Monthly Archives: April 2011

5 Signs Of When To Quit A Job

Its never easy to quit a job, not at least when you have completed more than 3 or 5 years in a firm. I was in such a quandary last summer when I quit my job of 5.5+ years. At that time, I asked myself some tough questions and arrived at a decision that best suited my career and my personal growth. Here are those 5 important signs to recognize when to call it quits:

i) Are you enjoying your job? Is you job giving you satisfaction?
There comes a point in our career where we go about our mundane activities without stopping to think if we are enjoying the process of working. My job wasn’t giving me anything new to learn, it became a mechanical task. I wasn’t growing at my workplace, in fact I started stagnating. So, I asked myself if the job was giving me the satisfaction that it used to give me, say 6 months back or a year back. My heart said NO, check with yours.

ii) Do you have room for personal growth? Do you have a life?
Sometimes, growing in the career and climbing the ladder of hierarchy at workplace takes prime importance. And we lose focus from other important things of life, like say, do we have a personal life at all? I was wasting too much time in the commute. I was shut-off from family and friends, didn’t have anyone to meet or anywhere to go as work kept me occupied. So, it became very important that I reclaim life.

iii) Have you progressed in your job? Have you been given timely promotions?
Initially my work was appreciated and I was even promptly promoted, without having to fight for it. But later on, things did not go as expected. My hard work was not being recognized and the promotion that I should have been given, was denied. When good work goes unnoticed time and again, then the management is probably trying to say that they have nothing more to offer you. So, always give yourself this reality-check of when was the last that you were promoted.

iv) Is your job affecting your health? Are you stressed out?
You maybe happy with the job, it maybe paying you well. But is it affecting your lifestyle and your fitness? Are you healthy enough or having too much fast food and caffeine taken a toll on you? Is your blood pressure and cholesterol under control? If not, then it means the job is stressing you out. And its probably time to relax. Give your body and mind a break.

v) Is your pay good enough? Are you financially secure?
This of course, is what we work for, to take home a pay. Salary is what keeps us going by meeting our financial needs, be it a new car or a house. We all need financial security and have to save up for that rainy day. But is our job paying us enough? Is there someone out there, who is doing the same thing as we do, and getting paid more for it? If yes, then why? If your current firm cannot keep up with the industry pay structure then its time to re-assess our career.

Four of the above five questions led to NO as the answer, and I went in for a change of job. I think we should all do this timely check once every two years, if not every year.

This post was first published on Yahoo Network

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in general


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5 Key Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Having attended many interviews I have learned that there are a lot of people who tell you and lot of info on what’s the right thing to do. But rarely have I come across anyone telling me on what things I must avoid. So, I have learned these lessons myself, the hard way. Here’s a small list of mistakes that you should never make in an interview :

i) Don’t embellish your resume/CV
: Its never a good idea to write about stuff that you haven’t worked on. I was part of a big project and by mistake I listed a module in my resume that I had not worked on. Somehow, the interviewers picked on this and I was stumped. I fumbled, but managed to give a convincing reply. Nevertheless, be as truthful as you can.

ii) Don’t talk too much or be too modest
: Somehow, we fall into the trap of either talking too much or being too modest. Let your resume do the talking and be ready to justify each and every point mentioned in the resume. Do not talk out of turn and do not talk too much, but at the same time don’t keep silent either. Being too modest can be harmful, so speak in a balanced manner.

iii) Dress well and appear polished
: No one wants a lousy looking employee because most often than not, dressing sense is a reflection of our attitude. Dress well and appear well mannered. The moment you walk in, the first impression is created. And that impression may or may not change. So, instead of taking a chance, be polished. Come prepared, have a positive attitude and let your body language also do the talking. Dress up in a tie/suit if required. Its better to be over-dressed than under-dressed!

iv) Don’t discuss salary unless asked to
: Pay is an important question, but it can wait. If we unnecessarily ask about pay, we will come across as desperate and money-minded. First secure the job, get to know the role and responsibility and what’s expected of you. Do not jump the gun by asking about pay structure and other salary related questions, unless the topic is broached upon by the interviewer.

v) Be on time : Last but definitely not the least, its better to be early by half an hour than be late by 2 mins. Its never a good idea to keep the interviewers waiting. Respect the value of time and be punctual.

Apart from these 5 key points, a few more come to my mind like be prepared, do not take a smoke just before the interview, don’t sound over-confident and of course, do a follow-up on the¬†interview.

