Career Choices

Uncategorized - Dr. İzel Levi Coşkun - September 4, 2015

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”
Lao Tzu (600 BC-531 BC)

When I was a senior high school student I was both attending a dershane after school and taking private lessons. I had to get into a business school or a similar school in order to work as a financial advisor which was a family profession. After filling the college selection form with the business, economics, international relations, public administration, etc. schools of various universities I still needed one last school to add to the list but was not able to find one that would be equivalent to business. My suggestion then was to write archeology which was a field I had special interest in. Knowing my interest in archeology, my private teacher’s half-joking comment was “If you include archeology in that list all that we have done so far will be in vain; you will refuse to answer questions whose answers you know and do all you can to get into the archeology department”.

I ended up not writing archeology and got into the School of Business of Istanbul University. That very same summer my professional career began at my own will as I started to work as an accounting intern at a factory.

I must confess that I was not entirely sure that I wanted to engage in the profession of accounting and that I was seriously concerned just before I started to work. I was concerned that this profession would not be suitable for me and was afraid to spend a lifetime waking up at the same hour early day to work at a job which I do not want to work at. The answer to the questions in my head had to be found at the work I was about to start and I knew that I would never be able to find the answers without trying to work in accounting. Thus I realized many important things about the profession during my first internship in accounting. One had to love numbers to be able to be engaged in accounting. This was an advantage for me as I loved numbers. Furthermore, this profession required strong logic, passion for research and considerable patience. In time I discovered that I had all of these too. In order to have a say in this profession in the long run one had to have qualities such as being eager about teamwork and not compromising ethics. Back then I had already realized that these qualities were also required for archeology but I was not able to quite understand the causal link between them.

Looking back I was finally certain that I had made a good decision when I saw a figure in a strategy book long after those days.

The pyramid above is very meaningful both for enterprises and for individuals. Each system has a reason for existence and around it basic foundations that frame this reason. It shall be possible to liken this to the foundation of a building and the foundations to mortar. The ingredients of the mortar include basic life philosophy, one’s personal character traits, skills, education and upbringing.

For enterprises, the mortar may contain quality, ethics, honesty, respect between individuals, etc. Long and short term plans shall be respectively built on the foundation. For enterprises, it shall be possible to study the long term plans as strategies and the short term plans as tactics. For individuals on the other hand, both long term and short term plans can be thought of paths that will lead to reach our goal(s) in consideration of what our goal in life is. An example to this would be the following statement: “I would like to become a Chartered Accountant in the long run.

I will work at a well-know company of the sector and pass the necessary exams to become a Certified Public Accountant first and then spend 10 years in auditing to gain enough experience to be a Chartered Accountant.”

Daily activities are at the top of the pyramid. The most important thing is that daily activities and basic foundations should be in harmony. Where there is lack of harmony enterprises face chaos and individuals face unhappiness.

Above explanations show how I transferred to the profession of chartered accountancy which I believe that I am successfully carrying out from my love of archeology which still remains with me as a dream. I call such transfer “identifying with basic foundations”. This refers to the possibility of using “mortar materials” such using tips of to reach a meaningful whole, paying attention to details and discovering that are applicable to archeology as a profession for chartered accountancy that contains similar basic foundations. Similarly, I realized that basic components such as teamwork and ethical approaches that are required for chartered accountancy were also very applicable and useful in the archaeological excavations I took part generally during my summer vacations.

Such comprehension opened new horizons before me. I saw that one did not have to use basic foundations within only a single context but that success in many different fields could be achieved if these basic foundations are enriched. It is possible to reach a potential harmony through identifying one’s basic foundations with professions that seem to be completely unsuitable for one.

The biggest problems my students talk to me about in our entrepreneurship lectures are indecision in making career choices and unhappiness at workplace despite the chosen branch. In my opinion, one of the best ways to overcome these challenges is to try to understand how many of the qualities that are required to do that job you have rather than adopting an attitude of claiming to utterly want or love that particular job or vice versa.

The next step shall be trying to understand the factors that form the foundation of the workplace of your choice (do not hesitate to ask questions in your interviews and try to understand. Example; what is the vision of your company? What is the basic principle? Could you inform me about corporate culture?) Whilst doing that you need to reach a mutual agreement on basic particulars. If ethics is a basic foundation for you, a non-ethical enterprise is definitely not a suitable one for you. Do not even bother to go there… Not surprisingly, 100% compatibility is unlikely to get. But if you treat basic foundations as a wide spectrum from (+) to (-) you will be able to find many compatible mortar materials that will make you happy and contribute to your success and you will have great benefit in terms of getting to know yourself better. This will then allow for transforming many problems into opportunities by placing them in different positions then they seem to be, as Lao Tzu suggests.


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