Money Matters or Industry Switch – What can make or break my career?

If any of you were at the last edition of PRAXIS that was held in Goa in September 2019 you would have noticed the inaugural speaker was on fire, inspiring the audience of PR professionals on the subject of Trust. Last month when I came across Shiv Shivakumars’ debut book I was keen to buy it and read it. Not just that I decided that I will start a monthly book review that will help my fellow professionals make an informed decision to invest in a book each month. ‘The Right Choice’ by Shiv Shivakumar is the perfect guide to help one find answers to the career dilemmas we face.

What are the most frequently asked questions or dilemmas faced by a majority of the employees while making career choices –Am I paid well enough? Should I switch my industry? Is this the right time to take that much awaited sabbatical? Should I study further to enhance my skills or stay back in my current job to gain experience? Should I go back to my previous organisation or become an entrepreneur?

Shiv as he is fondly referred to as, is the Group Executive President – Corporate Strategy & Business Development at the Aditya Birla Group. He has articulated each dilemma with a narrative backed by well – researched data. Experiences of industry leaders on how they have navigated the dilemma are shared in a form of interviews. For further clarity and guidance, he has summarised the takeaways at the end of each chapter.

What does the book cover?

As per the author the most successful careers are a set of zigzag patterns, marked by spells of stagnation and rapid growth. The Right Choice explores 10 commonly faced dilemmas in an individual’s career spanning approximately 30 years, right from the beginning of their career to the leadership positions they undertake. The book takes examples from real life experiences and dilemmas of top 24 industry leaders including 11 CEOs, six HR leaders and six entrepreneurs…not to forget the authors own experiences… all woven together to bring out this beautiful masterpiece.

What stands out and is particularly interesting is the last chapter ‘Dilemmas of the CEO’ which candidly highlights the dilemmas faced by CEOs. Some of the industry professionals interviewed and quoted in the chapters are Vivek Gambhir, Anusha Shetty, Sudhanshu Vats, M Damodaran, Rama Bijapurkar, Kirthiga Reddy, Piyush Pandey with a Foreword by Indra Nooyi who was Shiv’s former boss.

Three takeways for me

  • Judge your need for money on the basis of the stage you are in your career – Money will follow if you are good, so focus on the career and try and be good in whatever you pursue
  • Bring your best to work and if you are leaving, leave with your head held high – you may not want to go back but it’s always good to have that as an option
  • India offers you enough opportunity these days, hence going abroad to hone your skills is not true anymore

What’s in it for me?

A must read for professionals across all age groups and industries. It offers something that each one of us can relate to, irrespective of the current phase of our career. Though the book covers topics related to pre-covid days, Shiv has covered one chapter as postscript to talk about.

My recommendation

Definition of a good career as per the book 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 experiences and wisdom garnered along the way.”

My take…Go for it! It’s an easy read. Avid readers will finish it in one sitting as the content and storytelling narrative is very engaging and takes you on an insightful journey with the author. An ideal book of advice to help people resolve confusion that arises in the mind about taking the next step in their career.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarika Chavan
Sarika Chavan is a public relations professional with over 15 years of work experience . She is currently working with Weber Shandwick as Vice President - Client Experience.

Previously she was employed at Adfactors PR, Text100 (now Archetype) and Perfect Relations. With keen observation and analytical skills, Sarika has successfully led PR campaigns for key brands across multiple sectors by leveraging her strength and expertise in the communications arena.

She is a post graduate in communications from Xavier Institute of Communications. She is based in Mumbai and in her free time loves to spend time with her daughters, play with her dogs, read and travel.

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