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Friday, August 10, 2012

Inadequate preparation during graduation leads to bigger difficulties in unfolding one's potential

See the case of Puneet:

Puneet passed out as a E&TC Engineer in first class from a town in Maharashtra in 2012. He wants to remain in his core field of Electronics. His interest in core electronics is so strong, that he refused to apply for software jobs. He made few attempts to get a job in Electronics field but , as he says, they wanted 'experience'. When he was offered job in 'Sales domain' in Electronics company, he refused, because he considers it as 'waste of time'. His statement was 'After having studied 4 years in Electronics, what is the point in working in Sales?' Instead he preferred to work part time in some core area of Electronics and prepare for a post graduation next year. 

Have you met graduates like Puneet? I feel very moved and concerned when i meet such students like Puneet. On the one hand, they show extraordinary resolve and courage to avoid the herd of 'software jobs' and stick to their core interest. They have very high confidence in their intellectual abilities and are willing to stick to their path even when the world is going the other way. ( Like Puneet, all the engineers who want to work in their core field, be it Mechanical, Civil or Electrical, will face the same challenge.)  

On the other hand, they are naive and ignorant about some critical areas that impact their unfolding of potential. Because of their inadequate preparedness, they unwittingly create difficulties in unfolding their potential. They make three 'silly-looking' mistakes and create bigger problems in their lives:

1. They misunderstand Data> knowledge conversion: We generate knowledge when we use our learnt information to achieve some end. Until one uses the technical data to solve real-life problems, one cannot develop any useful knowledge. It is therefore important to work in technical field and solve 'real technical problems' to apply what one has learnt in graduation. Without this real-life engagement, one is not sure of what 'potential' one has in any field. Even in Electronics, one has to find the sub-fields which one should start exploring: Embedded electronics, VLSI, Mechatronics or even areas like PLC. Without experience, they find it difficult to choose the sub-field where they should unfold their potential. They falter in the first step of CTS cycle. 

Instead of choosing the potential from available options, they choose the first option that seems right to them: Do a Post graduation in technology. On the other hand, if they prepare well and understand the industry requirements, approach the right companies, prepare a right resume, gear up to give a powerful interview, they are more than likely to get a job they desire.

2. They misunderstand the domain of sales and avoid it to unfold their potential: Like Puneet, many technically intelligent students avoid sales because they do not understand the use of sales domain and how it helps in potential unfolding. Please go to this hyperlink to understand more about sales function.

For instance, Sales domains in a sales electronics firm helps one to understand the interconnections of different sub-fields in electronics, know the companies working in these fields and therefore connects them to engineers working in these sub fields, and determine the scope of these sub-fields. More importantly, because an electronic firm typically sells its products to another company ( who is the customer), one has to learn the technologies of the customer and understand how 'the supplier's technology' fits with the 'customer's technology'. This knowledge of interconnection of technologies broadens the narrow perspective of an engineer and changes the options of an Engineer like Puneet to a more realistic basis. 

And like we saw in the case of Angad, working in sales would have offered Puneet a marketable skill that is very useful in unfolding the next potential. One need not stick to sales domain beyond a point. One can always leave the 'sales domain' path and rejoin another potential-unfolding path later. But creating a solid foundation of one marketable skill increases the freedom and offers better options in the future. 

3. They refuse to seek and take help from others: Paradoxically, the confidence they derive from their intellectual capacity also stops them from seeking the help from around their world. They become too independent. Asking help from others is a sign of 'weakness' for them. Instead of understanding the benefits of interdependence, they withdraw in their own shell and refuse to 'listen to the views of others'. Their own strength ( in understanding technical domain) becomes the source of this weakness !

I have seen many technically brilliant individuals like Puneet, who live in their own world, and refuse to use the interconnections of the world around themselves. They get trapped in their own view of 'what is right for them' and refuse to see any other contrary view. They suffer and go through pain, but they steadfastly refuse to see any other point of view. Because of their intellectual brilliance, accepting other's views is a sign of 'weakness' for them. Inability to use the rich interconnections of life becomes a bigger bottleneck in identifying and tapping their potential.

We have seen three consequences of missing the first stage of development, this is perhaps the fourth consequence. We could call it creation of Over Independent and Naive intelligent student

Conclusion

As we have seen above, it is important for Puneet to prepare adequately for unfolding his potential and not take decisions out of ignorance. If he prepares in advance, he can even get a good job in his chosen core field after graduation. He can spot and grab opportunities that come his way. And if he develops the three skills in time, he can learn to use his confidence, not in refusing to listen others, but by seeking help from others.