11 Jan 2019 20:16 IST

Set aside anxiety, shape how your year turns out

A person who puts in enough effort comes out on top, even in the most adverse of situations

Every year, there is a pattern that appears by January in most management institutes — three distinct groups of students are formed.

- Students who have been placed

- Those who are yet to be placed

- First-year students who are fretting about summer placement or the lack of it

The common thread among these groups is anxiety. Whether they are placed or not, a large number of students seem to experience this emotion. I understand students who don’t have a placement yet feeling anxious. However, those who have a job offer in their hand but get worked up about whether they made the right choice or not makes no sense.

Positive alternatives

Instead of being anxious, which is a waste of time, students can leverage this period to gain positive long-term outcomes. Here are some ideas I often share at campuses:

- Enjoy the last few months of student life: If you have a job or summer internship offer at hand, the immediate, short and medium term plans are taken care of. Realise that student life, these relatively care-free days, is going to end soon. Work pressures, targets and demanding bosses are going to be the new normal. Slow your pace, enjoy the company of your friends, read more, find interesting things to do, counsel/help your juniors, among other things. Essentially, do things without any agenda or expectation. Do it for the joy of doing it.

- Hone your skills and information required for the job: This is, again, for those who have a placement offer in hand. Read up on the company and the job. I do not mean the generic facts that can be found with a simple online search, but insightful information, such as what the company culture is like and how things work. Second, put together a list of skills that would be required for your job. The reality is that you will not be proficient in all the required skills and, in many cases, not have a clue about many of these. At the very least, start getting information about these skills, explore options, and see if you can develop some of these skills immediately. One such skill is communication and most students have a severe short-coming with regard to this.

- Plan a short term/interim solution if there are no job offers as yet: The irony of employment is that there are always people looking for jobs and many companies looking for employees. One of the key reasons for this is the perception of jobs that are available, such as a sales person. You might consider it blasphemy that such a short-term job is being suggested to a person who is to be an MBA graduate. Accept the reality that not having any placement yet is largely due to a severe skill handicap. One of the most common skill handicaps is poor communication skills. Therefore, take up a job that helps you overcome this.

The year ahead is in your hands and will shape itself according to how you use your time, focus and how much effort you put in. Economic indicators, job markets and employment forecasts will always go up and down. One thing that will never change is that a person who puts in enough effort comes out on top in the most adverse of situations.