12 Nov 2016 16:11 IST

Don't be disillusioned with early corporate life

Make sure your expectations are realistic

Diwali is over and after all the festivities, normal life seems to be quite boring and dull.

Well, the situation is quite similar to when you start your first job. Many management students, especially freshers, have mentioned to me that they are disillusioned with corporate life. Their angst is mainly because their expectations don’t align with reality, especially in the context of what they do every day and, in most cases, environmental factors like their boss and colleagues.

This feeling of disillusionment is dangerous, as it triggers frustration which directly affects peoples’ emotional stability and therefore, their capability to assess any situation objectively. If left unchecked, it can end up becoming a major professional handicap, as they will view everything through the lens of disillusionment.

Handling disillusionment

There are many aspects to this — and ways to handle it. Let me start with the root cause of this disillusionment.

It is clearly a result of the mismatch between corporate life expectations and reality. In most instances, the expectations are unrealistic, to say the least. This needs to be addressed well before a person joins their first job as wrong expectations are often the reason why wrong placement decisions are made.

There are three key expectations which vary vastly from reality. If a person ensures that these three are realistic, it will significantly reduce the chances of them becoming disillusioned.

Value and worth of the management degree

The degree, by itself, has very little value. Its value is created only through what is done, delivered and achieved by the holder of that degree.

The extended logic of this statement is that a person needs to earn the respect and value they expect to get, being a management degree holder. Most wrong expectations are linked to this basic misconception — that having a degree entitles them to certain things.

Always keep in mind that no one has ever placed the degree of any individual in their offices and been paid a salary for it. Similarly, no one will treat you extra special just because you have a certain degree. You will have to earn it through your efforts.

Self-worth and self-image

A continuation of the first point is the self-image and self-worth most management graduates have — an unrealistic self-image gets created in students’ minds, which leads to inflated expectations and resultant behaviour.

Anyone who is able to understand their true self-worth and is able to have a balanced self-image would not only be emotionally balanced but also be more successful. A wrong self-image is manifested by being picky about the tasks being given, tying to avoid certain things because one is an MBA and other such acts of entitlement. Such behaviours do not help at all and will only create conflict in the work environment, leading to disillusionment and frustration.

Corporate reality

There are certain harsh realities of corporate world. These are

~ It rewards results

~ It is not always fair

~ It is a tough, adult environment

~ Things have to be earned through work and results

If one has chosen to pursue a corporate career and is pursuing a management course, he/she should know and, more importantly, accept these realities — especially that it will not always be fair. There will be a situation which will go against him/her, in spite of their best efforts.

The choice of a corporate career is largely driven by better pay scales and the potential to earn more. In that context, a student should always remember — “There is no free lunch”. He/she should be ready to do what is expected instead of expecting things and becoming disillusioned.

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