Did I get it right? Reflection on Professional Aspirations

It is quite easy in this age of connectivity to find tips and guidelines on how to excel in a professional environment, but choosing between the plethora of options can be an issue. More importantly, how do we know if a certain guideline would work well for our situation or not? To resolve this dilemma, I have gotten the help of an actual professional and asked for her insight on some tips which I have gathered from a mentor.

I came across some very interesting tips on professional life by Mr. Sohail Rizvi who is leading the HR Department at HBL (a leading banking institution in Pakistan). But after forming my own thoughts on these guidelines, I got to talk to a professional in my network and asked her about her insights on these tips and let me tell you, it was a great experience. Before the details of my discussion, here are the guidelines which I am talking about:

  • Put your time in: Everyone starts out doing grunt work till trust is proven
  • Don’t talk badly about the company or about your boss
  • Take control of your relationship with your boss and team members
  • Find a mentor and manage the relationship strategically
  • Join a professional body and build your network
  • Embrace change and reflect on what you are learning daily

I talked to a professional who has been working as Finance Manager in a multinational organization and her feedback on these tips helped me in my understanding a lot. More importantly, this discussion broadened my mindset and I got to learn even more significance of these tips.

Now I will share her personal experience and insights with these tips in her own words, so here goes:

Put your time in: Everyone starts out doing grunt work till trust is proven

I can easily relate to this tip as when I started my job, I was the only MBA in the company while most others were ACCAs and similar certified accountants, so I had to struggle initially to earn my place. My colleagues and superiors were not comfortable in handing me important assignments in the beginning, but it was a small phase. I proved with my attention to detail that I was worth more than I was doing and now I am a valuable asset in my company.

Don’t talk badly about the company or about your boss

I think this statement is so significant that every professional should have it at the back of his mind. When we are at our workplace, we should try to maintain a professional behavior. Backbiting and whining about your boss will only make matters worse for you. And believe me, no matter how much trust you have put in your colleagues, never share your bad work experiences with them, it always gets to the person you are talking about.

Take control of your relationship with your boss and team members

I can say that this is somewhat relatable to my experience. While I agree that my personal mood and mindset matters a lot in determining how my day will go, but some things will always be out of control no matter what I do. There are good and bad peers, and you have to deal with everyone accordingly. If something is getting out of control, all you can do is “try” your best.

Find a mentor and manage the relationship strategically

This is a good tip but it will be a hit or a miss depending on the person whom you choose to be your mentor. Sometimes, no matter how good and caring a person might look to you, he can be equally different on his inside. So I would emphasize more on the finding part. Before you decide that you want someone to be your mentor, try you best to evaluate if that person can really be a good mentor.

Join a professional body and build your network

This is something I am trying to do presently. Although joining online pages and communities matters, being part of a professional accountancy body like ICAP or ICMAP can be a huge advantage. I am thinking about continuing my studies as well.

Embrace change and reflect on what you are learning daily

I agree, if you get in your comfort zone, you will lose the potential to grow. You will shut yourself from learning new things. I have been a victim as well. I cannot believe how dull I have gotten after a few years in my job. I plan a lot about starting a new degree or hunting for new jobs, but every day I am indulged into my slumber more and more.

These are the valuable insights which my friend gave to me in our constructive discussion. You can see for yourself, how her responses have signified these tips and how she has improved some of them with her experience. I specially liked her tip in choosing a mentor.

Now in sharing this experience, aside from giving you a good dose of professional guidelines, I also want to show how feedback can improve your mindset about certain aspects of things. I am glad to have shared these tips with my friend, as her feedback has improved my understanding and she has specifically highlighted the important parts.