Beginning of quarter life crisis?


Choosing between jobs and comparing the offers to my dream job, I am starting to wonder if I need to do what everyone else is doing, to be able to do what I really want to do? Choosing jobs has been relatively easier so far, as I knew they wouldn’t last once I finish grad school, but now choosing the ‘one’ has got me contemplating what I can do and what I want to do.

Ofcourse, you pick the most exciting and rewarding option, but would this bring you closer to finding that dream opportunity of a lifetime? Would it lead you into finding new things you enjoy working on? Would it completely drift you away from what was once the dream? Or do you wait until you find just what you wanted?

Even though, I ‘ve got lots of wondering and thinking to do, but the point really is to make the best of everything that comes your way, exhaust your potential completely and wonderfully in whatever way ‘possible’ and hopefully discover, meet people, learn ideas, which will show you what you stand for in five or ten years. And maybe there is a reason that people do what they do, making norms. I wouldn’t want to be complete handicapped by the norms and I have always had the freedom to think within and beyond them, but I am starting to understand why people do what they do.

So many questions to answer and mysteries to solve. Is this the beginning of my quarter life crisis?

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Making the Transition..


I have had my life changed drastically in the past few days, with lots happening all at once, great and not to great things. I have been making all the efforts I can to learn tricks of the trade of this society and work, which are very different to have I had become accustomed to and it has been an interesting ride, so far.

I chose to blog today about this as I have a better feeling about things today than I usually do. I have been making applications for jobs and the process can become a rather long one, longer than what I am used to in London anyway but today I felt like I was getting somewhere with it. Unlike in London, recruitment in Pakistan is not all about finding the right posts and applying for them wisely, but talking to people and networking is not only a plus, but absolutely necessary if you’re going to get somewhere with it. Through this ‘process’ so far, I have felt all sorts of different things; anxiety, excitement, nervousness … But there’s one thing I didn’t feel so far (thankfully). To me, the worst place anyone can be in is where one can do nothing to change their situation. We are made with no points of self-actualisation and we always need progress in one way or the other, and moving for me is a huge opportunity to progress into the next phase of my life.

So, today I feel that yes the systems, people and culture are different, with their own good and bad sides to it, but they can all be worked around and there’s always something you can do to bring you closer to where you really want to be. And if you’re really going to do something, you better make sure you do it in the best way possible.

I am sure I ‘ll be blogging about ‘the transition’ for a while, with this blog being one of my firsts – but I hope it all leads to somewhere I want to be.

That Sinking Feeling in Dissertation Writing


Yes, we’re all at that point of year (well, some of us), when we prepare to get our theses/ dissertations/ research papers in and not like most, I was quite excited about having to write my very OWN piece of work which will probably be the most important piece of research I have ever done but as we know, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies – not just graduation gowns and distinction certificates; its sleepless nights and thoughtless hiccups.

But as I come to the completion of my work I have started to realise that the hardest part of writing one is not finding the right topic (which too is trick because it’s difficult to find the balance between inspirational and realistic) or the right supervisor (which too is absolutely essential) or the sources. Infact it is the moment when you start to write things in your study which are completely novel and new, which noone has yet spoken of, about or for. I love writing essays – I understand how to structure them, how to make them rock solid by having genuine sources etc – And this practice makes me scared when I start to write something which is not out of any paper, journal or book, for which there could be no reference but my brain. While this feeling is exciting and the sole reason what makes writing your own research project so exciting, at the same time it brings the feeling of self-doubt and fear. Sometimes analysing my results, I think to myself ‘I hope I am not being stupid’ and well it’s a bit unsettling of a feeling.

That apart, I couldn’t be unthankful, I got a wonderful supervisor, a reasonable topic and a smooth journey – hopefully I can finish it off in time and the effort is reflected on the grades and who knows what else!

Why take a break from academics?


Almost through my Masters’ degree, it is obvious to think of my options ahead. The process is tedious, especially as I went for my Postgrad right after the completion of my Undergrad, which means I got no full time work experience, even though I made it a point to be no less of work experience when I graduate so I capitalised on every opportunity that came along. Like many others I feel I belong to the academics and research, for my interest, aptitude and the practical aspects of it. So, whenever I was spoken to about my future plans, I said academics was what I wanted to pursue, but things are changing. Now when I am asked about my future plans, even though I know that I at some point wish to do my PhD, my answer is not the academics. Now I am thinking about what I want to do to make myself ‘ready’ for that and after coming across a very interested TED talk, my curiosity and questions were answered.

