When I was in my 20s, I had very clear expectations from my job. I just wanted to make money. I only wanted to survive.

When I turned 30, I discovered that the industry that I worked in, much like others, had changed overnight.

We are right in the middle of huge changes in the way business is done and I am sure this affects each of us in many ways. I was in my comfort zone — I thought I would only write, cash my cheque and stay ‘safe’ at home. Little did I know that change, if embraced, can be exhilarating!

We don’t even know what the workplace of the future will look like. We are preparing our kids for jobs that don’t yet exist.

But here’s the thing — every company is trying to crack the world, and this attempt carries within it a hint of the future. Here are 3 ways I looked for hidden resources within the company to signal the way forward and stay relevant.

Look for opportunities to learn: When people would mention the words ‘sales’ or ‘marketing’ to me, I would shut mental doors. Same with design. I was working in a shell, until I realized later that if I wanted to get ahead, I needed other skills. I decided to push myself a little. I took inspiration from a co-worker, a fellow writer, who “had no design bone in her body, in her own words”, but who actually designed the logo for one of the company’s ancillary businesses! I am also trying to improve presentation literacy and understand consumer behavior.

Connect the dots: I work in writing and education, two very different industries. Or are they? You won’t believe how interdisciplinary the world is getting. I shadowed an editor in a previous role and I realized that she was homing in on trends in neuroscience, which I realized will be important, because behaviour drives everything. By the way, Intel had an anthropologist on its team!

Get some perspective: One company taught me a great habit – to monitor the return on time invested. Another company taught me how to make a personal goal (starting a fitness routine or limiting outside food) as important as a professional one, every month. It’s interesting to learn from company cultures. They can show you where you want to, or don’t want to go.

There is a quote from this amazing show called ‘Mad Men,’ in which the main character, Donald Draper, says “the universe is indifferent.” I believe that too. If you wait for the world to help you, chances are that you will get left behind. Instead, look at ways to help yourself stay relevant. You’ll be surprised to know that with very practically constructed goals, you can bend any situation to your advantage.

The above blog is by Shweta Sharan


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