If the recent news about IT MNCs cutting their manpower down worried you, then this article is for you. It doesn’t matter if you are currently working in IT or any other field if you are employed or a student and it doesn’t really matter if you are self-employed and running a business. Even if you are running a business this article will be useful to you if you want to be profitable, competitive and a leader in your area of work.
Economic Slowdown and Men
Economic slowdown brings maximum worries for men, especially in India. This is because Indian women are increasingly NOT participating in the economy. According to data from the Government of India the workforce participation of women in India has reduced. This may sound quite contrary to the fact that more and more women are getting a formal education and even technical education. Also, when more and more skilled women enter the workforce, the cost of the labour force reduces and more MEN become unemployable.
Since this article is not to search for reasons why women are not participating in the workforce despite being educated, and what are the pros and cons of the same, we will refrain from that discussion. But we understand that the economic slowdown hits the male workforce the most, even though women may be indirect sufferers. (Feminists, however, can still say that women are primary victims of slowdown).
Since males are the worst affected by the economic slowdown it is more important for the males to understand how they can keep themselves safe from an economic slump.
Networking – The Key Factor to be Employable
No matter how educated you are, no matter how skilful honest and productive you are; your career may not fly as compared to another relatively less knowledgeable person because of poor networking skills. The correct networking skills can make one introvert person fly in the job market. Moreover, networking may also elevate one in the leadership cadre in a company. Because there is no alternative to networking in the leadership area.
Networking – Men are at a Disadvantage
Introvert people and mainly men are more at disadvantage in networking, compared to their women counterparts. This is because the internalize misandry in people very often discriminate men against a woman of similar or lower calibre. Women are naturally skilful in their social skills and many men are equally awful in the same. But in the changing job market, where soft skills matter the most, having good networking skills is a more important factor for the male workforce than the women workforce.
So, it is important that men understand they are poor in this aspect and should consciously try to improve their networking skills. To start with, they may learn first to shake-off their internal misandry and start valuing other men around them for their contribution and skills. If they find any better woman who has grown in her positions simply for her networking skills, it is better to learn something from her. Now I know what many men may be thinking here – “Oh, women can sleep with others and make sure their career grow or else file false cases to make sure that happens. So, it really doesn’t matter to them.”
So, even if that is true and if we consider that to be a great advantage for women, it is better to be more worried about our poor networking skills rather than criticizing their ability to sleep around to fly in career. Also, if nothing works for them, they can simply marry a man to secure their life (like what happened to Kingfisher air hostesses after that airliner was closed) and future. So, it’s the men who need to understand this huge disadvantage they have in the key skill required to be employed in the job market during an economic slowdown.
Being Introvert is a Curse
Being introvert in today’s job market is a curse mainly for men. This is because, no matter how effective and skilful they are, another person can get away doing little but showing-off more to others and being relevant. If you have noticed many hard-working guys always slogging in your office and some others enjoying their lives, this is the reason. Women can still do better by using their charm or simply smiling at someone or going out with someone for dinner. It is always a man who suffers the worse for being introvert. So, I will first give some tips to those introvert guys to come up.
Introverts and Social Media
You might have seen that women are most active on social media. They get more likes, shares, views and comments no matter how much garbage they throw around. A woman creating sexism, bias, hatred and garbage still win more hearts and followers than a male of even better calibre. For introverts, social media may be a great tool to unwind themselves and project their worth hoping that others will understand that. Social media poses less threat compared to direct interaction.
One needs to be tactful in social media postings and avoid direct fights with others. Again, there is a gender divide around that as well. A woman getting into fights with many will still retain more followers and may regain followers compared to men. A man posting a view that others don’t like is branded as a loser, an asshole etc. whereas a woman can be branded as a liberal and progressive for the same idiotic view.
For male introverts, it can be more intimidating to effectively counter opposition on social media. So, when they get severely criticized or lose followers, they get disheartened and leave social media and become more introvert. So, the golden rule to remember while being on social media is –
Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does.
Sometimes it is better to joke about yourself and laugh the negativity away.
