Tag Archives: career

Life in the fast Lane

Recently I came across the following fact in an article on discover.com:

“More people commit suicide in New York City than are murdered.”

The instant I read that, I said to myself, “So much for life in the fast lane”. I have always struggled to understand what that phrase means. “Fast lane” towards where? I even dared to ask out loud the same question to some of the super achievers that I have had the fortune of interacting with. The unequivocal reponse that I got was, “Towards fame and fortune”. If I were to answer that question, I would say, “Towards stress, ill-health and misery.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not the guy who drives at 40mph on a 6-lane freeway. I just don’t see the point of trying to go at 100 mph all the time when you very well know that the odds of you making it are one in a gazillion.

Riding in the fast late for a while is a smart thing. Living in the fast lane is foolish. But hey, that’s just what I think.Recently I came across the following fact in an article on discover.com:

“More people commit suicide in New York City than are murdered.”

The instant I read that, I said to myself, “So much for life in the fast lane”. I have always struggled to understand what that phrase means. “Fast lane” towards where? I even dared to ask out loud the same question to some of the super achievers that I have had the fortune of interacting with. The unequivocal reponse that I got was, “Towards fame and fortune”. If I were to answer that question, I would say, “Towards stress, ill-health and misery.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not the guy who drives at 40mph on a 6-lane freeway. I just don’t see the point of trying to go at 100 mph all the time when you very well know that the odds of you making it are one in a gazillion.

Riding in the fast late for a while is a smart thing. Living in the fast lane is foolish. But hey, that’s just what I think.

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Easy benchmarking

An easy albeit crude way of finding out how your company is doing as compared to its competitors, is using www.alexa.com to find out how many visitors frequent your company’s web-site.

In the information economy where the internet rules the roost, I think how many people actually are interested in knowing about your company is a pretty decent indicator on how its doing.

Where is my industry going?

I think a very important part of planning one’s career and life is to monitor where the industry is going. Doing so can provide valuable insights that could help answer questions like:

Am I going to be out of work in the near future?
Is the industry going to take a dip making things more competitive in the job market?
Can my company survive a dip?
Is my industry looking up? Is it a good time for me to take a leap?

And tons of others.

Monkey Business

There is only two ways to win:
1. Continuous betterment of self.
2. Keeping everybody else from doing No. 1.
Most mortals, for reasons beyond my comprehension, choose No.2. It’s surprising how easily these folks forget nature’s law of evolution.
For the folks who engage in activity no. 2, I call it “Monkey Business”

Security is in excellence, not in job

Javed Akhtar, Poet

I have often narrated this incident when asked to speak in schools and colleges. The best professional advice I ever got was when I was 15 years old. I had just completed my schooling from Aligarh when my father took me to visit his friend, Khwaja Ahmed Farooqi, in Delhi.
He took us out for lunch and asked me, “What do you want to do in future?” Now at 15, you think you can do anything and everything, so I gave him five or six alternatives. He then suggested that I should become a grass cutter.
I was naturally somewhat startled by this piece of advice but he went on to say: “But only on condition that you become the best grass cutter in the world. So, if the President of India wants the Rashtrapati Bhavan lawns to be trimmed, you should be the one person he thinks of.”

He then said something which I will always remember: “Koi kaam mamuli nahin hota, kaam karnewallah mamuli hota hai (no work or job is small; it is only the worker who may be small).” Success is ultimately not in the job itself; it is in how well you do your job.

Invest in your career

Prasoon Joshi, AD Man, Lyricist

My father always told me that I should love life not money; money will come without you chasing it. Following his advice, I spend a lot of time in activities that would further my career and other interests. This has been very rewarding.
I believe that investments are essential. Going by my father’s advice, I invest in my profession, and I make money from that. I don’t think it’s a good idea to count when you are investing in yourself. You will certainly save if you calculate, but it’s not worth it in the end.