Four Dimensional Mirror to choose your careers

Four Dimensional Mirror to choose your careers

It made me think deeper to understand how one ends up making such mistakes and if there is a framework that can help people to reflect before making...

Recently, I was on a television program related to careers. I was asked to share my observations on some of the career mistakes that people do. Having made a few career changes myself besides counseling hundreds of professionals, I can easily share the typical ones. As we all know, for every career mistake, we pay a price. It could be in terms of lost time, dissatisfaction on the job, unable to succeed in career and finally regretting and blaming somebody!

It made me think deeper to understand how one ends up making such mistakes and if there is a framework that can help people to reflect before making career choices. I came up with a simple model, which I call as “Four Dimensional Mirror”. It is a very simple model which explains the complexity of career choices. In this model, I propose that we must base our career choices on our passion (deep liking), our competence (our ability to perform), our qualification (sometimes works as a tool to acquire the competence) and finally on the market opportunities.

Any mismatch among these four parameters will result in a career mistake.

Let us understand a few of the scenarios and analyse how they influence career success and happiness.

Qualification without passion but with competence & opportunity: This is the most common scenario. Here, one is qualified and develops an ability to perform responsibilities. Moreover, there are market opportunities. What happens for such a person? He/she will complete education, earns a degree, bags a job and keeps earning.

A typical example could be a mechanical engineer who learns software engineering and bags a job in a big company and earns handsome salary. But due to lack of passion, the person may not be able to enjoy what he is doing. It could be difficult for such people to put in their heart and strive for excellence.

Of course, for some, over a period of time, passion develops in their work due to enhanced awareness. The preconceived notions about the job may disappear and they develop a positive perspective, then it will be a joyful career. The challenge will be if the person is successfully earning a living but cannot see him performing the job without passion for a long period. In such cases, it may be pragmatic to search for an opportunity that suits their passion.

Passion with opportunity but without qualification & competence: A career in films requires deep passion and if one tries there are even opportunities to make it big as well. The key question is: will your passion alone help you bag the opportunity? It will certainly help you with perseverance; you may not like to give up easily.

These are great qualities. But one needs to introspect if they have the necessary competence to get a career break. It’s better to gain experience in same field before running for the opportunity. It improves the chances of converting opportunity into career.

Passion, competence but no qualification & no opportunity: We come across some people who develop unique competence out of their passion. They may not look out to check if the market needs it or not. They simply like it and they develop a skill in it. They may not even have a qualification; they are naturally gifted. If you are one of them, you must focus more on how to ‘create’ a market for your competence. That can simply change the course of their career.

The above three scenarios are only indicative to demonstrate how the “Four Dimensional Mirror” can be used to reflect about your career; assess where it stands and how to make it more joyful and successful. You can write to me with any specific questions around this framework; I will certainly try addressing them in my next article!

By: Dr Raj

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