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Managing Your Career When To Make A Change

Author : Dilip Saraf

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If you think change is hard, try having to deal with becoming irrelevant "Tom Peters

Clients often come to me when they find their situation at work unbearable. Bad boss, stagnant career, constant firefighting, backstabbing colleagues, no growth prospects with never-ending promises for a promotion, morally challenged management, and so on. And, this is just a partial list!

The main questions most clients struggle with before coming to me for advice is when should they make the change and how do they know that they are making a change for the better!

Good questions!

In addition to the above list, which is a compilation of external factors, there is also an equally important list of internal factors; factors that arise from your own internal compass that can prompt you to consider a change and to make a plan for its implementation. In this blog I'd like to list some of the more common reasons"for both internal and external factors"to guide you through this process.

External Factors:

Stagnant Career: This includes many of the factors that are a combination of the environment in which your group, department, or company operates. This can include constant management churn, so every time you have a new boss you start all over again with your act to impress them with your value; writing off all the promises made by the previous manager. In such situations the best approach is to look for opportunities in the existing environment to showcase your value to the organization, not just to milk it for any value that will mobilize your career where you are now. This is more to put a shine on your rsum to make it more saleable and less to get anything out from where you are.

These accomplishments can help you build your momentum to catapult you out of the stagnant orbit at your existing job. Also, when things are chaotic and in a flux, it is much easier to wheedle someone in a position of power into assigning a juicy task that you can leverage into a stellar accomplishment on your rsum.

Bad Boss: This is yet another factor that is common in many careers that require careful attention. Studies have shown that nearly 70% of the bosses are incompetent, dysfunctional, or undesirable. So, chances are great that you'll run into a worse boss as your next manager. In such cases the best strategy is to learn how do deal with such adversity and to develop your own strategies to cope with them positively, right where you are now. This will prepare you to better deal with the next boss from hell in a positive way no matter where you land. When making your selection rounds with other companies think of a good reason for your leaving, without bringing your relationship with your current boss.

Backstabbing Colleagues: This factor is more prevalent in most companies than most realize. So, the best strategy is to recognize this factor and to learn to work with the errant colleague to communicate your observations and concerns. Set parameters for your interactions and expectations and then enforce them. If the situation does not improve, at least you have learned how to deal with it forthrightly, should you have a need to in your next job; and you will.

Internal Factors:

Dead-end Skill set: In an industry where technology is changing rapidly and you feel left behind, the best strategy is to recognize this early on and to try to find avenues to get on board with the tasks that emerging technologies offer, either inside your company or by looking for outside opportunities. If you have to go outside, the first priority should be to get some certifications in the right subjects so that your rsum has the right language that will allow you to get in front of the hiring managers. Even if you have to accept a lower-level position in the technology area that is rapidly growing it is often worth the temporary setback in view of its long-term benefit.

The above discussion is only a part of the rationale for making a change. The main factor in this discussion is, however, how to set yourself up for making this change to your advantage than otherwise. What this approach requires most is a mindset that allows you to create a springboard for a better transition than merely packing up and leaving out of sheer frustration, which often results in compromising your career"or even a career suicide. A little thought, planning, and methodical approach can result in creating the right outcome without suffering undue career setbacks when making such a change.

Good luck!

About Author
Dilip has distinguished himself as LinkedIn’s #1 career coach from among a global pool of over 1,000 peers ever since LinkedIn started ranking them professionally (LinkedIn selected 23 categories of professionals for this ranking and published this ranking from 2006 until 2012). Having worked with over 6,000 clients from all walks of professions and having worked with nearly the entire spectrum of age groups—from high-school graduates about to enter college to those in their 70s, not knowing what to do with their retirement—Dilip has developed a unique approach to bringing meaning to their professional and personal lives. Dilip’s professional success lies in his ability to codify what he has learned in his own varied life (he has changed careers four times and is currently in his fifth) and from those of his clients, and to apply the essence of that learning to each coaching situation.

After getting his B.Tech. (Honors) from IIT-Bombay and Master’s in electrical engineering(MSEE) from Stanford University, Dilip worked at various organizations, starting as an individual contributor and then progressing to head an engineering organization of a division of a high-tech company, with $2B in sales, in California’s Silicon Valley. His current interest in coaching resulted from his career experiences spanning nearly four decades, at four very diverse organizations–and industries, including a major conglomerate in India, and from what it takes to re-invent oneself time and again, especially after a lay-off and with constraints that are beyond your control.

During the 45-plus years since his graduation, Dilip has reinvented himself time and again to explore new career horizons. When he left the corporate world, as head of engineering of a technology company, he started his own technology consulting business, helping high-tech and biotech companies streamline their product development processes. Dilip’s third career was working as a marketing consultant helping Fortune-500 companies dramatically improve their sales, based on a novel concept. It is during this work that Dilip realized that the greatest challenge most corporations face is available leadership resources and effectiveness; too many followers looking up to rudderless leadership.

Dilip then decided to work with corporations helping them understand the leadership process and how to increase leadership effectiveness at every level. Soon afterwards, when the job-market tanked in Silicon Valley in 2001, Dilip changed his career track yet again and decided to work initially with many high-tech refugees, who wanted expert guidance in their reinvention and reemployment. Quickly, Dilip expanded his practice to help professionals from all walks of life.

Now in his fifth career, Dilip works with professionals in the Silicon Valley and around the world helping with reinvention to get their dream jobs or vocations. As a career counselor and life coach, Dilip’s focus has been career transitions for professionals at all levels and engaging them in a purposeful pursuit. Working with them, he has developed many groundbreaking approaches to career transition that are now published in five books, his weekly blogs, and hundreds of articles. He has worked with those looking for a change in their careers–re-invention–and jobs at levels ranging from CEOs to hospital orderlies. He has developed numerous seminars and workshops to complement his individual coaching for helping others with making career and life transitions.

Dilip’s central theme in his practice is to help clients discover their latent genius and then build a value proposition around it to articulate a strong verbal brand.

Throughout this journey, Dilip has come up with many groundbreaking practices such as an Inductive Résumé and the Genius Extraction Tool. Dilip owns two patents, has two publications in the Harvard Business Review and has led a CEO roundtable for Chief Executive on Customer Loyalty. Both Amazon and B&N list numerous reviews on his five books. Dilip is also listed in Who’s Who, has appeared several times on CNN Headline News/Comcast Local Edition, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle in its career columns. Dilip is a contributing writer to several publications. Dilip is a sought-after speaker at public and private forums on jobs, careers, leadership challenges, and how to be an effective leader.



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