Know Everything!

stock-vector-jack-king-queen-of-spades-vector-28951519When I was doing my undergraduate I was used to be regularly questioned by my friends on my interests in information technologies being a Chemical Engineer. I used to reply back stating that I am trying to find a link between the two. Though at that time my interests were not really based on what I claimed, I found my job requiring skills in both the areas and hence helping me perform better.

Today I find knowledge of ‘finance’, ‘history’, ‘psychology’ and ‘economics’ are essential to move up. Many technical people want to stay focused in their areas of interest which are mostly very narrow and expect to gain expertise in that field. But the whole idea can be challenged. Lack of knowledge in subject areas which seem totally unrelated can be a hurdle to professional growth even on technical areas of focus.

Knowledge of ‘history’ and ‘culture’ is very important to understand why your counterpart in an overseas affiliate behaves differently, knowledge of ‘finance’ is very essential to understand why and how top management decisions are made, knowing ‘psychology’ can help handle your sub ordinates better. Applying technical judgments in business world will fail miserably. Many technical people feel decisions are forced upon them because they fail to understand business needs and in a globalized environment they feel deserted when they fail to understand the history, culture and psychology of their colleagues.

Even technically many people want to ‘focus’ their expertise only on certain technical areas. Either they consider other areas not as challenging as their areas of expertise or they feel even their focus area is too much for their lifetime. And even to reason this behavior, knowledge of Indian culture and psychology is important. In Indian society ‘engineering’ enjoys higher status as compared to basic sciences, literature… And if you apply some ‘statistics’ you will find that this is purely linked to the higher average pay engineering graduates enjoy. Whether the JOBS really do any ‘engineering’ is a BIG QUESTION! I personally felt science more challenging and difficult than engineering. And today when I read the ‘history’ of ‘science’ itself it is difficult to make judgments on the validity of engineering we are doing now which are again based on science.

From childhood this idea has been drummed into us again and again: stay focused, jack of all trade makes king of none etc.. It might be true if our objectives are broader considering our lifespan on earth. Pathetically these objectives are too narrow or too ‘technical’ that it prevents achieve these objectives. Most of the seemingly unrelated subjects are highly correlated and technologies have very small lifespan. Hence to be successful it is essential to ‘KNOW EVRYTHING’

Note: The word ‘technical’ is not used with the right meaning in this blog. Even I was stamped non-technical by few people. To them technical is IT and rest of the world is non-technical 🙂

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Workflow’s Children

There is a scene in the movie ‘Up in the Air’ where an executive would be creating a business process workflow to fire an employee. The intension of creating it was that any dumb person can get to do that just by following the workflow. Funny it may be, but that is how life and businesses run today and everyone wants to stick to it.

In work it is more evident. The previous generations understood the way businesses are run better than we do coz they had opportunities to work out different strategies to get things done. But however the current generation is tied up to workflows defined by the earlier generations which they deemed fit for the time they were initially introduced. Still most practices are still being followed though the mind doesn’t admit the reason it should be followed in current times. There practices are those where still scientific proofs are yet to be established. Reward management for example is one area where many companies are reluctant to change. Many things happen the way they happen just because it had happened the same way before.

So it is in life. From the day a child is born till he grows up to 25 it is most influenced by a definitive workflow. It is difficult for me to explain what i mean but some thought can make one understand. Like going to school, joining college, getting a job, getting married, having children etc… Though it is quite true that following an established progress path in a definitive timeline can help one limit risks of failure, the problem I see is that a person who thinks to break the custom and follow his path is often seen as a route to failure to such an extent that the whole society forces him to failure. This approach I feel is inhibiting creativity in humans and doesn’t differentiate us from monkeys.

Time to ‘THINK’

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