By Hamza Sarfaraz
One thing that is universally common to every college student is indubitably career anxiety. In the contemporary world, not a single student can claim to have never been worried about his future prospects. With this in mind, LUMS CSO invited Mr. Wasif Waseem Ashraf, ex-Director HR Coca Cola and an established business consultant, to talk about career management and provide the students with an insight of the corporate world. He talked about the do’s and don’t’s of career building, workplace conduction and compensation negotiations. Given the overwhelming turnout explained how concerned everyone was about career prospects.
So, after Mr. Wasif enlightened us all with his work and experience in different corporations, there was a mention of the 7S business model (the S’s referring to structure, strategy, systems, skills, style, staff and shared values). However, later he explained to our surprise that there are infact 23 P’s. We have had only known the 4 Ps i.e. product, packaging, placement and promotion. These foreign 19 Ps were something entirely new. Besides, everyone seemed to have forgotten what they learned in Intro to Management. The speaker however still managed to shed light on the major issues without worries.
Mr. Ashraf stated his first point by comparing a person’s career to a test-match. There was a whole speech on patience, endurance, test of technique followed by a bunch of witty cricket puns. He talked about the way people choose their career and how essential it is to choose things that interest you. There is no need to jump on the hype-wagon and go wherever others are going. He also broke down the little myth about jobs about how they are a mere to-and-fro from office to home. Instead, he said, they were more dynamic and you have to be on your feet all the time. Furthermore, Mr. Ashraf compared corporate world to a jungle. In his words “You have to have the killer instinct” – in a Gekko-esque tone. He made sure to occasionally add jokes about jungle suggesting corporate people are much more humorous and easy going than assumed – that was not Gekko-esque at all.
Following that, Mr. Ashraf talked about the pitfalls of job conduct. He gave examples of how over- commitment and over-zealousness can kill a career in its early stages. How people tend to follow others and not look at their personal situation. He then gave a few tips about how to deal with your boss too – all of which had supporting examples from his career and the mistakes he himself made. Later on, he then moved to tactics of salary negotiations and finding a mentor. He spent time elaborating about how this stuff is less chance and more strategy. That things don’t happen on their own but you have to take initiative. However, at the same time, you have to be sure to not go overboard.
The highlight of his talk was over the importance of focus, patience, and endurance. He talked about the millennial generation (that’s us) and their general characteristics. He was adamant that early failure was a recipe for further success and no one gets to the top at the beginning. You have to work hard for it. The other major highlight was his likening of career moves to war moves. Using strong words like strategy and tactics and how much they can make or break a person’s career.
For a serious corporate talk, the workshop turned out to be quite a fun discussion. In the end, most of the audience left with a better understanding of career prospects and perhaps some motivation as well.
Here goes my recipe to leave a smile on your face, “Uncles” and their advises 🙂
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