5 Jobs In The Gambling Market You Never Considered

By Devashish Chakravarty

With Delhi’s air quality in the news nowadays, you wonder why the situation was allowed to reach such a level. Remember the frog fable (not rooted in scientific reality)—put a frog in boiling water and it jumps out, but heat the water slowly to a boil and the frog stays there and dies. The lesson for cities, institutions and professionals here is that creeping change will kill you if you are complacent or constantly operating from a comfort zone.

Your comfort zone is a safe place where you can go to recharge or rebuild your energy reserves for the next big push. If you remain there for a long time, you may be blindsided by forces that are not under your control and that will derail your career. Are you in such a situation now?

1. Challenged industry/firm

A comfort zone is an asset for your career. That is the space where you can operate from without stress because your skills are adequate to handle the requirements of the role. Thus, the wider and deeper your skillset, the larger is your comfort zone, which you should leverage to take on more risk and handle more shocks. Consider the telecom industry, which was once a sunrise sector, but currently undergoing consolidation in the face of multiple challenges.

If you are working there, are you choosing to keep your head buried in the sand believing that your long experience in the role and sector keeps you safe and valuable or are you actively looking out for growth opportunities? Similarly, consider employees in grounded airlines. Many long-term employees continued to work in those airlines even when salaries were delayed or stopped, instead of jumping out before it was too late. Speak to professionals and friends outside your firm or industry to get a reality check on whether you are too complacent within a challenged industry or firm.

2. Bad geography

Geographical realities change. The city or country that you signed up for in pursuit of your dreams, transformed while you were chasing the next promotion or target. Today, an investment banker in London may pause and reflect before considering an attractive opportunity in Hong Kong—unlike in the past. Similarly, those with US green card dreams, currently are also considering other countries.

Local political or social upheavals, climate, regulatory and legal changes and international trade pressures may have made your current city far less attractive than when you moved in. Having spent a few years or purchased a house or having started a family there, you may have never questioned the geography you are located in. A good plan is to annually revisit the seemingly permanent decisions you have made in your career or life and do a realistic cost-benefit analysis of sticking to the decision or changing it.

3. Altered customer behaviour

You believe that you have built a phenomenal set of skills that were always considered critical both in your firm and industry and thus can afford to take it easy. Not necessarily true. Customer behaviour evolves and the strongest industry structures become irrelevant. Consider consulting firms where for ages, the “Path to Partner” was defined by deep influential relationships with a big customer or two.

However, where the old customer needed consultants for data gathering followed by analysis and solution, the new customer has benefited from evolving technology which has placed big data at his fingertips and with analytical tools at his disposal. Thus, the new “Path to Partner” for you may lie in innovating and diversifying both services and clients instead of a single deep relationship. Reading, attending industry events and an active professional network can help you recognise these changes and take actions to stay relevant.

4. Stakeholder changes

Has the ownership of your firm changed? Or are you now reporting to a new boss? While you were comfortably operating in the past and were in a strong political position, don’t expect the same when there is a change of leadership or ownership in the firm. The power equations and business priorities that you took for granted no longer hold true. Watch out for signals of change over the next quarter to a year. Evaluate the new reality and consider what changes you need to make to exist and thrive in the new reality. Else seek options that help you craft a new role within or outside your firm. Either way, expect to get stirred out of complacency.

5. Job market

Even while the world is grappling with economic challenges, India is facing its highest unemployment rate. What this means is that there may be lesser jobs or opportunities in the market for your experience and skills. At the same time, the queue of people who would love to replace you at your current role is getting longer every day. Simultaneously, consider latest disruptions in your industry and function caused by new technology. Each wave affects how business is done and potentially the relevance of your role.

Are you operating from a misplaced sense of job security where you believe that the value you deliver justifies your current compensation? To avoid being displaced by someone who is willing to work for less or by new technology, step out of your comfort zone and seek avenues that make you more valuable for your firm as well as for the market where you will face stiffer competition.

RATIOS TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF

1. Effort to outcome

Does your job challenge you? Does it take effort to reach the outcomes you deliver? Here, effort is not the time you spend, but the additional mental bandwidth you need to bring to the table to solve problems. If you aren’t aware of the extra effort, you are probably disengaged and in a comfort zone. Seek bigger goals.

2. Learning to application

Your journey from schooling till now has two parts—education and execution. You learn new skills in formal training or on the job while you apply experience and skills to deliver value. What percentage of your time is currently invested in learning? If it is less than 50%, you risk becoming irrelevant in a disruptive world. Get learning.

3. Initiative to response

In the last week or month, what portion of your time was spent in reacting or responding to situations, triggers and projects not of your creation? What fraction of your time was spent in projects or ideas initiated by you? A high initiative to response ratio keeps you pushing the envelope in your career.

4. Insecurity to comfort

Are you afraid that you may be fi red? Are you anxious about failing in your project, losing face or damaging your reputation? If you answered “no” to these, you are too secure, and your career is stagnant. The honesty and depth of your insecurities is a close measure of the efforts you put in and the progress you make. Go figure.

5. Spikes over 12 months

What are your three major accomplishments over the last 12 months? If you are scratching your head right now, you do not have signifi cant spikes to show in the recent past. That’s a clear sign of operating in complacency. Imagine yourself answering this question next year and set yourself those 3-4 goals that you want to achieve by then.

(The author is Founder and CEO at Quezx.com and Headhonchos.com)

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