Whenever some kid (or older person) asks me for advice on ‘career options’ or even on ‘investment options’ I ask them to write about what they want their career to do or their investment to do.

It is not easy to write, while it is easy to ramble on what they want. Once they start writing they get more coherent – first to themselves and then to me. If 10 years later you want to be an entrepreneur, it is NOW that you start building your client book. So if you are working in a bank it is time that you collected all the visiting cards and building your own database. This is illegal you said? Aw..gimme a break – these days it is the done thing.

Writing down how you would react to career risk – your favorite company is being taken over. Will you stay or will you move on? Your fav CEO is moving on, will you stay or move on? You are investing in a SIP and the market falls 20% will you stay invested or sell? What is your conviction about the markets? Your company is going through a bad phase. You got 2% p.a. increment. Will you ‘stay’ or move? Writing crystallizes what you want.

Even when you go for your appraisal if you had written down what YOU want it would help. I know 4 boys and a girl who have benefitted by WRITING DOWN what they were going to say in the appraisal. All 5 of them had a diary in which they wrote down what happened …on a weekly/ monthly basis.

So one girl who wanted to make a career in banking – had NO CLUE on the credit sanction procedure. I said ‘it is far more interesting than Equity research’ – I am not sure she believed it. Or still believes it. She is in a bank and desperately looking to do ‘something else’ – NO CLUE WHAT.

When people say ‘i want to change my job’ – it seems to be just floating an idea. When they start writing they realize that they do not ACTUALLY WANT to leave their job. It turned out to be a lie…in the sense that they have an urge to change places! And imagine if they want me to ‘recommend’ them…then I ask them:

  1. What can you do to increase the firm’s topline?
  2. What is the edge that you have over some of your friends and colleagues?
  3. Will you promise to take 1/5th the revenue that you bring…ie will you bring 5X your salary as NET REVENUE?
  4. How will you handle an unforseen risk? (personal or professional)
  5. What is your view on (say NaMo) and did you change your mind about something recently? and did u like the process?
  6. Can you speak for and against the profession that you have chosen?
  7. In your current job what portions do you NOT LIKE?
  8. Why can’t you talk to your existing employer about dropping those parts that you do not like?

Not many of them can articulate all these points well IN WRITING…in fact most of them cannot.

At least they go back impressed about where my writing comes from…it comes from writing dammit !!


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