Friday, April 22, 2011

What Does It Take to Create an Opportunity?

Ajay works in a software development center in India, they call it captive unit. His team is distributed geographically; half of the team is in USA and half in India. He is with this organization for quite a long time and until recently never thought to leave it. Well, definitely for some reasons. He considered himself well paid. He earned respect from his colleagues for his work and intelligence. More than anything, he enjoyed his successful STATUS among his friends and family. Recently, he started feeling to do something more. Ajay knew that his definition of “more” was not something very fancy like his organization’s Mission-Vision statement. But he was clear that he wanted to do something UP in the value chain, where he can perform some creative work and challenge his comfort zone to learn new things. He was hitting the ceiling within the boundaries of work; he was doing for past couple of years, almost of the same complexity. He was worried that if he keeps on doing the same work his growth was at stake. And, in spite of adding number of years in his experience, he would just repeat the same work every year. He questioned himself, 10 years of true experience or 1 year of experience 10 times?

Ajay always aspired for creating something meaningful. This is true that with the prevalent offshore/onshore model, the system never prompted him to look at a bigger picture. He was so busy in cutting the stone that he started forgetting the cathedral. Despite working with a very talented team of learned people, who were very much aware of the One Team concept, he was always required in the later stages, like coding, maintenance, and support, of the projects. In his own style, bit sheepishly, he tried to convince, people in position, that it would help projects if he was somehow got involved in early stages too. You guessed it right; he couldn't make any impact. On one occasion he was told the TRUTH that he didn’t have the required skills. Ajay considered this as a catch-22 situation; he didn’t get the right kind of work, due to lack of skills; and he was not skilled, due to lack of exposure. He even considered himself as a pawn in a system where he doesn’t have sufficient influence. Whatever he tried, he found it tough to become part of the decisions making, where he believed himself able to contribute and made an impact.

Ajay was not happy to be in the habit of complaining and whining about the system all the time. He was fed-up. Somehow, he figured out that blaming his bosses and doing nothing was not going to help him. He figured out that people in other industries and countries also share his pain and his situation. As he genuinely tried to make himself aware about his situation, he stopped crying about the policies, the government, the nationalist theory, and everything of that sort. It really helped him once he realized that his state is not just an outcome of off-shoring or outsourcing, it’s everywhere. It happens when people don’t take their own responsibility. And one day, he did the right thing. He took his own responsibility. He took the plunge.

I know you are curious to know how Ajay is correcting his situation. It took a while for Ajay to figure out, which may look like a very simple thing to you, that all he needs to do is to START DOING SOMETHING, without worrying too much about the result and outcome in the beginning. He is ready to make mistakes while he tries to figure out his true call. As a first step, he started noting down his dreams and fears. And from there he took another baby step by creating a Portfolio of his UP IN THE VALUE CHAIN work, which he started sharing with his friends and colleagues. Ajay is confidant of doing something meaningful. Now, he is a journeyman, he doesn’t complain, he is achieving his goals, piece by piece every day, he is happy, moreover he is interested in experiencing the answer rather than just sitting and blaming his situation. He is not trying to know the answer before starting anything.


  1. Prateek, you nailed it. So true - the real joy is in the journey. No point arriving at a place where there is nothing to learn, explore and experience.
    I kind of know the protagonist in this story :)

  2. Its not a story of an Ajay. Many professionals in the world are very keen to do something besides regular work for their community and which gives them satisfaction. But, due to strong willpower, they find themselves unable to steal time for their routine work and give excuses like work pressure, family responsibilities etc..
    They should learn from the above example and take initiative toward the direction of fulfilling their wishes instead of thinking about the nature of work and their outcome. If they take few steps, it sure that that they will get responses which will encourage them to continue.
    One speech of our holy GEETA is perfect here - "People have right only on their action not on the result".
    Prateek, aren't u a good example of this?

  3. Nice Sketch of the situation. And easy and interesting way of putting it in a story.
    This will be very helpful read for all fresher’s who are going to start their career or just have started after studies. Hope many Ajay can start doing right thing in right time.
    Good Post! Keep writing.

    Best Wishes

  4. Very Well said and nicely scripted Sir.
    What I understand is we need to see and feel where do we stand and in which direction we are moving and if we feel our paths are distracted then immediately start trying the different directions.
    One can start more happily and confidently, if he can see what is that SOMETHING which needs to be started.

    We need to Poke the Box countlessly as Ajay did !

    Good Luck!
    Keep Posting and Thanks for Sharing Sir :)

  5. 10 years of true experience or 1 year of experience 10 times?
    It’s quite true in many cases. Due to some reasons, we some times stuck in one place and love our comfort-zone. We started hating work, company, collogues, family and friends without realizing the root cause of problem. Well said "We have to START DOING SOMETHING, without worrying too much about the result".

    You have done great work by expressing your thoughts in nice and simple way, now its people turn to read and get the benefit from blog.

    Thanks for Sharing

  6. Some of your post are like daily doses a professional should take for keeping himself motivated. And this comes as a best prescription.

  7. Achieving the goals, piece by piece every day would make an individual satisfied & it's same like a baby when he goes to the school & learn all new things one by one and moves a head.
    In that way you feel happy & do things differently to reach to your goal.
    All I can say is that "Successful people don't do the different things but they do things differently. Now Ajay is also following the same.
    Keep the good work up & keep moving!! :)