What is the Essential Key to Career Success in Pakistan?

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Lifehacker asks: What is the essential key to career success? Their take is curiosity.

I have been thinking hard about this as well the past week or so, but from a different angle. I meet so many people with good potential who disappoint me with their unprofessionalism and their tunnel-vision world views that it is physically depressing for me.

I have been thinking hard about what is wrong — what is wrong with all these kids coming out of colleges with no idea how the real world works, but still believing that their point of view about professional ethics, communications, legal and moral responsibility, and work behavior is correct…

…especially when those opinions are based solely on the environment they see around themselves — a society where mediocraty is the norm, personal opinions matter more than proven fact, where vanity on top of factual ignorance is rewarded, and deceiving, lying, stealing from, and manipulating your employers / benefactors / seniors often gives you a short-win in the larger trek of your career.

What is the #1 key to success, something that our students and employees and even companies — all professionals — need to adopt for us to be successful in our careers, in our ventures, in our industry?

I have thought about this over many-a-jar of coffee. I think this #1 key to success is the desire to be the best.

I look at a young promising new professional as an analogy for the industry. The way to succeed as a professional is to work with a company that is trying to push the boundaries of what is possible in your field — a company that is creating new cutting-edge knowledge or theses about that field.

In order to succeed in that company, you will have to learn the cutting-edge of what the world already knows, and then you will able to push the boundary and create something entirely new. In terms of pure knowledge, no other type of experience can make you an absolute expert within the same amount of time as other experiences.

In other words, success comes from being willing to face a challenge that everyone around you tells you is impossible, and then overcoming it.

The trouble is, all I see from that young professional — most young professionals these days — is an attitude that says “I just want something comfortable… not too much work… easy timings … car, phone, travel covered … and I want to learn but, not too much… anything with differential equations, recursion and regular expressions and thats just too much work…”

The trouble is, 95% of the companies around them also accept mediocre people, so if they had a choice between hard work that will ultimately make them successful, or 5-6 years of hopping around casual easy-going jobs, young professionals are choosing the latter.

We are losing the desire to be the best in the world in what we know — we only want to go as far as being better than our friends in salaries / materialism. On the other hand, I think this is the one fundamental trait in Americans that have pushed them to achieve higher and higher standards of achievement right from the start of that country — the desire to be better than everyone else around them in terms of knowledge, skills, and ability.

That was my take — what do you think is the #1 key to success?

Facebook comments:


  • IMO, Commitment to your work and consistency…

  • I’ve come to the same conclusions many a time in my life as well.

    I have a comfortable, cushy, not too much work, learning-enabled job… and want more.. :S

    i used to think i was being ungrateful, especially since people around me rated a job as how soon do you get a car, how soon do you get benefits etc.

    thanks for this article and setting my sights

  • Muhammad Asif Razzaque

    First, I think it is “having a vision” instead of rating one’s success solely against “cultural benchmarks” that are mostly based on economic status. Without a vision there can’t be an “achievement” (technically speaking) whether monetary or self-actualization. Yes there might be lucky incidents.

    Second, constant refinement of the “personal vision” into a more wider translation of “community benefit/contribution” that helps other appreciate, value-add, support and mature that vision into a “community vision”.

    This way one can actually live one’s own vision through the wider particiaption required for a leadership position and essentially a career.

  • Hi every one i am shamyl recently did my BS(hons)…al what i want is a segestion where to start my career …whrer ever i go they say bring refrence so instead of saying that people in pakistan are not successful why allthe refrenced people are on the job they know if it is hard for them they will quit but the people who came with there own skill they never quiet this is what the people of paksistan is going through …So if any one show me the path i will be very thankful to u people …buy see ya

  • Welcome Shamyl. Qazi is the person who can help you.

    From my side, there is no short answer to this… you can get your dream job but you will first have to find out what your employers will be expecting from you during the interview and with any job opportunity.

    You have to learn what the industry is doing, which companies or types of work environments will be suited for your skills.

    You will have to find out how to present yourself and speak professionally and the way to get the job despite no references.

    Keep checkign back on Green & white as we start writing about these things more.

    In the meantime, you can click on the “HR & Mgmt” section above — it has a lot of great tips on professional behaviour.

    Once you are able to realize the perfect way of approaching the job hunting process and landing your dream job, THEN we can talk about how to find good jobs.

  • shamyl, i guess by your post that you have recently graduated. and you have sit in atleast in a couple of interviews. let me tell you one good thing about this. if you are getting interview calls then there is some skill in you that the companies are getting up to notice you. for a fresh graduate the best reference he can provide for a back ground check (most of the companies are looking for just that ) is your teacher. go talk to a teacher who knows you well and can back you up. then write his name in the resume. this is best solution for people coming straight out of college. also if you have done any intern ship mention that reference. or even a senior who is well placed in the industry and can give a good reference mention his name (with his consent of course). don’t lose hope as i mentioned in my post this is one of the most difficult period. but every one has to go through it. also one more thing a lot of our young people confuse reference with ‘sifarish’ most of the times specially in private companies this is not the case so usually what these companies are looking for is a couple of sentences from some one who is in the industry, so they minimize the risk of hiring you.
    hope i made sense. feel free to ask any thing you need.

