Muhammed Mehdi Hasan Chowdhury:
Certain skills and mindsets that lead an individual to a loftier and alluring position in professional life often remain either unexplored, ignored or even knowingly unutilized by many of today’s youths whose aspiration for professional success is immensely expressive but never sufficiently effective to help them reach their adorable dream. The case mentioned below would help us understand it more clearly.
Exactly seven years before today, Asif and Zarif started their career in the same organization. In their student life though they were good friends, there was no competition between them. Like every year, Zarif finished his last academic exam with the first position. He was such studious that he hardly managed time to meet and hang out with friends. On the other hand, Asif was a student of average caliber but was involved in many extra-curricular activities. He was also very good at networking, program organizing, debate etc. He was very popular among his friend circle for his extroverted nature.
In the interview, though Asif was selected first hand with other four candidates, Zarif had to wait a few days more as he was on the waiting list. Luckily, the fifth candidate did not join finally, which opened up this opportunity for Zarif.
Today Asif is working in a managerial position with good portfolio while Zarif is just an executive reporting to Asif with a very small portfolio. This one is not a single story in corporate life. If we look around, we will find many examples like Asif and Zarif. So, what went wrong with the brilliant studentZarif? Why is the first bencher of the university in the backbench of the career race?
Postmortem of their student life:
● While Zarif was busy with academic books only, Asif was involved in many activities, which helped him gain practical knowledge of what Zarif missed.
● Zarif was busy for the number one position in the exams, where, besides study, Asif built a strong network by helping friends, organizing different programs, attending seminars, debates etc. These activities helped Asif improve his communication skill overcoming all his inertia.
● Zarif did not try to learn MS office more than his requirements though he had a computer. Nevertheless, Asif was always curious about learning new things. He tried to learn more than his necessity. Although English typing was enough for his assignment, he put extra effort into learning Bangla type too. He emphasized increasing his typing speed in both languages. Learnt V-look up, Pivot table of MS Excel though it was not a must do at that stage for him.
● Though Zarif was naturally good at English like other brilliant students, it was only in written English. On the other hand, even being average in written English, Asif improved his spoken English through regular practice, as he debated both in Bangla & English. Since Asif was engaged in many activities, he learnt Hindi and a bit Chinese language too.
● As Zarif was less interested in extra academic activities, he learnt neither to be a team player nor to be a team leader. Whereas, Asif earned his leadership quality in his university life by organizing different programs at business club.
In short, Asif, the student of average caliber learnt the most important traits of a successful professionalin his student life where Zarif missed them partially,which is evident in their interviews.
Postmortem of their professional life:
● When Asif was busy meeting clients, making prospects, closing deals, Zarif spent more time on personal issues during office hours. He had lunch almost every day at home without his boss’s knowledge and took much time there. Very often, he was found at home in the name of a client visit.
● The best trait of Asif was sharing knowledge with colleagues. He always helped them to grow. Thus, he became a problem solver of the team. Because of his helping attitude, Asif had been an automatic choice if anyone needing any assistance. Even for the same problem, Zarif took advice from Asif on several occasions.
● Zarif was found less fascinated in taking ownership of problems while Asif loved to take the responsibilities and challenges.
● Zarif consistently reported to his boss that he had been doing excellent and dying for the organization though it was misleading. As he spoke well, he somehow could manage the boss. On the other hand, Asif was a work-loving person and never liked to overexpose himself.
● Asif tried to learn from the mistakes and improved accordingly. While Zarif was busy proving himself, Asif was improving silently. He used to read articles in his free time. This reading habit kept Asif a bit ahead of his other colleagues.
● Asif always tried to take new challenges while Zarif never came out of the comfort zone for the last seven years.
● While dealing with foreigners, Asif was the first choice to meet them, as he learnt multi languages. Zarif would consciously avoid this type of events for his shortcomings. He tried to hide his shortcomings instead of throwing challenge onto thyself.
● Asif was well behaved, welcoming and helpful, which made him popular in the team.Zarif was the opposite. He was non-cooperative, self-centered & rude in his behavior.
● If there is any project to lead, Asif was the first person to take the lead where Zarif had doubts.
● Zarif was a good storyteller but he used this skill with his boss to hide his remissness. Interestingly, Asif was better than Zarif in storytelling but he used this skill in convincing clients. They utilized the same skill for different purposes. Zarif became boss dependent, as he did not improve his skills whereas Asif silently created his own market.
Succinctly, Zarif did not do justice to his talents for his unwillingness of updating himself; on the other hand, because of a growth mindset, Asif improved his human skills significantly through continuous learning and taking new challenges, which helped him reach a leadership role very fast. In last seven years, Zarifdid not get any job offer whereas Asif received multiple offers for his extra ordinary performance.Zariflike people also survive in some cases for the nepotism of their bosses, working in leading organizations where the product is automatic soldor themanagement is a fool.They are always vulnerable if the boss or organization changes. In a comparative study, it has been observed that, usage of EQ was much higher by Asif than Zarif in their corporate lives.
It is neither the academic results nor the university to ensure one’s success unless one wants it. Only one’s growing mind set-up & spirit can make one successful. Bangladesh is a youth dominated country as the average age of its population is 27.6 years only. Moreover, 65% of our population is below 35 years. The life expectancy rate has increased from 47 to 72.3 years in 50 years when the nation celebrates its golden jubilee. Recently, we have moved from the ranking of an under developed country to that of a developing country where the youths’ contribution is the most significant one. Therefore, we all need is injecting skills to accelerate this young population to attach to the development wheel.
Bangladesh needs Asif like young resources in every sector to whom AI, Robotics, Block Chain, Data Analytics, Big data, Augmented reality and virtual reality are not new at all. This is the era of digitalization where today becomes old tomorrow. Every day we need to update ourselves to be either with the time or ahead of the time. World economic forum forecasted that by 2025, around one million garment-workers might lose their job as one robot will replace 100 labors. This figure will be double in 2035.
*Picture Courtesy: Ainun, Class-IV
From my long professional experience, I clearly understood that we have to be master of one or two subjects not Jack-Of-All-Trades. If we become so, one day our youth will successfully brand the country as skilled nation, not the country of cheap labor. Our skilled youngsters will lead the world business in either serving or running a company.
Muhammed Mehdi Hasan Chowdhury
Head of Sales ll BSRM Steels Limited