In most of the work places, interviews are the entry barrier to become a part of an organization. The general tendency of anyone to approach an interview is to do it like an examination. An evening or two of preparation especially if it is a technical job and some search on the net for answering typical questions gives an illusion of being prepared for an interview. It is easy to get through examinations with an overnight of preparation as only the factual accuracy of the answer matters.

Interviews in my opinion are more of discussions than question answer sessions like exams.  For technical jobs, the interviews will be centered around the sound understanding of the fundamentals and application of that knowledge rather than checking the memory of first page search result answers for the questions. If the attitude and approach towards a day job is inclined towards continuous learning and improvement, then that may help a lot at an interview than an overnight preparation. In other words we should be able to meet an employer on a flight journey, conference or social events and stumble on a job offer without any preparation.

Being employable is analogous to being physically strong. Just like how one should exercise every day to be fit and strong, the learnings and applications every day at workplace helps in strengthening our capabilities. It will also not come to us in a few days, it is a long and continuous process which should become a habit.

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For a long time I have been under the impression that bringing home a salary at the end of the month is what I can get out of a job. It is also customary to express money earned per year as compensation. It was not until one of my friends in HR explained to me the difference between compensation and salary and I should always look whether I am being compensated or not.

How do I know if I am adequately compensated? The workplace must compensate us for what we are doing at the office so that we don’t regret not pursuing hobbies or holidays. Salary enables us to take care of all the basic necessities in day to day life. If we are just salaried and not compensated, we may end up not having a balance between work and life. Adequate compensation takes into account working hours, long term benefits (including health and wellness), salary, brand, peers and many more parameters. Over the course of the time our priorities change, so do our needs on parts of the compensation; we should keep in mind not to be misled by just tracking one of the parameters of the compensation.

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A Qantas flight from Singapore to Perth did some uncommanded moves that injured people on board and put the aircraft at the risk of crashing. The skilled pilots gained control of the aircraft and landed it safely. Investigation reports stated that, the sensors fed wrong data to the aircraft’s computer and it triggered a panic reaction to do course correction. There was a long two minute delay when the aircraft behaved erratically and when the pilots assumed control overriding the computer. There was a delay because, the pilots were confused why the plane makes these moves when the visual feedback from the cockpit window is perfectly fine; this made jump them through a series of quick recollection of what to do in this situation and after two minutes they disengage the auto pilot. The altitude was very high and hence there was enough time to recover, that 120 seconds did not matter much. If the aircraft had been flying lower, it would have crashed.

Feedback is essential part of any workplace. It is necessary to be 360 degrees as it conveys key information about the environment to an individual. In many organizations it is part and parcel of the workplace culture. When feedback is helpful, acting blindly on it might not provide good results to us. There will be an influence of personality clashes, perceptions, prejudices. Receiving those feedback will leave us in a situation where we observe a disturbing dissonance; just like how the pilots were thinking that the aircraft is flying fine as per their visual feedback but the sensors feed in wrong data. Panic reactions or worries about career path arises a lot when feedback is received as a part of the performance appraisal. In those situations it is necessary to take all the data with a pinch of salt and plan the next steps with a long term goal in mind taking into account of all the priorities. A knee jerk reaction to correct oneself will often result in short term gains and might not be aligned with the individual needs and priorities.

The disconnect in an uncommanded maneuver in career will be quite disturbing. Through a healthy cycle of feedback and introspection such situations can be avoided. Dissonance is what causes unexpected outcomes and wrong perceptions, we should learn to remove it off our radar.