Navigating turbulent times

New jobs are hard to find. Old jobs are on the dock. Companies are continuously revaluating their structures and discarding the old to bring in new models. Models, that in the future are going to be flat with less levels of hierarchy.

In such turbulent times, what does your future strategy sound like?

Last month I was at IIM-A, interacting with a cohort of post graduate management program students. These students have years of work experience amongst them. They represent diverse fields, have varied interests but one common dream. That dream was to get admission in this prestigious institute. And to be proudly called an alumnus of IIM-A!

It takes a lot of courage, patience, clarity of mind, and gumption to move out of a comfortable job and jump into the choppy waters of an IIM program. Age is not always on the side of the experienced professionals, they left studies a few years ago, only to once more don the cloak of being a student. All because, they have a dream.

If there is any group that is facing uncertainty of the job market and having to balance personal responsibilities along with a new unknown pathway, it is these students. In my conversations with them on how to navigate these troubled waters, here are a few things that can resonate with all of us.

#Have an entrepreneurial mindset

People not associated with Startups are star-struck at the way Startups work. What is it about them that is really fascinating? It is their agility, their flexibility to change paths, and their big hairy audacious dreams. It is also about owning everything – the successes as well as the failures.

Ask of yourself where you are on this spectrum. Are you courageous enough to change the road midway? Does change challenge your mind? Are you that risk taker? How do you deal with ownership and accountability issues?

#Drop those assumptions

This one is not easy to cultivate. Assumptions are very sticky, and it takes a lot of hard work to let go of earlier ideas/thoughts on what the future looks like. The comfort that one experienced in an earlier job is going to be 100% absent in any new job.

Begin with a learner’s attitude and develop the habit of moving out of comfort zones. Growth with continuous learning is the only way to flourish.

#Do not lose sight of your passion

Do you have a passion for writing? Then how about strategising by keeping your passion central? Is ESG your passion? Can you then transfer this passion to your new role/job?

The truth is that it may not really be possible to find that right fit of a job that is aligned with your passion. If that is the case, then look at ways to integrate your passion in the existing system.

#Be the micro-observer

A strategic mindset requires the fine ability to connect the dots and look at the bigger picture. One way to give shape to this mindset is by becoming a micro-observer.

Besides getting to know the obvious, i.e., your company’s core competencies/business and its USP, learn to work with everyone, ensure no conflicts happen, and let go of ego.


You have to display team work right from the onset. Your job requires that you work with people and not for people. Collaboration also helps to identify the right support ecosystem that is so necessary in times of uncertainty. Delegate and empower.

Focus on your core competencies, learn to cut the clutter and overcome the fear of missing out (FOMO).

However, what really has my heart is what one student mentioned – never reply back to an email immediately. Reflect. And in those moments of reflection, new answers and new directions to resolve situations are found.

How are you working towards your future?

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

Sarita Bahl
Sarita Bahl is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Swedish Institute of Management Program. An experienced and versatile leader, she comes with nearly four decades of professional experience. She has over the years successfully overseen the communications and public affairs function and led the corporate social responsibility strategy for Bayer South Asia, Pfizer, and Monsanto, among others. Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, the public sector, trade associations, MNCs, and the not-for-profit sector. Her areas of interest include advocacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and communications.

As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Senior Practitioner (Mentoring) from the European Council of Mentoring and Coaching (EMCC), Sarita specializes in career transition, inner engineering and life issues. Sarita enjoys writing and is passionate about animals, books, and movies.

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