Have you ever felt like; your professional life is stuck like this traffic jam on the way back to home? Do you come across a situation, when someone on the way to office overtakes you in a low end car and you having a fancy car stuck in a lane, where you are capable of going fast, but can’t because you are stuck behind because of someone in front of you isn’t fast enough?
If YES, then this blog post is probably going to touch your heart while helping you realise that whether it is corporate or personal life, it can be totally related the way a metropolitan’s traffic behaves. I wanted to write on this topic for quite some time and today I gave me “+POWER – that little extra PUSH”
I will try to summarise corporate life in one side drive to office
TRAFFIC: Morning is the best time, when you are starting from home, when you are fresh, perky & full of energy. You come out to your car which in most of the cases is cleaned (by you or your watchman), but you have a little smile on your face, when you crank the car and hit the gas. You feel like on top of the world.
CORPORATE: After preparing for interview and getting through it, when you step in to your first company, get that badge, laptop, go to the canteen; take coffee from the vending machine, you feel the same freshness, perkiness and you are full of energy, ready to take on any challenge, ready to learn and at a much faster pace. Can you relate to your first job?
TRAFFIC: As you move out of your apartment complex, or streets of your society you get on to the main road or highway, where you find yourself at a much slower pace than oncoming cars. You tend to feel the pressure to catch up with the pace of traffic to keep up with them and not get hit by a faster car or not left behind forever.
CORPORATE: Soon, you are assigned some project or task, you realize there are people who are much faster than you, know much more than you and you feel the pressure to learn and learn quickly to get to the speed of delivery which is expected by manager or the team. You start querying, reading, hands on trials etc. But, for sure, you know by now, if you don’t do it, it is end of the game. Though the competition hasn’t started yet, you start feeling the pressure of it
TRAFFIC: By the time you get in to the mainstream or the fast lane where you are ahead of many and can see many ahead of them, but you know that you are maintaining a good pace to keep up with the competition, you start getting comfortable in that lane. Now, as soon as you start getting comfortable, it becomes difficult for you to change the lane and you start watching cars in other lane overtaking you. That is when, you trigger yourself back to change the lane, speed up and catch up.
CORPORATE: Here, when most of the people get to a Team Lead or 1st level manager position, you feel a gush of power, connectivity with peers and confidence. Slowly when one gets in to organisational grape wine culture and start discussing what’s happening in there stream, they might lose focus from what is happening around them and get triggered when someone else shifted the stream or the lane and moved ahead (could be vertical or horizontal growth). This is the time, when your ego also gets hurt and pushes you to think hard about, what next? You decide, learn something new and try to change the lane.
TRAFFIC: Now, when you learnt this trait of traffic that you need to keep your eyes open for opportunities and change the lane whenever you see that opportunity to move, you again have a feel good factor and you start believing in you (which is good), but at times this self-belief turns in to overconfidence and you might end up sticking to a lane which is probably the fastest, you end up catching up with the one in front, but without realising that this car is really slow in front of you. As you are smart enough now, but take risk selectively, here you take a risk of sticking to the same lane, honking and hoping the guy in front of you moves out of this lane, as it is the fastest one and meant for fast people only. This is where many times, risk doesn’t pay off immediately and you lose time or lead whichever way you understand it.
CORPORATE: In corporate also, you know that you are doing good, moving fast, have all opportunities to showcase your skills and support the project or the company. But, at times you realise that you are not able to implement your ideas or move forward in your career because, someone who is slower than you is in front of you and can’t be simply moved aside. You end up waiting or taking some actions at your level till the time another direct opportunity strikes and you can take a leap forward or change the lane.
TRAFFIC: There are also traffic jams, which I face and even knowing that I have a bigger engine, much more capable than tons of other cars in the same traffic jam, I don’t and can’t simply overtake so many other cars jammed on the road or running besides me. I can see them overtaking me helplessly, but I have to stick to my principles or lane as I know, as soon as the jam is over, I have an opportunity to speed up and overtake. This helps, avoid risk of scratching the car, hitting someone’s bumper and then spending time on the street fighting and proving whose mistake what it.
CORPORATE: Nothing different in corporate life, especially in the tough company conditions, when company is struggling in different micro and macro environment. Once you reach your middle management or higher management roles, you know there are many people around you always (this is the same way others would be feeling as well) who are looking for an opportunity to jump the signal or taking the first opportunity with risk to move ahead. This is your career’s stage where you are more mature with the years of experience and you have identified your principle’s which you would like to stick to and showing trust in your leadership. You believe that right steps will pave way forward.
TRAFFIC: Once, the jam is clear, you see clear way forward, get back to your instinctive drive and reach your office and step in with a different you, your confidence level is on peak at that moment.
CORPORATE: Similarly, when you stick to your principles, do what best you can do to help your team, project, company and with company’s success, you know you were a part of the story, your confidence level reaches the summit.
After this, you reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid, where you have taken care of all your physical, biological, and emotional and esteem related needs. Now, you start working towards your full potential (Self-actualisation). Similarly in traffic, now you know that you can do much better than traffic surrounding you, but you tend to follow the rules as much as possible and keep moving forward.
Summarising the content,
“Whenever, I am out on the road, I am able to picture whole corporate culture and life and relate it to my situation at that moment. This also, gives me clarity that same situation will never be there and I know what needs to be done. I hope this small article give you an idea as well and help you relate to it."
"Stick to your principles while you are out on road traffic or corporate traffic, you will be the first one to get out of the bottleneck."