Thursday, July 23, 2009

Story of "X" - The Apprentice - Career is about choices and actions

These days we have performance feedback sessions in most companies. Last year (2008/09)was one of those years which was difficult by most standards. Sri Lanka's economic situation was not only difficult because of the global financial crisis and its ripple effects, the country also had its version of financial crisis and the year also saw the war coming to an end with expenses costing the country a colossal amount of money. (How ever it was a wise investment given the unprecedented growth we are bound to experience)

Given these macro conditions, most companies had a rather difficult year. Performance evaluations of both companies and individuals reflected the same. In times like these, ratings below expectation does not mean those individuals are considered a burden to the company.

Story of "X" is open to debate. The views expressed are spontaneous and in the hindsight these thoughts may be proved wrong.

"X" was a bright young boy in the final year of his Bachelors studies. He recently completed his professional studies in marketing as well. He was a smart, hardworking and a quick learning individual. An ambitious individual he put in lot of effort. In his own words he put his heart and sole to his work. He was loved by all around him.

His primary job role was to increase sales partners under the stewardship of his immediate superior. During the year under review given the prevailing economic conditions the company which he was working for did not meet its annual targets including requisite sales partners. Being an university graduate, in his first job he was exposed to probably one of the least appreciated jobs which teach people possibly the best life skills. Sales! For many sales is not an easy job. However it also provides a person to gain speed on so many aspects in life. Sales gives you the all important confidence, ability improve multiple softer aspects of your life including presentation, negotiation, people handling etc.

"X" was getting himself groomed very fast and his refinement in all aspects mentioned above was clearly visible.

The company evaluated the performance of "X" in the same manner as the rest of the team and he received a below expectation rating. However as opposed to any other year, the company made it a point to reiterate that the below expectation was more based on macro circumstances than anything else. The Company also made a policy decision not to give increments right across the board irrespective of individual performances given the uncertainty surrounding future business prospects. However the company did offer performance bonuses for the past year.

"X" handed over his resignation immediately after the announcement of no increments and the issuing of bonuses. In his own words, he was bitterly disappointed with the fact that he received a meager bonus let alone the company policy regarding increments.

The readers are encouraged to comment on the decision made by "X" in the context of his own career and future.If one were to analyse the situation objectively following would have been the options available to "X".

While monetary benefits play a pivotal role in our lives, one needs to be very very careful about exposure he or she gains. First couple of years in your job determines your corporate value system, your approach to professional life and quintessentially who you become for the rest of your life.

Like Napolean Hill says in his famous book, "Think and Grow Rich", one needs to acquire requisite skills through necessary apprenticeship, even at cost. That serves well in the longer term.While only the time will tell whether the decision taken by "X" is the right one in terms of his career, we will continue to observe the the progression "X" makes throughout his future endeavors.

The story is based on a real life situation.