Staying focused


The subject of this blog was a fallout of conversations with ex-colleagues, and a co-traveler journeying back to Bengaluru from Pune.  The first chat focused on increasing levels of frustrations at work and how jumping ship was the best way to deal with the situation. The second conversation centered among other things on this gentleman’s 14-year long tenure with India’s third-biggest software house.

Extremes, you may smirk and empathize with the first scenario than the other. So do I actually! For every conversation I have these days revolves around work-related frustration and job hopping as the best way to cope with it. HR doesn’t help matters any when they favor a few instead of fostering a bond.

Now the gentleman in question stayed on with the firm not because of great HR practices, hefty hikes and travels abroad. In his words, it was sheer lethargy and a comfort zone he found with his work.

This got me talking to people who were loyal to the company and stayed on for periods that would bring about shocked gasps. From 3 years (yes, 3 = an era in today’s parlance)to retiring at the same organization they started off with. Mr Tom Pinto, a sprightly gentleman of 60 put it best: “Our generation had a different attitude, the sarkari naukar if you will, where u started with a company and grew within it. It was a matter of pride for us that we went from becoming an executive to serving as a sectional head, a GM and at times even higher when we retired. If there was enough money to satisfy my family’s basic needs and More than enough Time to spend with family, I was happy to stay on with the company.”


Ram Kishore, a friend who is completing two and a half years in a firm I worked for. “I think I’m getting very comfortable with my work, peers and all the things that are wrong with the organization. I do not want to stay here when every one else is moving out. So what is wrong with switching to another job even if they give me a 10-15% hike. It is better than staying here and getting frustrated every time somebody else leaves and moves to a different firm.”

So what does it take to stay focused, and STICK on?

Yes, great incentives help but they are also the first feed you fall for when it comes on a platter from another firm.

The buzz in HR circles these days is TRAINING. E-Learning, In-house, Outsourced, Intranet, Symposiums and Seminars, Development, Team activities, etc.. It is all ABOUT TRAINING.

But hey, if someone is dissatisfied than they are and no amount of Peer Support. Management Support or any other kind of support will help.

I have repeated this ad infinitum and here I go again: CHOOSE a job that you like AND DON’T LET A JOB CHOOSE you.

Even if the first job or the second or the third is something you select out of desperation or frustration or pressure DO NOT GET INTO this vicious circle.

Your job has to be

..Ssomething you look forward to each morning, not something you dread

..Something that makes you cheerful and not give you an upset tummy or a temper tantrum

..Something you progressively get better at and not worse

Easier said than done you may smirk again. But hold on.

  • We give up too easy now, whether a job or a relationship. We have literally started following all the crazy idioms that say “there are plenty of fish in the sea,” etc.
  • Everything takes its time. So give yourself that time to understand the job, its processes, people, requirement and than start building your expectations of what you can do and how much you can do
  • Make an effort to interact with people whether in your department or other sections, whether it is senior management or junior members of the team
  • Set yourself a timeline to learn and apply; certain organizations and people give enough time to learn without pressurizing the individual to step up performance. This is helpful but it can be a double-edged sword. What if u were to be moved to another department or another team where the pressure to manage and handle multiple projects is immense and there is perennial manpower crunch.
  • Always keep yourself updated about the latest development/skills in your area
  • Understand the company’s policies, internal and external growth plans
  • If there is a chance for a lateral move, say from graphics to sales and the organization is willing to take a chance on you, grab it.

Bottom line – Nothing is ROCKET SCIENCE, unless of course it is a ROCKET you plan to launch and you just finished your hotel management course 😀

All the best folks.


5 thoughts on “Staying focused

  1. Easier said than done indeed. I think instead of looking for what one would like to do (which is near impossible, and frankly how many really know what is it they are looking for and a decent pay cheque is enough incentive these days) maybe one should try to see what they like in what they are doing and then decide. Am i making any sense?

    • @anju: On the dot. Easier said than done these days. Good suggestion this: “one should try to see what they like in what they are doing and then decide”

  2. Stirs lot of thoughts. Personally, I feel for beginners, there is this saturation phase when these sentiments take over our normal conciousness and flashy decisions take precedence. I have seen in my peer circle that around 75% decisions on job hopping take place ‘coz of a nicer package, rest 25% apparently burn out in monotony or fizzle out in loss of motivation or sheer incompetent planning.

    • @debanjan. Thanks for writing in. To a large extent you are right. However, in this scenario the onus is not Only on the individual But the management too. If the performers are rewarded and appreciated (sometimes all it takes is verbal appreciation), if there is a clearly defined career path then the saturation phase and decisions accompanying this can be dealt with. At times, all employees want is for someone to address their uncertainty about where they are headed and If they are being useful in the organization.

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