So, you completed your education from a well-known institute and have started your career journey. Congratulations. But wait. A couple of years into your profession, you start realizing that not everything youwere taught at school is happening at the workplace.
You realize that after taking all the steps needed for making it to the dream job, starting from cracking the interview, what you are witnessing after taking a few steps in your career journey is vastly different from what you learnt from textbooks. Welcome to the real world of a professional life!
This is not to put anyone who has just started a journey on a career path of her choice, off, but to let you know that the reality out there is not the flashy and vivid fantasy you had of a glittering career. In other words, there is a glaring difference between what you visualized growing up and what you face in your career.
In this career development blog, I have made a list of some of these challenges that you are most likely to face in your career. Strangely, although this is the most important learning one needs on the road to building a career, these are challenges no one talks about, not least the institutions that churn out students by the thousands!
This is my list of 7 Career Challenges that Nobody will Tell you About:
- Fear Of Lay-Off
- Low Salary
- The Increasing Irrelevance of Formal Degrees For Getting Jobs
- Work From Home Comes With Its Own Challenges
- Do You Know Which Your Dream Job Is?
- Rotational Shifts
- Untrained Employees Become Unhappy And Are Disloyal
1. Fear Of Lay-Off
Fear of layoff should easily rank as the numero uno among the 7 career challenges that nobody will tell you about. This is the primary reason for much conflict in today’s workplace. Few reality checks could be as stark as getting up in the morning and getting to your workplace and being issued the pink slip. So different this is from the optimism cracking a tough interview gave you!
What career development is anyone going to have when the fence eats the crop, so to speak? Come to think of it: you have embarked on a career in the hope that you will be spending a good part of your professional life in the path you have charted out. But what if the organization that is set to give your ambition wings clips them by laying you off at the drop of a hat?
Why this challenge is important: Surely, nothing is more unnerving as the feeling of a Damocles’ Sword hanging over your head and having no clue as to which is going to be one’s last day at an organization. Fear of layoff is certainly a prime challenge to career development, a distressing one at that. It makes a professional life uncertain and leaves us unsure of the next steps.
2. Low Salary
Why does one choose a career? The sense of fulfilment, the sense of enrichment and the satisfaction that comes with scaling heights…all these are fine. But how much energy and motivation does anyone have on an empty stomach? Let us face it: we have stomachs to fill and bills to pay at the end of each month.
Our salary prospects are one of the prime considerations for choosing a career path, and with full justification. Most things in life come with a price tag. I have not heard of anyone who got a Beemer for being good-natured person. Have you? What if there is a mismatch between your pay and your financial needs and commitments? It leaves you stressed at every point of life.
Why this challenge is important: The more you feel you have to match your pay with your wants, the wider the gap gets. This makes you frustrated.
3. The Increasing Irrelevance of Formal Degrees For Getting Jobs
Another of the core challenges nobody will tell you about concerns what one considers the very foundation for a career: a formal degree. In the beginning of this blog, I highlighted just how yawning the gap between perception and reality is, when it comes to facing challenges at the workplace. One of the strongest realities one ends up facing relates to the gap between the learning gained at academics and the way the world works.
Why this challenge is important: Not much time is needed to realize that formal degrees teach you concepts, but applying them in real life at the workplace is a different ballgame altogether. This leaves you with the painful realization that the degree that you so studiously and arduously worked to attain is insufficient in equipping you with the skills needed in your professional life.
4. Do You Know Which Your Dream Job Is?
This should be one of the true challenges of charting out a career roadmap. You chose a career path based on your interest, passion and situation, but after jumping into the pool, you start realizing that after all, this is not as promising as it seemed. Imagine making elaborate arrangements for preparing a dish that you love, only to realize after tasting the first few spoons that it is not what you expected!
Why this challenge is important: This challenge is very important for the reason that the clearer your path is and the more rooted your expectations are to the ground, the lesser the chances of getting disillusioned at every stage of your career. When you chase your dream career, it is natural to feel tempted to give up and start a new one. But what if that second passion too turns out the same as the earlier one? Would you want to be a Jumping Jack as far as your career is concerned?
5. Work From Home Comes With Its Own Challenges:
Work from home is an inescapable fact of our world today, thanks to the pandemic we are all grappling with. We are realizing how useful it is to adapt this method of work, but mainly because not many people had a choice over this, and this was kind of thrust upon us.
Yet, we should not overlook some of the obvious handicaps this system of work brings in its wake. There is the problem of dividing our time between having to work, and having to go to the grocery store, or the vegetable shop, or tending to the little ones at home. This can sometimes divert our energies and concentration just when we need them the most.
Why this challenge is important: This is a reality one has to learn to live with, especially in the times we live in, where most organizations, irrespective of their size and nature, are looking to make their employees work from home.
6. Rotational Shifts
Well, everything looked rosy when you started your career. But, do you remember any management college or an experienced professional sharing the nasty experience of having to work in rotational shifts?
Obviously, talking about issues such as rotational shifts is considered taboo in professional circles. The reason: people consider it too trivial and unworthy of serious attention. After all, we are built strong, and silly things such as having to work on rotational shifts should cause us no problems. This is something most organizations and employees have taken for granted.
Why this challenge is important: Definitely, working on rotational shifts has a big impact on your health because your body will take a heavy toll in trying to adjust to the different schedules that we subject it to. Working on rotational shifts never allows us to settle down into one pattern and severely disturbs our body clock, making us irritable, stressed out and demotivated.
7. Untrained Employees Become Unhappy And Are Disloyal:
Ah, could there be a more serious challenge to one’s professional journey than to be an unhappy employee? Why do employees become unhappy? For the reason that they do not find their job satisfying, which in turn is because they are not trained adequately to handle their job and perform optimally.
This gives way to dissatisfaction with the job and makes employees resentful. The more the gap between the employee skill and satisfaction levels and the demands the organization makes from such employees, the greater the urge to look for other options.
Why this challenge is important: Being considered a misfit for the organization one works in causes grouses in the minds of the employees. They are likely to feel alienated from the organization and the rest of the workforce. They could feel a sense of insufficiency in that the organization may not consider their best shot good enough. This leaves them with a sense of insecurity and doubt about their abilities.
I agree that it is no sin to be optimistic about the prospects of one’s career. After all, few other things in life can give us the positivity of a fulfilling and edifying career. This said, there are a few realities that one has to bear in mind while taking the career path.
The 7 Career Challenges that Nobody will Tell you About, which I have listed here, are not exhaustive. At the same time, the intention is also not to deter you from chasing your dreams. Dream, by all means, and live your dream! But all that we are saying is that some realities of a career should be borne in mind.
The main reason I have talked about these challenges is that nobody spoke to me about these aspects when I started my career. Looking back, I believe that if this kind of learning had happened, I could have saved myself quite a few hiccups in my professional life.
What is your impression about the points I have made here? Do they make sense to you? Do you feel that my introduction to the realities concerning the challenges that await you on the road to your career are worth pondering over?
Please feel free to pitch in your thoughts. We love to hear from you. Your opinion and feedback will help us give you better insights.