Alumnus Pras Gengatharan (Executive MBA 2017) Vice President Portfolio Assistant/Analyst at J.P. Morgan Asset Management shares his thoughts on building career resilience.
Navigating your career and personal development can be a stressful experience. As MBA and MSc graduates, we are all too familiar with constant and relentless changes in our industries. We anticipate the uncertainties of new management, the challenges of new processes and impact of new technologies. To overcome these and other obstacles that may be in the way of success in our careers, we must build resilience.
Career Resilience has been a thing for quite some time and I have embraced it as an important skill to cultivate. There are many ways to build resilience and the following are 5 key lessons I have learned:
Stay positive when things are negative
As the age old saying goes, ‘the only constant in life is change’ but change does not have to be negative. Often we struggle to cope with change because we immediately assume the worst. A rational approach to change may help to frame exactly what it is that is making you uncomfortable. When you are able to identify this, you can make change work for you. The ability to stay positive plays a big part in how we cope with change (and adversity). Take some time to process your current situation by taking notes and developing ideas of how to use your skills and experience to get involved.
Never stop learning
Your willingness to learn may be your most important asset yet. When things are changing around you, it is the perfect time to commit to your personal excellence and engage in learning. You will notice that there is so much more to you when you make it a habit to read. Taking a regular interest in books, articles and blogs relating to your industry can be a really useful tool to stay current. An inquisitive mind should never feel satisfied, cultivate your professional curiosity.
Be the best version of You
I apologise for bringing up the term ‘personal brand’, but at a time of change it can be a powerful facet of your perception. Having a can-do attitude and showing willingness to commit to something new will put you in good stead with your company. This is your moment in the sun. Building your brand should mean that you are investing your time and effort in not only perfecting your skills but also letting your management know that you are ready to contribute to change.
Make time for people
Networking can often be mistaken for trying to meet people who can help you advance in your career. In reality, it is much more than that. Think of networking as a way to enhancing your personal and professional relationships. It is rewarding to meet with people to discuss not only what is going on in your world but also in theirs. There will inevitably be ways to share experiences and discuss ideas to help each other. It should be about nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships but they can develop into life-long friendships, too.
Make time for yourself
The last person you want to neglect at a time of change is yourself. To build resilience you need physical and mental strength and what better way to do it than to exercise and eat well. Exercising, in particular, can be an incredible stress buster. Other ways to make time for yourself is to simply do something that does not require the company of others. Whether this means to watch a film, read a book or engage in guided meditation, this should be about giving yourself a break from everything else in your life. At work, learn to delegate or share your workload with your team and take that one-hour lunch for a change.