HR Guru Mayank Rautela offers practical advice.
Dear Reader, are you just starting out in your career and want to know the right steps you need to take?
Not sure how to prepare for your first interview? Or your first online interview?
Struggling with office politics? Or with working from home?
Have a bad boss? Or a colleague who is undermining you?
Nobody seems to listen to you at meetings?
Have you hit a dead-end at work and see no way out?
Please send in your concerns to our HR guru Mayank Rautela at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Subject: Mayank, can you help?).
Dear Mayank Sir,
Few years back, I completed my graduation and a post graduate course in finance. Post that, I didn't get a good job. On the advice of people known to me, I studied business analytics and did an MBA in HR.
Currently, I am pursuing PhD in a private university. I didn't stop trying for jobs.
I now regret taking up other subjects because it seems to the interviewers that I dabbled in many subjects and don't have work experience.
When I first applied for PhD, they didn't even send the list of guides with their specialisations. I took up the topic which my guide recommended and I am not happy with it since it was not my first choice.
I was under pressure, so I decided to let it be. My guide asked me to become a co-author for her paper in my first year. Afterwards, I came to know that my months of hard work won't be of much use since the university rules require that the scholar must be a first author.
She also made me write a conference paper on a topic unrelated to my thesis topic.
It means I spent more than a year working on two projects which have no value.
She threatened me that the stipend I receive will be discontinued. I don't have any trust in her anymore. I am forced to follow her instructions. I don't know what to do.
I would like to keep my question anonymous.
You have unfortunately let other people decide your career till now. It's time you take charge of your life and professional career.
The business analytics and HR degrees that you have are a good combination. I suggest you apply for entry level jobs in HR as there is a huge requirement of HR professionals with an analytical background.
You can connect with me on LinkedIn and I will give you some leads.
Dear Mayank Sir,
I am working for three months. It is my first job.
There are two things I keep hearing. One is think outside box. The other is step outside your comfort zone.
I am the first person in my family to work in an office. I don’t want to ask in office what it means.
Can you please explain and also tell how it helps?
There are indeed these are critical competencies to be successful in a corporate job.
‘Think outside the box’ means that you bring creativity and new thoughts in your space of work and not just follow what is told to you.
You are in the initial stage of your career but ‘being in the comfort zone’ means one is happy being in the present state and does not want to try out new challenges.
Dear Mayank Sir,
I am sure many people are facing my problem but my problem is that I don’t know how to solve it.
In my office, there are people who like to work late and on holidays and on weekends.
They shine in the eyes of the boss.
I think it is okay to do it sometimes when needed, but wrong to do all the time. One should complete work in office hours and if work load is too much, discuss with the boss so that one can have a personal life which is important as well.
But these people make the rest of us look bad even if we are good at work.
How to solve this problem without making the boss unhappy and affecting appraisals?
Most good organisations nowadays do not encourage the culture that you have mentioned.
In case it is there with your boss, you can discuss with the top management and understand what culture they want in the company.
If it's a progressive company, then they will certainly not judge someone by their long work hours because, at the end of the day, that will burn you out.
Just focus on your job and don't get into office politics.
I would like to keep my question anonymous.
I am 50 years old. I have a good position in the company but I am not top management.
More and more, I find myself being sidelined and younger people’s opinions and ideas have more value.
I work in a hotel group.
I have sat down with my seniors to find out if they are unhappy with my work but they assure me it is not so.
Personally, though, I am unhappy as I feel irrelevant.
I do not wish to stop working nor am I in a position to start out on my own as I have two children studying abroad and aged parents and in-laws to take care of.
The more unhappy I feel, the more I feel I am performing badly.
How do I get out of this problem?
Would be grateful for any advice you can share.
I think this is an impression that you have formed in your mind.
This is the time where multi-generations are part of the workforce.
Organisations are encouraging diversity in the workplace and hence employees of all ages are needed and valued.
Be positive and continue to give your best every day; the rest will fall into place.
I have a personal problem that is affecting my work.
Please don’t reveal my name.
My wife and I are facing problems. We start fighting in the morning itself. We live with my parents so they get into it too and everything just escalates because they support me.
I reach office in a bad mood and am impatient with my juniors because of that. In meetings, I sometimes zone out thinking about my problems.
I know it should not affect my work but it is.
My wife and I are trying to work things out.
For personal reasons, we have to live with my parents.
I am thinking of asking for a transfer so that I can live alone for some time but that will mean moving out of the head office and handling lesser responsibilities which I don’t want to do.
I would like to be able to separate my home and work so that I perform effectively in the office.
I really enjoy my job and work in a good company.
How can I get out of this mess and be a good employee?
I think you know the solution to your problems.
There’s one tip I can give you -- explore your hobbies or get into sports; this will give you balance and not let unnecessary issues bother you.
I would also like to caution you that if you don’t stop this behaviour at work, your company will initiate necessary action against you and that will impact your career adversely.
So separate personal problems from work and be a good manager and employee.
- You can read all of Mayank Rautela's columns here.
Mayank Rautela is the chief human resources officer at Care Hospitals.
He is a management graduate from the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies and holds a master's degree in labour laws from Pune University.
He has over two decades of experience in the field of general management, strategic human resources, global mergers and integrations and change management.
He has held various leadership positions across marquee companies, including the Piramal Group, the Tata Group and multinational healthcare organisations like CR Bard and Becton & Dickinson.
Please send in your workplace concerns to Mayank Rautela at email@example.com. (Subject: Mayank, can you help?), along with your name, age, where you work (eg, Mumbai, Lucknow, Agartala) and job profile. Do let us know if you wish to keep your question anonymous.
Please Note: The questions and answers in this advisory are published to help the individual asking the question as well the large number of readers who read the same.
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