  • A.o.A…qazi bai…Thanks for helping me out .But you and your team will agree with me on this i have been through 10 interviews and what was the first question they asked was did u did bachlor without cheat why they asked that because i did my bachlor from not a renoned university i did it from AIOU …So if one ask u the first question like that and then the whole crew sitting with that guy laugh at u …what i should do with that if people don’t like that university then why they call for interview to laugh at us why is this so …my GPA is 3.6 but still i feel that i just wasted my time in that university as i can did from good universities but u know my parents cannot afford that ….I did internships in many areas like NSS and ITI deparment of PTCL i mentioned that in my CV I did internship in micronet broad band (PVT) limited …..I hope to get answer to that …bye

  • Shamyl, I agree some times the university from which you belong does carry a burden. but this hurdle is usually removed after the first break through. I have a very close friend who did his BS from AIOU and placed very highly in a telco. but i agree to you, comming from AIOU it some times becomes hard to defend you CGPA due to the AIOUs examination and study system, but still its hard not impossible, you have to take this as a challenege. try ignoring these remarks(i know its hurting) one of the techniques of interviewing (and i amd telling from an interviewers prespective) is to put you in pressure situation and see how you respond. all CEOs here will tell you they meet same type of stereo typing when they go against western and Indian firms to bid for projects. we all have to face this stereo typing at one level or other this is one of the challenges of a profession. so you go out and talk to a US engineer he will say things like. do you people have electricity how do you make to office in so mouch violence, are you linked to any terrorist organization. so the situation is same. the ones who give under pressure and run away are forgotten the ones who change this into opportunity succeed. keep trying. try ignoring there remarks. try impressing them with your technical skills keep your composure during the interview, if they say have you cheated or not. tell them sir i will prove to you that i have really worked hard in these courses and have genuine grades give me a chance and i will prove it to you, ask some thing from the courses I have good grades and i am sure i can answer your questions, try moving them beyond the university thing. or you can say that i know AIOU is not too much recognized but i can assure you my level of expertise is no less than any graduate from any university of Pakistan. try showing them you are proud of your institution and have faith in what you have learned. believe me when i say this people don;t have time calling some one for interview just to humiliate them they are very busy screening and interviewing is one of the most brain tiring task for a manager he does not call any one for interviews just for fun, i re-assure you again getting calls for 10 intervies means there is some thing in you CV that is making them call you. identify that strength point high light it. in your interview

  • just a an example i remembered about stereo typing. some one i know use to work in a restaurant as a odd job while studying. he was a waiter there. when ever some customer use to target his origin (Pakistani) he use to reply in a joke. for example one customer said to him.
    “hey you are a paki, are you a terrorist?” he would say smiling “yes i am and i will bomb you if you don’t give me a heavy tip”. and one time some one said “are you linked to alqaeda network” he replied again with a smile that “yes my friends are waiting out side for you if you don’t tip me”. the result they use to have a good laugh and became his friends. next time they entered the hotel the asked hey which table is that paki guy serving i want to sit on that :) so you see he changed his shortcoming to an opportunity

  • A.O.A Qazi bai…ya you are right , but you know that shortcomming changing to an opportunity is also a difficult task for me .Because i am little shy and also not that confident enough to make that kind of arguments ..I really work hard to be confident but it is not working for me ..In one interview i even quarrelled with the guy who was iterviwed me because i said to him app kya asman sa otrai tha kay app ko pahalay say saaab kuch ata tha everyone need to start from scracth and he becaome annoyed on that and just went out as i cannot take it more what he was saying and asking ..But you know when some one blames your university and asking awful questions in the interview what ever you had prepared for the interview that just vanishes and then you start making mistakes .And one another thing that you will agree that what ever we had studied in the classes , it had no link in the pratical life i mean in jobs its totally a different environment you had to start from the scracth..your advice is great i will really work on it and thanks for helping me i will never forget that ..Thanks again

  • Shamyl i wish you luck :) also I will be writing a post about interview keep a watch for that. some guidelines how ever for you are.
    Never lose your cool, because the moment you lose your focus you make mistakes. tolerate to your level best this is also true for after you get the job. the more patient you are the more better professional you become for your seniors and juniors. I know new professionals have jitters in interviews but don’t let it come out. be very calm . to boost up your confidence here are things that can help.
    1. arrive 10-15 minutes before time and ask for the wash room wash your face have a glass of water and become familiar with the environment that will cool you down
    2. do a little research about the company what they have been doing how they were formed
    3. if you have friends in the company or seniors who know you call them and ask them about the company and the kind of work they are doing
    4. during the interview when they as questions let the question sink down understand it and then reply don’t reply too soon.
    5. look into the eyes of interviewer and reply
    6. Always dress formally, keep a cloth with you wipe dust of your shoes. comb your hair after reaching the company. these things boost the confidence.
    7. Never get angry during an interview even if you had a bad one.
    Good luck for you future interviews

  • A.o.A Qazi bai..Thanks for showing me the path and guiding me hoping to ask you few more questions …see ya buy

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