The profile of Indian expats in the Gulf is slowly changing from a purely blue collar workforce to a balanced workforce with executive positions in the middle and senior level in several banks and other companies. Today, we can see several professionals like doctors, chartered accountants, engineers, etc. working in respectable positions in various industries, earning reasonably well and yearning to grow and achieve even greater heights.
A key question here is, how are we performing when it comes to honing our knowledge and qualifications. Further enhancing one’s qualification is a great idea – especially if it can lead to some good MBA or other related post-graduate attainments from reputed universities. Such qualifications can help Indian professionals in the Gulf to grow either organically (within the organization) or inorganically (finding another better job). Besides, more important is to continuously keep oneself updated about various trends in the professional space. This will enable one to perform better in the job and help achieve growth and impress the seniors.
In today’s technological world, there are several ways in which one can keep up with knowledge. It is a commonplace to see newspapers as a good starting source for knowledge acquisition, as it provides instant information in a very interesting form. Magazines will be the next additional step and here the choice gets wider as well. There are general business magazines as well as professionally oriented magazines that can provide excellent source of knowledge. The next higher step for knowledge gathering will be reading good blogs. Blogs are a key source of knowledge within the social media space and offer excellent breadth and depth of choices. A further step in the process is to cultivate the habit of reading latest books on topics of one’s interest and professional relevance. The choice can be either the printed books or e-books that one can download and read in devises such as Kindle.
On the other hand, knowledge acquisition can also happen through informal mediums of interaction with colleagues, friends, business associates and thought leaders. Office colleagues form the first leg since we interact with them on a daily basis. But sometimes competition can hold back colleagues from genuinely sharing all knowledge that they may have. Friends are the next best source of knowledge. However, the context of discussions amongst friends mostly happens to be social and entertainment issues rather than professional issues. Business associates can be very productive when it comes to knowledge sharing as it can also lead to money making. Finally, interacting with thought leaders (like Mr. Narayana Murthy of Infosys when he recently visited Kuwait) can be a completely different experience. Thought leaders can teach you in 45 minutes what it will otherwise take months to gather and understand. But such opportunities are rare. There are several webcasts that are available (www.ted.com) which can provide free opportunities to listen to several such thought leaders.
At the end, it is a combination of formal and informal channels that need to be used to acquire and enhance one’s knowledge. It is essential to realize the importance and measure oneself on this parameter to attain higher success. Here is a simple chart to see where you stand regardless of your age, experience and position in the company.