Today I had the satisfaction of seeing 418 students complete their graduation requirements at the New Horizon College of Engineering. There were several award winners. As the Chief Guest on the occasion the college management requested me to speak to the students. This is what I had to say.
1 Accept life as it unfolds
Increasingly I find today’s youngsters in India taking rigid postures about the job profile;
I want to be in “embedded systems” because it is hot;
I do not want to program in c, but only in Java;
I do not want to maintin software, I only want to develop;
I do not want to go to Bombay, I want only Bangalore
and so on.
Often they are not aware that the tools, technologies, corporations, business locations might change, that too over 45 years of active professional life ahead of them. It is better to accept the assignment that came by, excel in it over the next 3 years and decide. The chances are that you yourself might change your views!
2 Keep learning & read a lot
The Internet generation has lots of strengths but one major weakness. They seem to have substituted “read” with “browse”.
With IT industry offering jobs at the end of the second year, many of you seem to stop learning from the third year. Remember getting a job is important, but not the ultimate purpose of life.
Reading is deep, involves the brain and leads to learning. Browse can often be very shallow with very little learning.
You need to cultivate the habit of reading; it could be structured browsing, with clear notes as to what way and how you benefited through browsing
3 Be Loyal
The market dynamics being what it is, many of you keep shifting jobs often for marginal increase in salary. Unfortunately our friends in HR departments of corporations (many of them present in this very occasion) also seem to encourage such frequent shifting. While you appear “smart” in short term, you will be proved “dumb” in the long term. Most successful professionals had strong loyalty to an area, a corporation and a domain; that alone wins you in the long run. The very same HR managers who encourage you to shift, will discourage the senior management to consider you for senior positions, many years from now! Beware!!
4 Enjoy life by giving
Since many of your starting salaries in IT industry are comparable to salary of senior folks in other industry (including your parents) you tend to develop a false sense of superiority and celebrate life too early. Most of you get into the habit of celebrating by “consumption” (party, dress, travel..). It is important to celebrate, have fun and enjoy; but remember India is still a poor country; there are so many who did not get the benefits of education that you got. How about “giving” them some thing – may be educate the children of your maid servant or security guard, help blind people with jobs, help sanitary workers with tools, help clerical staff with English language – you give your time, attention and some money. That can be far more satisfying than party. Once you develop a sense of “joy of giving” you will never go back
Congratulations and my very best wishes on a momentous occasion in your life.