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?

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!

What we can learn from the Gentlemen…


From time to time, I self-evaluate myself, my life and everything around me which I can have an impact on. So that I could try and be my better self every single day. I have been observing and thinking and I came across some striking and very constructive habits, predominantly possessed by men, don’t get me wrong, some women do too, but I believe it comes naturally to men while women have to strive to develop these habits, like myself. While these habits have constructive implications for most things we do in life, I see them as vital for career progression and growth, especially in a work force which is more or less a ‘man’s world’ (Its changing!). So here’s the two of my favourite ones:

Solve the problem
They say sometimes when women talk about their problems, they don’t want solutions, they just want to be listened to. That’s alright as long as the one you share your problems with is limited to a trusted, close few. But we do this at work and in social circles excessively, women or men neither is it appealing nor constructive. Infact many would see it as a waste of time. If you can appreciate that there is a problem, don’t just leave it there – Take it, twist it, shake it, break it – Do whatever until you make peace with it. If it happens so, that there is nothing you can do about it, then is it really worth your time to discuss it?
Having said that to even understand or recognize a problem you must hear and say – but excessively complaining about things doesn’t seem like the most productive use of time, when you could rather be changing and shaking things.

Be full of yourself
It’s an absurd thing to say but I have seen way too many women shy to own their successes and achievements. The idea is: If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? You have got to start believing in your abilities and your decisions. And above all you need to know that you deserve what you are striving for. Sure, you learn from others, you need the luck, prayers and blessings, support from others etc but in the end YOU need to make things happen. Self-awareness is a gift, you need to know your strengths and your weaknesses, and especially when it comes you career you have got to build the former and manage the later. Personally, I find power posing to be an excellent help in this department.
Both of these habits, I believe, would make us more constructive, productive, happy and successful individuals and professionals. But these, with everything else, need to be adopted in moderation. No one wants to know or work with an arrogant bully or a complete bore.

On that note, keep learning from everything and everyone!

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. 

Why merge, despite the divorce rates?


What are the things we look for when thinking of a successful relationship? Compatibility, appeal, attitudes, willingness to make it work…

This blog is not about relationships, it is about mergers and acquisitions and why we see so many of them despite the fact that we all know not many of them work out well in the end. Even though M & As and relationships are two different things, the dynamics are really not that different, and neither are the factors that lead to their success and failure.

About 80% of the global foreign direct investment is made in the form of M & As and out of these 90% fail, which is much higher than the divorce rates of 40% – 50%, so why is it that facebook acquired whatsapp for $19BN, HP acquired Autonomy, Chase merged with JPM and many many more?

Understanding why would become very easy if we thought of business relations under the same light as the human relations. People all over the world are getting married because if it does work out, the life could be pretty damn fulfilling and similar is the case with businesses. If the M & As do work out there is countless benefits for businesses involved. I am not going to go into the benefits and drivers for these M & As because that’s beyond the scope or relevance for this blog.

There are things you can do to make relationships work and that’s exactly how it works with businesses. There is the potential that should you get everything right, there could be a successful future, so the success really is in your control (to some extent). Successful businesses don’t invest in M & As until they are ready financially and structurally to take on another business, and the ones that do, don’t usually end up triumphant in the end, which is very similar to being ready for a relationship – you can’t complete someone else before you complete yourself.

The way you deal with your new partner firms is also key – How much autonomy to give? How much stakes does each partner have? How much price premium do you invest in the partnership? Another factor which determines the success of M & As activity is the synergies i.e. compatibility between the two firms – what can the other partner bring into the business to add value? And how could you exploit these synergies effectively?

And in the end even if it doesn’t work out, businesses are not complete losers as they have to some extent, bridged the learning curve. So when they merge or acquire next, they would know better and do better. All these dynamics are not very different from human relationships, which is why it helps to think about businesses in an organic and ‘humane’ way, because at the end of the day businesses do exist for the people in it and for those associated with it. However, there are fundamental discrepancies in what human beings and business want and do. People want to maximize utility/ happiness and businesses wish to maximize profits, but understanding how each one of them go about doing it, does not vary very much… This is something I have learnt from economics (even though it doesn’t always work, it is an amazing stand point to start thinking about things).