130 Work life phases – prioritising expertise over money…
I recently completed 8 years as a working professional and I have great memories of the wonderful experiences that I have gone through across four companies and four cities. This blog is about what I have heard (from Suresh Balakrishna via Sonia John) and my own analysis of how a happy work life can pan out. I’m glad that in all the 8 years salary/money has never been a major criteria of choosing what I do – the people I work with, the company I work for and the exposure I’m likely to get have been paramount.
The best way to look at one’s work life is to look ahead and plan for 4 phases of 35 to 40 years assuming one is ready to be part of the work force at 22/23 and works until 60 or 62. I have divided my work life ahead into four 10 year phases. The first is Learning, the second is Earning, the third is Leading and the fourth is Serving/Giving or Retiring into something more meaningful.
A lot of younger graduates I have met over the last 5 years seem a disgruntled lot (because of the high fees they pay for an MBA and the education loan they have to pay off) and make wrong career choices or end up in a not-so-happy workplace because they focus on money on day 1 in the first job. The first phase of 8-10 years should be about purely learning with little or no major saving, the second phase of 8-10 years should be about earning (investing for retirement/buying a home) which focuses on greater savings and spending time in middle management while learning does not stop and the third or penultimate phase should be 8-10 years of being in upper management and leading the department or company (all this can be done in multiple organisations and multiple cities). The giving/serving phase can be done in the role of a Chairman, as a visiting faculty or outside the organisation with a non profit as a trustee/volunteer – and there is so much to do.
Parting shot – I think money follows if one focuses on enjoying what one does. Money is never enough if one does not learn to enjoy the present and breeds unrealistic desires. But learning never stops – money with no learning is no fun.