Why is experience more important than money?

experience-than-moneyhumne baal dhoop me safed nae kiye hain!is the phrase, almost all of us have grown up hearing from our elders. It always emphasized the fact that having more experience gives you an edge over those who have seen less of the world.

No matter at what stage of your career you currently are, if you look back, you will find yourself knowing more than what you did a year back. You grow because you constantly learn, and not just within classrooms but also outside of it. Ideally, you are valued based on your experience more than your domain knowledge.

At the budding stages of our career, most of us are all the time more concerned about getting a higher paying job instead of a better one. We are worried that if we start at a low pay scale, we will stay stuck with lesser salary, since we will be appraised on that figure. The whole idea of competing in placements revolves around who got a higher package than whom. In the rat race we forget and ignore to foresee that one of us placed with a lower CTC might eventually end up higher in the career graph than the others.

I realized this through my professional experience that at the starting of your career and sometimes even later on, money comes down in the priority list. Yes, we all are willing to work hard and deserve to be compensated for it, but you cannot put a value to the experience that you gain, to the knowledge that you earn, to the professional growth and maturity that comes with being employed.

There might be people who might disagree with this thought of mine and would refuse to compromise compensation for a better profile of work. I remember a friend of mine though, who unfortunately did not land up with a campus placement at the end of her MBA. She joined a start-up that just had four people and was paid on commission basis. There was no fixed salary that the company could provide. It was a challenging profile and difficult market conditions. But she chose to stick to the company and she told me once that the day she landed the first client for the company was the day she realized her potential, her self-worth and the value of what she has learned in the past few months. She admitted to the fact that she couldn’t have gained that level of exposure, learned to be proactive and independent, had she been a part of the target driven marketing team in a big corporation. After a year, she landed up in a team leading position with a well-known media firm, a role which she would have taken two years extra to reach, if she was hired there at beginner level.

So what added value to the same profile with which she was not able to grab a campus placement? Was that just one year of experience? That experience made her emotionally more mature. She learned the ability to handle stress situations and the potential of working with limited resources.

It is important to understand, that when a firm picks a fresher right after his/her MBA, the only way they can assess your value is through your academic credentials. It is only after some time, when you prove your worth within that firm, that you can raise your market value and be at a better bargaining position in terms of compensation. But before that, you are expected to show a positive return on what a company is investing in you.

I have seen many people, including my friends and colleagues, complaining about how their pay scale is less as compared to the industry standards. But I have always felt that to work with the best, you have to be the best. Even with fairly advanced human resources these days, companies expect you to owe them more in return than what they are paying you.

Yes, getting fairly paid is your right. But before you start feeling disheartened with your annual CTC figures, try looking at the non-material benefits that your job is offering you. You might not be at a best place right now, but in the world of corporate culture, you should learn to bring out the best of your current situation.

When I started working, I was part of a back end research support within an off shore captive unit of a global management consulting firm. The unit was just five years old and my team had 19 people. The pay scale was not at par with what my counter parts were getting. But as the unit grew, I, being a part of the smaller team, got opportunities to make bigger contributions. Within a short span of less than two years, I got a chance to visit one of the company’s consulting offices based in London and gain exposure in different areas, including training, mentoring and recruiting. I then realized the fact that even though I was paid less, the experience that I got through the various opportunities benefitted me in many unknown ways.

Initially in your career, you are in a better position to take risks, explore the domain of your interest and seek expertise in that field. Even though, your functional experience may remain the same, it may vary from industry to industry and can make a significant impact on your career in the long term. Focusing on new opportunities to learn, gaining experience in different areas and doing the work you love is relatively more important than salary. It is rather crucial to define your career objectives in the first three years of your professional life and align with the right opportunities to grow. A few thousand rupees may not turn out to be a good trade-off for the potential of growth when just starting out.

There could be four possible situations while looking for a job:

  1. Good profile and good pay scale
  2. Good profile but poor pay scale
  3. Poor profile and good pay scale
  4. Poor profile and poor pay scale

Situation (a) is very difficult to find. (c) usually does not exist, though there could be a combination of high pay but strenuous working conditions. (b) and (d) will always be there. If you are not lucky enough to land up with situation (a), then you should try grabbing an opportunity with situation (b) or (c). You will gain experience with time, with good salary without good salary even without salary. But question is what you learn from your experience. It is instrumental to give quality time to your job.

There can never be enough in any job, as you will always keep looking for more. But if you like what you do, you can always find satisfaction in it. As our elders used to say, there is no limit to learning. The same goes for experience in professional world. The more, the better; and better the experience, higher is your value in terms of money. Do not walk away from opportunities for reasons involving money or pride without considering the long term doors that you might be closing. While you are young and learning, be active and take risks to reach your goals.

Contributed By : Isha Jajodia , Class of 2010,IBS Gurgaon

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