunge, you won't know about them.
Second advice will be about the future. When I started my career back in late 80's, the world was run by 'Old Economy'. Suddenly things changed. Technology started changing the paradigm. The way we did stuff underwent sea change. Computers started replacing inefficient resources. 22 year olds started teaching 50 year olds...
Keep eyes open for big changes, what are known as Mega Trends. Learn about them. Read up, make notes, learn about them. Be an active participant in the world around you. See what others are doing, why and how.
It is very easy to get stuck in your area of expertise. That is your comfort zone.
But world is changing pretty fast. It is possible that your comfort zone may be replaced with something new in an instant.
The only way to handle change is to be one step ahead of it. The only thing constant in the future is change.
So my second advice? Anticipate change, prepare for it and adapt to it.
If you do not focus on future, you will be past. Very quickly.
#IfIwere22, I would be excited by the potential that the future offers.