Wednesday, October 05, 2011

You cannot learn to swim when you are close to drowning

I read this question in the 5 October, Times of India from a student named Nidhi:

" I am in my 4th year doing BTech from Jaipur. I am a bit tensed about my college placement, so i want to do some course which can help me in my recruitment in a good software company. What course can i do?

If you have read my blog of how Vinod Kambli missed the bus because he tried learning something when it was too late, you will understand the meaning of the heading of this blog. As i said in that blog, some skills like coconuts take long time to seed and mature while some like sugarcane take short time to mature. If you do not anticipate like Nidhi, you are too late to do anything. Taking course in the final year helps, but is not enough to help you get through in a software company, because software companies have too many choices. This is the common mistake all individuals with cognitive talent do.

If you read the case of Casy , a CA student, you will see the repeat of same pattern. Despite doing CA, which is one of the toughest course in knowledge work, he was not able to find the job he wanted because he 'woke' up too late. And when you woke up too late, it is double whammy, so to say:

  • On the one hand, as Casy has to learn something in a short time, he is already stressed. And stress is  not good to learn something 'new'.  
  • As Casy did not get selected in the first companies because of his poor preparation, it further demotivated him and increased his stress further. Further, as some of his friends ( who had scored lower than him) got selected, it increased his stress further. 
  • Not able to get through an interview, of a company, say TCS or Infosys, shuts off the window for Casy. Now Casy cannot apply to TCS or Infosys again, at least for the time being. Opportunity window is closed for him. 
 So two things are happening simultaneously: On the one hand, because of inadequate preparation, he is not getting through the interviews. While on the other hand, as his opportunities are slipping, his options are decreasing. This is a vicious cycle at its worst. What do you think happens to such students like Casy?  

You are right. They pick the first available job ( which is perhaps the worst choice!) and move from the 'ditch to fire'. They have just 'postponed' their problem from today to tomorrow. Now they go further in the muck. In other words, because of one mistake, you keep on doing more mistakes and keep on getting in the muck deeper and deeper. 

What is the best way out of this jam? If you understand the Unfolding of cognitive talent, you will realise that this stage of Nidhi is the end of Stage I of Talent exploration:Funneling of the talent zone by choosing the domain and task. At this stage, you have to 'think through' with proper guidance, decide what is best for your current abilities, and then 'plan and prepare' to get it.  Nidhi at least is more lucky. She is sure that she wants to chose the domain of software, Casy did not even know that.  However, i am not sure, if Software is Nidhi's choice or compulsion

Many students today chose software, not because their talent is suitable for it, but because that is the easiest way to get the job today. That is the path of least resistance. I have worked in a software company and have met many students ( not just handful) who rue their decision of choosing 'software' domain and then curse themself for a long time ( and sometimes throughout their life) because they are handcuffed in a golden 'chain'.  They cannot 'leave' software domain because they will never get any other 'domain job' at the same salary. 

For a child who is in SSC or HSC ( 8th to 12th), it is therefore important to take these decisions in a right way. The earlier he understands how his cognitive talent unfolds & what is coming on the next turn, the earlier he can start the 'preparation'. And if he is 'armed with the right knowledge and tools', he navigates through the journey smoothly. Even if he encounters hailstorm or hurricane, he is ready because he is equipped. 

Are you equipping your child appropriately to help him discover his cognitive talent? Or are you just waiting for the right things to happen to your child in some or other way? 

No comments: