The Power of Opportunity(2015)

Professional Life




Life is a stage where people come and play their respective roles. Who knew Shakespeare could be so pragmatic about life in general? This simply means that a person’s circumstances never remain the same. While he performs his role and lives up to his character, he also exits the stage soon afterwards.


Similarly, you cannot always be a child or a student. Life moves on and before you know it, you have stepped into a puddle that people call, “professional life.” Professional life is probably the first official reminder that life is anything but a bed of roses. The struggles, obstacles and dilemmas you face in your professional life, define your role in this world and in the lives of others. At the end of the day, given that you learn from life’s invaluable lessons, your professional life makes you stronger and more confident than ever. Professional life is not only about pursuing your career and making a name for yourself; it is about making the right decisions, taking risks and defining the future course of your life.


Learn New Skills



If you think that graduating from a top school, with top notch grades and a medal of excellence is enough to last you a lifetime, you couldn’t be more mistaken. This does not mean that your education is not important; it simply means that one should continue his/her learning cycle throughout their lives. You can never be too old to learn; at least that is what the experts say.


When it comes to stepping into the professional world, you need to keep in mind that your resume needs constant modification in terms of your skills enhancement. There are probably a million others out there, with the same set of qualifications and grades. Amidst this clutter, what employers are looking for is something out of the box, something unique that enables you to stand out. When it comes to skills and capabilities, there exists two generic forms:


Hard Skills


Hard skills are those set of skills which are taught and learnt over time. A person isn’t born with them and these skills include learning a new language or acquiring training in Six Sigma.


Learn a New Language


You know how rewarding it is to learn a new language? From a business perspective, you should be well versed in Chinese, French and English, if you haven’t learned it yet that is. Rest assured, this might be an extremely valuable addition to your existing resume and might get you the job you never even dreamt of. If the scope of your work requires you to stay up-to-date with new technology, you can also learn a new programming language. Try to learn the ones that are currently in high demand, so that you have a diversified portfolio, one that singles you out from the rest of the candidates.


Six Sigma


Ever heard of the terms “continuous improvement?” Six Sigma is a Japanese concept, which focuses on teaching techniques aiming to improve the quality of operations and processes. If you have an accreditation of Six Sigma on your resume, it will definitely help you get you to the right places. Organizations especially send their staff for Six Sigma training- if you are already trained, you can get into various huge conglomerates.


Soft Skills


On the contrary, soft skills are more innate and relate to an individual’s personality. A person can either be born with them or the skills can also be nurtured. These skills include interpersonal skills, communication skills or even personal skills like self-esteem and integrity. Through learning, these skills can also be transferred from one person to the other.


Interpersonal Skills


Interpersonal skills are perhaps the most critical and crucial skills, not to mention a must-have on your resume. You need to possess the necessary people-skills, in order to get into almost any profession. If you think you are an introvert and are reserved by nature, take up a few classes and brush up on your interpersonal skills. Do not just add this skill on your CV for the heck of it; train yourself to talk to people in a confident manner.


Management Skills


Whether you want to apply for a management position or not, you should be equipped with the relevant managerial skills. Every position, no matter how menial, requires you to take decisions, lead people and communicate with them. Management skills help you avail the basic qualifications that help towards a better management of work force.These skills can really help you excel in your professional life.


Organizational Skills


Again, an employer wants someone who has prior experience or knowledge of coordinating and organizing people, resources and projects. In today’s competitive corporate environment, organizational skills are no longer optional, they are pretty much considered as mandatory.


Evaluate Your Goals



Goals, plans and ambitions, are these only words to you or do they really mean something? Have you ever set goals in your life? How did that work out for you? Setting goals and targets doesn’t really turn out as expected for many people. This makes them wonder where they went wrong. If you think that setting goals alone is a guarantee for your success, you couldn’t be more mistaken.


Yes, setting accurate and realistic goals is extremely significant but the process shouldn’t end here. You need to go back and evaluate your goals every once in a while, to determine whether or not you are on the right track. You can evaluate your goals by implementing the following:


Measure the Intensity of Your Aim


Try to determine the intensity of your ambition. If you want to become a painter, ask yourself if it is temporary or are you truly determined to achieve it. Your goals should have sufficient long-term backing; otherwise, you would just be wasting time and effort. An extremely clever way of monitoring this is by reverting to your goals, after a specific period. If you feel the same intensity and a stronger urge to achieve it, you should devote all your time and effort towards it.


