REBEL to insure your job
Invest in relationships, enterprise, behaviour, effort and learning
As an employee how would you analyse 2020? If you held on to your job, got timely salaries, were blessed with WFH, and got increments, would you call it a great year? If you landed a new job with a joining bonus and an attractive higher salary, you might even call it a bumper year, as some in the IT industry did.
“I have to stare at the same screen but speak to a different set of people via a new email id, but now I earn ₹1.5 lakh more per month without stepping out of my house,” said a friend from the IT industry who lost his job but found a new one within three weeks.
If you look at the healthy Q3 results of Infosys and Wipro, they speak for the IT industry. Yes, the job demand in the IT industry has returned to pre-Covid levels, and, last quarter, almost 30 per cent of jobseekers declined offers for greener pastures; such is the demand.
On the other hand, it would be difficult to remember 2020 if you took a pay cut, or, worse, if you lost your job. “It’s been six months since my role has been made redundant, and I am still waiting to get a suitable role,” a vice-president of a leading non-banking finance company (NBFC) complained to me. In fact, the dip in BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) hiring in 2020 at mid to senior level was only about 10 per cent. In a pandemic year, the fact that the banking and NBFC sectors took only a 10 per cent dip is an upbeat number.
Your outlook to 2021 would obviously be based on which of the above two sets you belong to. If you go by the examples of my friends in IT and BFSI, one thing is clear. The relevance of their roles and the industry they are part of had a huge bearing on their fortunes. I chose BFSI and IT as examples as they are the bellwether industries as far as hiring numbers and frequency of job changes go.
So, how do we transition to safeguard our careers in 2021. By working on relationships, being enterprising, behaving well, putting in effort and learning. In short, being a REBEL!
Genuine relationships in the workplace are a precious commodity. If you are close to the boss, you are ridiculed. Peers are pitted as competitors. In this perception world, we end up being transactional, and genuine relationships never blossom. But a good relationship is a must-have skill for your relevance with people around you, including customers. Where do you think you are in the relationship context in your current world? Do you only have a network or a true connection?
Organisations value entrepreneurial employees. Colleagues who take on stretch assignments — and risks — such as new launches, turnarounds, troubleshooting, and who are willing to relocate are darlings of bosses. You are unlikely to lose your relevance when you have a can-do attitude.
Remember, we hire people for their skills and fire them for their behaviours. Large enterprises need conformity. Otherwise, it’s difficult for them to control a large number of employees. Hence, they have rules, policies to protect themselves and rein in mavericks. Every enterprise has written and unsaid rules. Being in line helps. If you don’t conform, you could be the first to be made redundant when the organisation next faces headwinds.
As much as leaders claim they are fans of outcomes, secretly all of us admire our hard-working colleagues. Unfortunately, what constitutes ‘efforts’ is not well articulated. To some, it might still be late hours, weekend work, and skipping leaves. Though not healthy, if that’s your employer’s culture, you may need to show up to stay relevant.
The IT workers who were courted heavily by recruiters during the pandemic were those who had made a successful transition to digital skills. They invested in cybersecurity, learnt Python, or diversified into data sciences or new languages like Golang. These skills were in such demand that many recruiters skipped their Christmas break to headhunt them for talent-hungry tech enterprises.
You are reasonably job-insured in 2021 if you are a REBEL. The job market has got its first dose of vaccine, and there are clear green shoots. Now’s your chance to leave 2020 behind and stand in the queue.
Published first on Hindu Business Line, January 18, 2020.