Monday, September 21, 2015

Career Advice For the Uninitiated

So last week I was had lunch with a man who had worked in Amway for 10 years, and as we were talking he said something that pissed me off quite a bit; he said “Mizo boys are useless, lazy and they don’t take their jobs seriously, but Mizo girls are very hardworking”. I did not like the way he was so quick to generalize all of my people, when I know many Mizos boys who work very hard, and hold very respectable positions in top industries.

Anyway that night I thought a lot about what he said, and wondered if there was any truth to it; why and how did he come to such a disturbing conclusion about my bros. I shared the incident on our Mizo bloggers whaatsapp group and we had a very interesting discussion. A lot was said with no real conclusion, but that’s not the topic of my blog today, it may be related but not really (I don’t even know if that made sense). My blog today is an advice to all my Mizo bros as well as non Mizo bros about to start their lives as an independent working man.

I believe that had there been someone to give ‘the guys’ who were unfortunate enough to be labeled lazy, useless and don’t take their jobs seriously, appropriate career advises they would have been better off and this is my attempt to reduce such incidents. So here they are:

Know what you want to do for a living.
I always knew I wanted to be in advertising, but never knew how to get there, so I ended up wasting 2 years of my life doing my MBA and then another useless year working in Samsung finance department till I found my way to advertising. If you’re good at something and you like doing it, go for it. Don’t worry about the finances, it will come one day. It’s better to do what you like than to hate what you do. If you want to be a carpenter, be the best fucking carpenter. There is dignity in labor.

There’s a world beyond Mizoram
Move out of your comfort zone. The best of you will come out when you face challenges and fail over and over again. If you want to start a business, think beyond Mizoram, there’s a whole country and even the world to explore. Holding a government job is good, or a MCS or engineer or doctor, teacher, nurse etc. but so is being a copywriter, designer, game developer, social media strategist, event manager, consultant, so many amazing jobs. I will never understand why everyone I know wants to go back home right after they complete their studies, I want to eventually go back home too, but not until I’ve made my presence felt. I'm not judging but that's just me or maybe its just that there's job for my line of work back home. 

Be confident and show it.
If you show insecurity in the corporate world, the big boys will bully you and eat you alive. If you have an idea, present it with confidence. When you’re introduced to someone, shake their hand firmly; show them you are their equal. Bosses love young, dynamic and confident employees and believe me women like it too. So there 2 birds with one stone.

Stay curious and ask questions
Be nice to everyone from top to bottom level employees. There’s always something to learn from everyone, try to spend time with them and ask questions. There’s so much to learn from people’s lives and experiences. Soak in their culture and learn to think like them. Remember to always stay excited and motivated.

Never say No
Sometimes you will get orders from bosses that may sound/seem impossible to accomplish; but never say No. Try to do it anyway. In your process of failure or success you will learn so much more than your regular “possible” work. You will research more, learn new tricks and your brain will function faster than usual and whether you fail or succeed you will be better at you work EVERYTIME!

Show them what your worth
Like I said before, don’t worry too much about the finances in the beginning, I mean it is important but it’s not everything. If you work hard enough the money will come and when it comes nothing can compare to the feeling. I Started with 5000 a month, spent nights sleeping in the office I worked my ass off, worked on weekends and  never complained, well I did complain (sometimes complaining is fun) but I never gave up. If you work hard enough, companies will give you what you're worth, if they're not, others will. You are what your worth, so keep yourself and your skills sharp.

Stay Creative
Creative doesn’t mean you have to be an advertising expert, be creative in your own line of work. Explore new ways to do things, if it hasn’t been done your way, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Everything can change, every process, every style etc.; there’s always room for change and a better way of doing things. Challenge and question ideas, processes and if you have a better way, present it but never be condescending. Some ideas will be appreciated and most rejected but don’t take it to heart
Start Saving
Don't make the same mistake I made of not saving. Start saving from as early, maybe just 500 a month for the first year will do, then when you get a raise increase it to 1000. You will need them for a rainy day. Make a monthly budget of how much you spend on clothes, food and going out for parties and try to stick to the plan.

That’s all I can say for now as I have to get back to work. Oh, and learn the local language it will take you a long way in your life and career. Last but not the least let go of your pride and learn to respect everyone, you will not always have great bosses but respect them and learn as much as you can from them. I have never been in a position where I did not learn something from someone. (I hope i didn't sound too preachy)


Anonymous said...

Always an interesting read General Zakk! So...i would like to zone in on the issue with us Mizos especially Mizo Bros...That concept of "tlawmngaihna" we all grew up with and pride ourselves of is truly a blessing as well as a curse. Why?...There is no diplomacy in the process.It's all about getting down to business without being aware of the bigger picture.That critical awareness and a bit of sarcasm to make ourselves more well sometimes embrace the dark side and learn from it would increase our miles for the better :) As for embracing the local language, if you can atleast make a fool out of yourself by giving it a try champions over not even bothering to learn it. Hoping the gifted and talented Mizos as well as others reflect on our presence especially in India.

Maisek said...

Nice read...👍

zakk sangkima said...


Rempuii said...

A gaihnawm khp my....naupang xok te a inspire /guide ngei beisei ag...

zakk sangkima said...

@Rempuii Thanks, I hope it does inspire them to be more than ordinary. Cheers! :-)

Anonymous said...

Great inspirational post from a hard working Mizo Man that is long overdue. I hope you continue to inspire younger lads from the community.