 

The researcher said, in order to create, you need to stop learning. Einstein discovered the laws of physics when he was suspended from education. So, may be you need to give your mind the space to think of gaps in the knowledge or to create something worth researching. But this is only the beginning of the list, there are so many other reasons why you need to go into the real world and get some ‘real’ experience, before contributing to creation of knowledge. And by ‘real’ I do not mean internships and work experiences. Having spent years in the industry you would know that life really doesn’t work by the book, and any theory/ research is only fair if relevant and applicable. I wonder what an entirely theoretical research would do for anyone’s utility? Also, I think the brains need a break from being ‘told’ and there is a sense of purpose in just knowing that every single day you contribute to something and make things happens in the bigger horizon. And if you work for long enough, you would have all the more reasons to come back to academics (they say you miss the student life!).

Why Recruit by Referrals?


Having graduated only a year ago and graduating soon yet again (MSc.), I am surrounded by countless number of jobseekers (including myself) and I hear about the frustration of having to ‘network’. And seeing others with more valuable ‘networks’ progress faster in their careers as compared to the ones with less valuable networks. Working with a recruitment company showed me why this happens to begin with.

 

First and foremost, the truth that many people forget is that recruiters WANT to recruit and find the best person and what keeps them doing that and makes job hunting for new graduates so hard is that the skill misfits are endemic and so many people don’t effectively communicate what they have to offer. So, naturally it is a very costly matter for the organisations to find the right people by advertising, paying commissions, interviewing, carrying out assessment centres etc. Referrals on the other hand do not need to be advertised and this makes the process not only cost effective, but quick.

 

Money is not the only matter. They say.. Recruit the character and teach the skill. And everyone would agree, judging character can be very difficult through a set of questions or activities. However, when you get referrals from people you trust, you can probably trust them for their opinion about the referred individual too. By no means do I think it is the best way of recruiting, but it has started to make sense to me why it happens so much.

 

In my personal opinion the skill and talent are just as important and networking as people want to have likable people on their teams, who would not only work efficiently but also get along with them. But networking surely helps you achieve things you are capable of earlier and easier. 

What working on the consultants’ floor taught me about landing a job?


Having moved jobs only a little more than two months ago, to work as Research Analyst for FS recruitment firm, I have started picking on bits and bobs from what I hear about what does and doesn’t work when recruiters do their job (even though I have little to do with recruitment myself). Although, I am sure there are many other factors that make a difference, but here are some of the things I didn’t know or was unsure about, before I actually came here (no hard and fast rules apply, ofcourse. Much of this is only how I have comprehend things):

Building a rapport with the recruiter/ interviewer is different from showing them that you can fit into the organisation and its culture, and also much less important. Sometimes you might get along really well with the recruiter, but might just not think you’d fit in the organisation.

Sure, running a quick google search on the person you are going to be interviewed by is a great idea, but getting too personal might not be the best thing to do in an interview. It goes without saying, mentioning their experiences, ethnic background (even if it is same as you) WITHOUT a reason is probably a bit scary.

Interviewers know when they are grilling you in an interview and they don’t necessarily expect you to be correct about everything, but they do expect you to keep calm. Most times they only want to see how well you handle pressure.

Most employers are looking for a balance. If you graduated from the top school with experience at big firms, you might be good at what you do- but the employer will be worried if you would ask for too much money? Or be too bossy? Or arrogant perhaps? I am not suggesting having a brilliant resume is a bad thing, what I am trying to say is that you must strike a balance. So, in a case like this, you must come across as someone who is humble and easy to get along with making you a complete package.

The companies actually want to recruit you (if you have been called into an interview or assessment). So, you’re doing them just as much a favour by coming into an interview as much as they are by employing you (skill shortage is a real problem!).

Using slang anywhere and ever is a big NO-NO!

Asking questions is not hassle, but showing interest. If you call in to check what might be expected of you from in an interview or assessment, the recruiters would be happy to know you want to come prepared. Obviously, being pushy would be no good either.

Being efficient is good, but being too efficient might annoy people. For instance, arrive at an interview before no longer than 5 minutes. Arriving half an hour before the interview will only ruin your interviewers schedule and probably your interview.

Good LinkedIn profile makes a difference. People actually see the endorsed skills and recommendations (things I thought were really random, but oh well!)

Art of taking an interview: Authentifaking


There are million different verdicts about what does and does not work in an interview. But this blog is not about consolidating all of those ideologies, infact this is to share an interesting response I came across in the Financial Times, where a candidate asked “Should you be yourself in an interview?

And the editor replied by quoting something that she called Authentifaking which means that ‘most people who’ve got to the age of 29 have mastered quite a few selves. There is a self with your friends, the self when talking to your boss and the self when lying on the sofa playing GTA5.’