Make Them Concrete


Concrete goals do not have to be written on stone, they just need to be written in black and white. Write your goals on a piece of paper and stick the paper somewhere where you can see it every day. If you want to be really creative, draft a vision board and get creative. Cut out an image from a magazine or newspaper, one that closely represents your goal. If going to Istanbul for a vacation is your goal, cut out a picture of any monument and paste it on the board. A visual depiction is at times better than a written one. However, it is advisable for you to make them more flexible, so that you can tweak a few things here and there when required.


Test Them


Make sure your goals are measurable, if not in monetary than in non-monetary terms. Simply stating out a desire is hardly enough; you need to make an action plan. The only way to test your goals is to compare them to your original targets and measure your progress.


Inconsistency is Out of Question


While making a list of your goals, make sure one goal does not contradict another. For example, if you want to take a vacation and reduce your debt at the same time, there is bound to be a conflict of interest. Learn to prioritize your goals in order of preference and practicality. 


See the Value in Others



“No man is an island”. This applies to personal life but has greater implications when it comes to professional life. If you think that you can manage everything and take your company to heights of success, without any help whatsoever, that is definitely not the case.


If you want to make something of your career, you need to involve the people around you.. The captain alone cannot steer the ship, likewise you cannot take matters into your own hands. You need to learn to delegate tasks and above all, learn to rely on other people. This will help you see them in a different light and probably enable you to value them more. Collaboration is the key, especially in a workplace environment. If you want to master the art of collaboration, follow the steps below:


Clarify Expectations


When working in an organization, it is extremely important to lay out what is expected from everyone- be it your supervisor, co-worker or subordinate. Everyone should be aware of their roles and responsibilities along with their respective contribution in a project or task. There should be a reliable system of accountability and reporting, which would really help highlight the required expectations to achieve desired results.


Get Everyone on Board


If you are a project leader, you should make sure that all people in your team are on board and well aware of how things work. Essentially, everyone should work towards the desired goal or target. Never adopt a tunnel-vision attitude towards your project, make sure all team members are working towards the betterment of the project and have no hidden motives.


Be Honest


Confrontation is the first and foremost rule of collaborating with your coworkers and supervisors. If you have a problem with the way things are, confront them and be honest about your issues with them. By holding back, you are simply turning your back on your issues and not giving them a chance to be resolved.


Meet Regularly


If you want to collaborate with your people effectively, the key is to hold regular meetings. This would allow regular and timely progress updates and would also provide you with the opportunity to meet and discuss issues. Make sure the meeting time is used constructively and should not be for pointless jibber-jabber.


Work on Your Social Life



“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Does this ring a bell?  Having a career and indulging in your professional life does not mean you cut off all social relations. It is ideal to have a balance in your life and work your way around it.


Look at it this way, the more you interact with people, the greater your social circle will become. This can do wonders for you, if you know how to make the right connections. 


Take Charge


Do not sulk around and wait for people to make plans. At times, all you need to do is take an initiative and approach someone. Plan a movie, dinner or even a date. You can even host a party or a game night and call all your friends over; you never know how exciting this might be. Do not let the fear of rejection come in the way of taking charge.


Try Something New


You know it’s never too late to learn a new skill, or try something new. Try a new sport or join a club membership that will allow you to meet new people.. Interacting with new people is something that can be truly rewarding and can open up various avenues for you- in terms of varying opinions and perspectives.




Just because you have become too busy with your work or in your married life, doesn’t mean you give your friends the back seat. Make it a point to call them or meet up with them, at least on weekends. Be it a brief meeting for a cup of coffee or a movie plan, spare some time and make sure it’s worth it.


Do not Hesitate


Turning down and declining every other plan can really put off the other person. If you continue to do so, you will not be left with any friends. Even if you do not want to make new friends, at least try to retain the existing ones. All you need to do is say yes every once in a while.


Value People Around You


At times, we tend to take old friends for granted. It will not take much of your time or energy to call an old friend and check on him/her, would it? Meet up with old friends and dig up old memories, you don’t know how refreshing that can turn out for you.