Blogging for Introverts
Other than platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin; Blogging is another social media platform that can provide a boon for introverts. Since many introverts can’t excel in the presence of other people around and since their observation and analytical skills are generally better compared to others, they can take advantage of that and start blogging. Blogging on areas of their interest, technical blogs and blogs related to their profession may be an excellent way to create one’s brand and network. But while blogging on one’s professional area, one needs to keep in mind not to violate his company’s policies which can very often be critical and lead to job loss rather than keep the job.
Continued blogging on the areas of interest not only improves one’s expression abilities, but it also improves one’s knowledge and practical experience. Criticism on the blog and various discussions by other visitors only improves one’s knowledge and creates a way for innovation and out of the box thinking.
In this aspect, you can try to invite and include relevant people to follow your blog. Since continued learning is the only way to stay updated on the areas of your interest, it is also important to write about what you learn and then get into the conversation to understand it better. This way your knowledge and skill development will be complete.
The ‘Loose-touch’ for Introverts
The feminists have told us about the Good-touch and the Bad-touch. Today, I will tell you about the ‘loose-touch’ and it has nothing to do with sexism.
Most often in our social media interactions, we have some people who may not follow us or like any of our posts but still, they may be influential or experts in their field. It is important to keep a ‘loose-touch’ on social media with them. It’s like commenting, liking, sharing their posts or getting into discussions with them.
These people often may come to our help in the time of economic turmoil and job losses and provide us with important leads that can change our lives. Since their network is different from that of ours, we can get exposure to a completely different set of people and a different network in time of need.
It is important to understand with whom you want to be in loose-touch. These people maybe someone you met during any company offsite, outdoor events, seminars etc. If they are on your social media network, and you regularly see their posts, you may still get important information that can prove to be a treasure.
Training for Skill Development
If networking with people either in your real life or in the virtual world is the key today to find new positions and easy referrals for yourself, we can’t ignore the importance of developing real skills through several skill-development pieces of training. Nowadays all leading IT firms provide enough training to their employees and have an online repository of training that an employee can take without any cost. So, while getting trained on certain skillset by paying money to an outside agency is always an option, it is better to search internally for training and taking up only relevant training that can help your career. In this aspect, it is also important for you to understand what kind of people should attend the training or what value the training is going to provide to you before you join any training. This will save both your time and money.
However, the best lot of training that is always proved to be the most value-adding for all is the real-time project experience (on-job training). No amount of classroom or online training can give you the experience you gain by working on those areas. Nowadays, big companies and mainly IT MNCs provide such stretch assignments to their employees. These stretch assignments sometimes give them billing codes, and sometimes these come only for a temporary basis without any code. Since these are most value-adding to your career, in the long run, you need to grab such opportunities coming your way to getting the most valued skill development and you will probably need not go through boring class lectures or online courses.
So, if you are employed in an IT firm, it is important that you look for stretch-assignments to gain maximum value of your time. You learn the maximum when you try to apply your knowledge and that is when creating sustained long-term results.
Stretch-Assignments for Married People
If you are a married person, such stretch-assignments may be extremely difficult to manage. This is because you need to perform these over and above your normal family duties. Also, if the assignment is outside your normal working hours then it will become extremely taxing on your health and family life. When your normal assignment itself takes more than your working hours and you need to stretch under normal circumstances, then again, these assignments become impossible to execute.
So, before you jump onto a stretch-assignment evaluate all parameters and check if there is any work from home option available. Many IT companies give work from home option to their employees to improve their productivity. This will be very helpful if available. Also, you need to compulsorily speak with your manager in the office and talk to your family back home before you take any such opportunity. It is important to get an agreement of your family members about your stretch-assignment so that they don’t get frustrated because of your inability to do certain things or your unavailability on certain family occasions. Your family should understand that the stretch-assignment will enable you to continue to be employable in the industry on the eventuality of a corporate restructuring.
The only reality in the corporate world today is continued corporate restructuring and skill-orientation. The challenge is more in the IT industry because the ever-changing technology and client business need to drive these companies to always restructure themselves. Not only, new skill orientation but also the implementation of lean methodology often cuts down many redundant processes in these companies. Introduction of AI and automation technology often leads to automated workforce rather than something being done manually. All these require these companies to continue to restructure themselves and that is why these companies continuously keep their workforce upgraded. If you can keep yourself in sync with this process, you will be able to keep yourself employable, and your educational qualification really doesn’t matter here.