Challenges of Getting Ahead in Career for Professionals Coming from Imperfect Socio-Educational Background


Today, a large number of people are doing much better jobs and have better social position than their parents or extended family members. An offshoot of this situation is that such people face very big challenges in their career though they have the same educational background and intelligence of other colleagues/students who come from a better family background.

We are not meaning only financial background. In fact, someone who passes out of a University College of Engineering and coming from a very sound financial background but whose parents/extended family come from unorganized sectors may face many challenges to get ahead in professional life compared to his classmate who is also from same college (and having same caliber) but whose parent works as a Senior Engineer in BHEL. The outlook of the two families will be very different.

These professionals or students from imperfect socio-educational backgrounds do not have the support system and the conceptual background for the new position that would be available to someone whose parents/relatives are already in these careers.

With very little perspective they have little concepts or mental framework to handle the various challenges and issues that they face at work. Including things like:


  1. What kind of job offer to take up (if they have many options)
  2. How to build their career in organizations – what skills are important, how to build those skills. Easy to get to learn Java or Oracle. But the journey is not so simple with attitudes and understanding organization perspective.
  3. How to get the organizational perspective – so they can understand why the organization behaves in such a way
  4. What are the 5 things you must develop for success
  5. The 5 mistakes to avoid (to prevent failure)

With no one to guide but a bunch of roommates in similar situations, they struggle hard to get out of this circle. Many have no mentors or coaches. But there are lots of fake coaches and mentors giving wrong advise.

Many have not realized the importance of reading to build these soft elements of career growth/planning. They also tend to live with roommates where it is difficult to create a place to learn. Too many people living in too little space each having their own priority. The environment is driven to the least common denominator. Things those are acceptable to all roommates. The person who suffers in such environments is the most promising and most capable. Most people feel it is a waste of money to get the right home surroundings for a working professional due to their earlier background. Imagine trying to get into a decent place to stay when your uncle says “You are paying that much for room rent – are you out of your mind? Are you forgetting your background?”


To make matters worse, many regularly watch movies. Most of the movie stars set unrealistic expectations and convey a wrong picture of reality. We have to bear in mind that movie stars are only dramatists/entertainers. They are kind of the village snake charmer or artist who trains monkeys for street performances. Sure they are much refined, but they are just entertainers. Unknowingly, these movies start to shape the minds of these people in reality.

All these factors cause them to be perpetually underdeveloped for professional success and not have a holistic healthy personality. They struggle hard to get out of this circle – mostly making the wrong choices. The harder they try the more they fail. It is difficult to get out of this situation without ‘escape velocity’ – the right knowledge, course of action and a commitment and patience to stick to this path.

  1. Lack of proper mental outlook at home
  2. Earn your money, don’t look for easy money
  3. Importance of work ethic i.e. believing strongly that good working habits are essential part of a good human being. Even if you do not get paid more or even if you are around people who do not agree with this point of view. With the belief that doing hard work daily is part of healthy living
  4. Building the soft elements important for success – parents and your circle may be unaware of these things
  5. Unrealistic expectations and too many people making demands – see the expectations in most Telugu movies
  6. Too much family focus – you have to get all your siblings and cousins (totally 25 people well settled now). It is your duty! They will not do what is required for success but still you have to figure out a way “settle” them.

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One Response to “Challenges of Getting Ahead in Career for Professionals Coming from Imperfect Socio-Educational Background”

  1. Ramesh K

    The book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is quiet clear – if you don’t get some lift from society, family or some exposure – you will be less successful than if you have the right environment. Sometimes, the right environment is being among people who are all hardworking – So you become very hardworking. Or they are very demanding on performance, so you become a good performer. Those who grow up in environment of contentment and ease will suffer too! Because they will not learn how to be successful.

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