This post was first published on Yahoo Network

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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in general


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5 Important Questions to Ask Before Renting a House/Flat/Apartment

Whenever I have landed in a new city, I have found that it’s quite convenient to rent an apartment. But I have also experienced that finding an apartment was just the first step. There were many other steps to go with it, and here’s what I learned to ask a potential landlord or a leasing office before renting their property :

i) When to move-in?
Once, I was told that I could occupy the apartment in a week’s time, so I walked into the leasing office with my baggage while the apartment was not ready to move-in yet. The carpet was not cleaned, the walls were not painted and the faucets were still leaking. So, please get the moving-in date cleared to the last minute and hour.

ii) What’s the length of lease and penalties for breaking it?
What happens a lot of the times is that, we commit to a lease of 6 months or 11 months, but are unable to honor it as our job can force us to move to a new location unexpectedly. Hence its very important to know the length of the lease period and what would be the lease breakage charges if any; would it be 50% of the deposit amount or 25% of the deposit amount etc.

iii) What are the utilities/amenities included in the rent amount?
A few apartments which are semi-furnished, provide us with lot of utilities. So, make sure you have a list of the items and the ones that need to be replaced/replenished before you vacate the place. The amenities could include car-park area, swimming pool, badminton/tennis courts etc. Always make full use of the amenities provided.

iv) Are there restrictions on guest visits or having pets?
A lot of rental houses pose a restriction on pets and their habits, while some of them charge an extra amount for lawn maintenance due to pets. Even guests are unwelcome in some apartments, due to security/parking reasons. So, it becomes very important to find out about these restrictions.

v) What is the rental due date and mode of payment?
The most important of all questions is the due date for paying the rent. You may unnecessarily ending up paying a let fee by not knowing this date. Also, some leasing offices accept cards and/or cheques and a very few of them handle cash. So, make sure about the mode of payment at your rental house.

This post was first published on Yahoo Network

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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in general, lifestyle


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5 Best Qualities Of An Effective Manager

Having worked in more than 10 IT projects under as many managers, I have come to realize that a manager has first to be a good leader. Someone whom we can look up to, whom we can respect for their knowledge, support, guidance and assistance when required. Only when we can respect an individual for who he is, we will be able to understand their vision and work together as a team for a common goal.

Based on above, here are 5 qualities that every manager should possess to be effective and get the best out of the resources:

i) Functional Knowledge : I was once working under a manager who had a MBA in marketting, but no knowledge of the automobile domain. All he could do was allocate tasks, but he neither understood the requirements nor the hindrances that we could face while developing the software. Hence, its very important for a manager to have functional knowledge, also called ‘domain knowledge’. Unless he doesn’t understand how a system works/functions, he would not be able to estimate the man-hours required to build the tool. Not just estimation, his knowledge can be of use in developing use-cases & flow diagrams.

ii) Good Communication : Several times we come across people who aren’t able to convey the message clearly. They are unable to deal with the client [just can’t say NO] and they are unable to deal with the subordinates because of messages that are lost in translation. A good verbal and written skill is very important for a manager to succeed. Unless he brings clarity in his communication, no work can be done efficiently.

iii) Motivate & Inspire : When things are going fine, even an average manager is made to look good. But the true test comes when things go wrong or haywire, that’s when you need a motivator. Someone who sits by you, talks to you about difficulties faced and inspire you. He may not be able to solve the problem, but at least if he listens to to you and tries to breakdown the problem into smaller workable pieces then half the problem is solved. That in itself becomes an inspiration to do well and complete the task. He must be able to motivate you to give your 100%. We once had a manager who would stay back late hours along with us, only to show that he is there. That really motivated us to perform to our potential.

iv) Create A Congenial Environment
: Not all work places have a work culture. Some places still work in the old fashioned way where a senior indispensable resource thinks he is boos and throws attitude. Or in some places. no one is ready to take responsibility thinking that the other person would. That’s where you need someone to create an environment which is congenial for work and productive too. We need to have a work culture and define certain roles and responsibilities. If one can do this, then evereything else takes care of itself.

v) Rewards & Recognition : Most important aspect of work is the recognition for it, the right people getting credit. A manager has a key role to play in this. Its his duty to be fair and impartial, at the same time to reward the worthy and to reprimand [in private] the ones causing problem. Reward need not always be monetary, it can be in terms of benefit like compensatory leave or vacation time. Only when a resource feels recognized in the firm, will he give his best. Else, what’s the point of working hard without being appreciated!

These were the 5 broad qualities that I have identified. There are a few more other qualities like being able to delegate task, have good networking capabilities, valuing people, competency, being calm and composed under pressure, people management skills etc; but they can be covered in one of the above 5 qualities.

This post was first published on Yahoo Network

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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in business


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