The two most important actors in any career decision are the individual and the organization. One can make a more informed decision about their career choices by mindfully inspecting their priorities and that of the nature of organizations.
In the course of living its purpose, organizations often play matchmaker in balancing not only the demand and supply of their product or services but also matching that positive tension with the internal labor pool, its aspirations and reality in tow. This positive tension called organization dynamics - a byproduct of its internal & external environment, plays a most critical role in careers. One may enter an organization with a thought in mind on how the career story will play out; this variable called organization dynamics ensures that careers are never straight lines. In this web of social association called organization, what is called as the butterfly effect takes place and many of us would have witnessed the drama unfold with one resignation and its ripple effect on altering the course of journey for many others.
One must also be conscious of the fact that growth trajectory in any organization is subject to the pressures of external environment dictated by consumption trends, pace at which the sector is growing and growth stage. A common example would be the ‘accelerated growth’ which start-ups offer, are typically faster than a mature organization in say an old economy sector. If we inspect closely the kind of opportunities available in
A common example would be the ‘accelerated growth’ which start-ups offer, are typically faster than a mature organization in say an old economy sector. If we inspect closely the kind of opportunities available in same organization tends to be very different in its early days than when it is relatively established.
These opportunities are also compounded or diminished due to an organizations internal environment which is governed by its talent pool, how the organization views itself and its environment. But most importantly careers are fashioned or molded in an organization by the people philosophy of the organization. I believe this is one aspect which must be inspected, verified and judged before taking any career decision. How the organization views its people, invests in them to co-create value shapes how one grows as a professional.
The two home truths about how careers are shaped in organizations…
Limited opportunities: In a world of diminishing resources - opportunities available to an individual can be likened to the economic problem model, where aspirations and wants are manifold but resources to satisfy those wants are limited. These opportunities are subject to how an organization perceives its current and future reality, preparing its response to the external environment. As one progresses in one’s career, due to the niche nature of skills acquired, specialization or hierarchical nature of organizations, it leads to a narrowing down of opportunities where one can fit in.
In a way as one progresses ahead in life, one becomes fossilized, not as malleable as one was when one started off (Not unless we are ready to take a rebirth into a completely different area and start from scratch). The million dollar question is how does one remain relevant and constantly reinvent oneself to ensure one capitalizes on the limited opportunities available.
Controlled Growth: One of the most fundamental properties of a career in a traditional set up is a phenomena called controlled growth. Your movements upwards especially, are conditioned, subject to vacancy, internal talent bench and performance perception. This is one of those facts of corporate life that one needs to come to terms with and actively manage. Unless it’s an entrepreneurial set up/ family business no matter how capable or full of potential one may be the pace of growth is set by the organization. Managing that pace in a balanced and mature way is key to creating your career best!
This is the Chapter 4 of the 7 part series on Career Management by Subhashini Acharya.
Read the previous Chapters: