Sunday, January 13, 2008



At the outset, the article starts with a wonderful quotation of Abraham Maslow. The article speaks in volumes about the Career Planning and Career Management individually and Career Planning and Management collectively both from the individual and institutional perspective. The concept of SWOT analysis is utilized to pave the way for the right career. The repercussions like stress and burn out are highlighted if CPM is not adhered adequately. Various tools and techniques are dwelt at length in order to make CPM effective and efficient. The concepts like multipotentiality and early emerger are focussed to make the script interesting. At the end, the author comes out with a clarion call ‘not to compromise the career for monetary consideration but to plan and manage the career from all perspectives’.
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“Human needs arrange themselves in hierarchies of pre-potency. That is to say, the appearance of one need usually rests on the prior satisfaction of another, more pre-potent need. Man is a perpetually wanting animal”- Abraham Maslow in his hierarchy of needs theory.

"By spending just 10 per cent of GDP (RS 4,90,000 Crores) on skill repair, the country would be able to generate extra income of 61 percent of GDP (RS 17,51,487 Crores) for the current unemployable youth", according to India Labor Report 2007. There is a wide mismatch between unemployment and unemployability. It is well known that unemployment means lack of job opportunities where as unemployability means people having the requisite qualification but not having the requisite skills and abilities to get the job despite availability of jobs. Rather unemployability arises due to skills deficit. Career Planning and Management (CPM) will address the issue of unemployability effectively.


Because of the growing attrition rate there is greater focus on CPM by all companies. The companies find it difficult to hire the employees, as there is no skill set matching at the recruitment. This is the problem that is one side of the coin. And the other side of the coin is another problem of retaining the employees. Besides, poaching of employees by the rival companies. Likewise, problems are getting manifold at the corporate level. The companies are conducting regular workshops, seminars and training sessions in order to upgrade the skills and abilities of their employees in enhancing efficiency and efficacy. The growing competition and the rapid changes in technology also compelled the corporate to train and groom their employees regularly.

The Human Resources Department (HRD) that basically involves the employees from recruitment to retirement is gradually reinventing its role by focussing more on development of the professionals apart from their traditional role. The roles and responsibilities of HRD are getting expanded with the fast changing business environment. The liberalization, privatization and globalization have opened up the Indian economy. As a result, MNCs have come and competed with the Indian companies. Initially the Indian companies were worried with the onslaught of MNCs but gradually Indian entrepreneurs realized that there were no way out of it and began competing. Although there were many initial hiccups, gradually things were settled and the hidden potential of Indian business has come out and now we find Indian MNCs across the world which is a positive and victorious sign. All these contributed into specialization of each area and line of professional activities. There is growing professionalism in each and every area of business. So is the case with each and every department of every institution. The HRD began concentrating and expanding the roles and responsibilities related to career planning and management of its precious human resources to make it effective and efficient to check rising attrition.


SWOT is the acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is an effective tool either to evaluate career prospects or to solve any problems in day to day life. It is widely used in all spheres of personal and professional life, be it, for individuals or for institutions.

When we look at individually, SWOT analysis is as mentioned below. The person who passes out of his college and who intends to search for a right placement should evaluate himself his strengths, such as his academic qualifications, achievements, honors, any research papers etc., Academically, he should analyze his aptitude, attitude, tastes and temperaments. And he should list out if he got any distinction. Whether he has won class first, or gold medal etc., He should look at his personal qualities where he is strong at and in which way he can capitalize his strengths. Coming to the weaknesses he should analyze the subjects or areas where he is weak and look at if he can convert his weaknesses into strengths. If the person lacks a few qualities or capabilities to get a job of his choice, he should put efforts to improve himself by systematic training and practice. Regarding the opportunities the person should look at wider opportunities so as to have wider choice of survival and success in his chosen career. Rather one should look at risk minimization and risk elimination. Usually one can not avoid threats but one must be able to manage the probable or possible threats, which could be both internal and external. The threats resulting out of internal are better manageable than that of external.


After conducting SWOT analysis, one can easily come to a conclusion about one's aptitude towards career. In India, the career planning (CP) mostly lies in the hands of parents followed by teachers and friends. Rather it is advisable to look at the career from one's own perspective such as mental aptitude, social and economic dimensions. CP is a crucial factor either to make or break one's career. If one selects wrong career the life would become a hell. God gifted us only 24 hours. Out of this 24 hours, people spend approx. 6 to 8 hours for sleep. 6 to 8 hours again for social and recreational activities and commuting from work place to residence and vice versa. People work from 8 to 14 hours a day depending upon the career and service one has chosen. All these timings are flexible totaling again God gifted 24 hours a day. So most of the time is spent at the work place followed by regular sleep and then again with family.

If one gets the job of his choice and spouse of his choice s/he is said to be the luckiest. Because one can enjoy his work at office and prosper and similarly at home he can lead a peaceful and pleasant life. Either building or breaking one's life solely depends on the selection of career. Once the right career is planned, all efforts should be put to pursue the same. The right tools and techniques should be acquired to meet the goals and plans. Adequate courses, degrees, skills and abilities are to be acquired regularly so as to fine-tune with the desired career goal. Once the cherished career is achieved it is just the beginning the real battle.

There is a need to upgrade with the tricks of the trade related to the job. By accepting a capable and veteran as a mentor the career can be pursued more effectively and efficiently. Time and again there would be both internal and external problems, which have to be properly handled, and managed so as to ensure survival and success in the chosen career.

Keeping goals, which are duration based one can gradually, scale the ladder of career. Now a day, there is rapid change in technology and one who keeps pace with the changes can attune himself and can smoothly scale the ladder in any organization.


Fresher of college pass out are young and energetic and their priorities are different. They should not get into job for the sake of job. Rather they must look at the niceties and pitfalls of pursuing a specific career and must pursue after weighing the pros and cons. They must view career not only from financial perspective but also growth perspective. If they get into the right track they can pull the strings for the fast track. In most of the cases, the fresher get into wrong career track and struggle to get into the right career track resulting into wastage of precious energies, time and money. And, of course, a few get demoralized.

For middle aged, the priorities are different. They are mature and tested and tasted the life but the family problems keep pulling them behind. They easily get into the right track but may find it difficult to be on the fast career track due to family, social and economic conditions.

For those on the verge of retiring or those who are just at their fag end of their life, their energies don't support. However, they can encash on their past experience to mould themselves to provide guidance and mentoring to the youngsters.

Overall, CPM is well said than done. There are always critical gaps between planning and execution. However, the career development professional can play a vital role to fill the gaps.


Research reveals that only 2 out of 10 employees are the most suitable to get selected for placements and the rest 8 are not able to cope up resulting into stress. These two are enjoying, learning, earning and growing in their organizations. What is about the balance 8 employees?

The companies also have no option but to recruit the people although there is mismatch in the expected abilities and accepted realities. All these are leading to higher stress levels at the work front, as the employees are not fully competent to cope up with the job expectations. Inability to manage the same is leading to the initial stage of stress and subsequently to burn out stage. While stress is the initial stage, burn out is the ultimate stage.

A few well-established companies are providing meditation and yoga classes to their employees during the working hours to manage the stress. They are also providing counseling classes and conducting various seminars and workshops to highlight this menace.

If people opt for careers based on their aptitude and abilities rather on prestigious or monetary considerations the stress could be minimized to a greater extent.


• Dr. Stephen R Covey, in his book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ highlighted one of the habits such as continuously learning and growing. Education is a learning process from womb to tomb. Always learn new things and trends in the trade so as to stay ahead of stiff competition.
• It is essential to network effectively with the people in and around you. Networking should not be from one side and should be based on the policy of ‘give and take’. The growing communication taught many lessons. Although it separated people physically it connected people mentally and emotionally thereby promoting relations. Networking is a powerful tool to CPM. But never neglect the present network.
• ‘A bird in hand is worth two in the bush’ goes the saying. Never neglect the present job. There are many lessons we can learn from the present job either from seniors or peers or from subordinates. By interacting frequently with colleagues professionally, many tools and techniques can be learnt. One can create new tools from the present experience, which may become the benchmark for others to emulate. By working diligently in the same job one can rise from the rest and can stand out from the pack.
• Passion to learn and grow and passion to go extra mile will prove handy for career success. Inculcating inquiry spirit will make one to stretch out. When an individual works with passion in the same trade, there will be recognition and response and the opportunities will become manifold.
• Attending seminars, workshops and courses will expand ones mental horizons and attending such events will provide wider network and exposure. Each job has its own skills set and if one wants to get into another related or unrelated line of career, there is a strong need to acquire such skills set.
• The CV is a concrete, accomplishable tool for job search. The CV of an individual must regularly modify with the changes in the skill set and with the courses, or skills or abilities one acquired. The more modifications in the CV are an indication of more transformational changes in the personality. In the CV, try to project what the employer expects thereby enhancing marketability.
• Always be in touch with the labor market with details like potential, opportunities, changes etc., Coupled with labor market, research on the career regularly will throw new light. In a nutshell, search, research and in touch with the job market is an imperative.
• If required, be in touch with career development professional that will do your job in a professional manner. Such professionals ensure smooth career shift and career success.
• This is the age and stage of specialization. All efforts must be put to find out what exactly one wants to pursue and narrow down the options to one or two and again pursue the same up to the hilt. There is no logic in beating around the bush. Don’t let your mind waver in complexity but be in simplicity and accuracy.
• According to statistics, approx. 80,000 hours of our life is spent at the work place. Try to spend it wisely, qualitatively and happily by enjoying the same.
• Always set your priorities right and straight and pursue accordingly.
• Always exit the existing institution with sweet will and good will.


Two terms like ‘multipotentiality’ and ‘early emerger’ are often used in CPM. According to Frederickson & Rothney, 1972, “Multipotentiality is the ability to select and develop any number of career options because of a wider variety of interests, aptitudes and abilities”. In fact, multipotentiality is a person who is capable in various activities right from the scratch. Rather he is a versatile person. Such kinds of people are strong in many areas but not in in-depth knowledge. Such people can be called as Jack of all trades but master of none.

On the contrary, ‘early emerger’ is a person who is highly focussed in one activity right from the childhood. He has passion and he tends to continue in his passionate field. He is unmindful of other areas of interest. Rather he is specialist in one area. Such people can be called as Jack of none but master of one trade.

There are pros and cons in both multipotentialities and early emergers. Such concepts will help in selecting the right career based on one’s mental aptitude and attitude towards the career.


Don’t lose so much of happy life for so little money. Don’t become a round peg in a square hole or a square peg in a round hole. Identify the right aptitude, plan the right career and manage it. Acquire the right ingredients to reach the cherished career and chase it till the end to reach your goals and motivate yourself constantly in the process. And ultimately reach your beloved career. Up to here, it is only the half of the battle won and the rest half would be won only when you manage your career by acquiring and upgrading skills and abilities continuously.


Life is short and make it sweet. And don’t make your career like a prison sentence. Everything depends on the perceptions of the person. There is a strong need to strike the balance between work and life and between money and recreation. CPM as a tool, if utilized and managed effectively and efficiently, the life could be spent qualitatively leaving a mark behind.


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