KEEP FOCUS OF YOUR CHEESE
It was a little early to hit the bar, even by Gurgaon standards. As I stepped inside I caught sight of Anirban occupying one of the corner tables, looking rather dishevelled and crestfallen.
Anirban and I were batch mates during MBA. He was one of those bright minds who everyone expected to carve a stellar career. He started alright too, landing himself a plush Marketing job with a telecommunications major. Since he was based in Delhi, we remained in touch. I followed with awe his meteoric rise to the position of Regional Marketing Head at a time when most of us were still vying for our first professional promotions.
One evening Anirban, over a pint of beer, shared that he would be moving to Mumbai to head the Marketing Services vertical for his employer. His company had sizeable media budgets, and to be at the helm of all consumer communication initiatives – including PR and ATL (above the line) communication – was indeed an opportunity to die for. He was thrilled and I was happy for him.
The job treated him well initially, but with time our sporadic telephonic conversations tapered off and I lost track of him. And then, last evening I got a call from him after a gap of nearly five years. “Listen, I need your help. I don’t have a job and I need one desperately,” he had said without mincing words. I needed to hear more, to understand more, and so we decided to meet up.
“Imagine, getting a guy with barely half my experience to handle the role. And that too after everything I have done for them.” He went on to recount the number of awards his campaigns had garnered, bestowing his employer with the choicest of expletives.
It was sometime during his monologue that the underlying reason behind his fall from grace dawned upon me. He had been too busy resting on his laurels, failing to notice the drift in the company’s communication strategy towards digital mediums. He had never felt the need to upgrade himself in this space, allowing the developments to catch him off guard.
Keep your ears to the ground and remain abreast with shifts in organizational priorities that might have a bearing on what you do. Prepare yourself for likely changes to retain your relevance.
The learning from Anirban’s story is simple – the only constant in today’s dynamic corporate environment is change, and to remain abreast with it is the only survival mantra. Signs for such strategic shifts could be external – technological or process evolution – or internal – change in leadership or business priorities – but it is only those who spot the cues in advance and prepare themselves are the ones who last till the end.
About the author: Anurag Anand is the bestselling author of several notable titles including The Legend of Amrapali, Where the Rainbow Ends and Love on 3 Wheels. His rich corporate experience of over 15 years pans across various functions and industries. During his corporate stint he has received numerous commendations and awards. He is presently employed with a beverage major in Gurgaon.
This article was first published in the print version of SUBURB August 2017 issue.