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Book explores myriad career dilemmas people face

"The most successful careers are, in fact, a set of zigzag patterns, marked by spells of stagnation, interspersed with rapid growth," he writes.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
February 16, 2021 11:47:51 am
On the 10 dilemmas highlighted in the book, he says they aren't sourced from any textbook. (Source: Amazon.in)

A new book traces the journey of a professional from trainee level to the top post in an organisation, providing insights on different dilemmas in a person’s career, how to navigate and resolve them.

In The Right Choice: Resolving 10 Career Dilemmas For Extraordinary Success, management thinker Shiv Shivakumar discusses 10 commonly faced dilemmas, providing his perspective based on his experience and observations of CEOs and colleagues.

He shares lessons and learnings on each of these 10 dilemmas. The book, published by Penguin India, contains real-life perspectives of 24 outstanding professionals who faced these dilemmas or have helped people resolve them. These include 11 CEOs, six HR leaders and six entrepreneurs. Of the 24, there are 11 women professionals.

Shivakumar, who is currently group executive president (corporate strategy) at Aditya Birla Group, says careers rarely follow a straight-line path or a neat upward curve unlike what most business articles, leadership interviews and speeches would have us believe.

“The most successful careers are, in fact, a set of zigzag patterns, marked by spells of stagnation, interspersed with rapid growth,” he writes.

What constitutes a good career?

Shivakumar says what defines a good career is in itself a dilemma though a good career is “one where you learn at the start, then go on to contribute at the end when you multiply that learning, coupled with all the experience and wisdom garnered along the way”.

According to the author, from the plethora of both successful and unsuccessful careers he has seen and studied over decades, his five big career lessons are: there is no Manual 101 for a successful career; no two careers are alike, even though candidates may well have many things in common; timing is of paramount importance for a good career; a good career reaches out beyond your job’s boundaries; and the maturity to deal with frustrations at work.

He also says that this book is all about the “different dilemmas you face in a career where many alternatives may look good but you still have to make a choice. It aims to equip you to smoothly navigate your career journey – a dream journey everyone sets out on wanting to progress from management trainee to the coveted position of managing director”.

On the 10 dilemmas highlighted in the book, he says they aren’t sourced from any textbook.

They are “drawn from my varied observations and experiences over the years. They contain an even blend of logic and magic in them, where the best people talk of the magic of how they resolved the dilemma. All of these were actual situations faced by people in some manner, shape or form, at some point in their professional journey”.

Shivakumar says his objective behind sharing these learnings is to “help readers form a better understanding and appreciation of such scenarios”.

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