I have been observing that many folks on Linkedin has been using their past organisations’ names in their heading as Ex-This and Ex-That. What’s more I am now seeing resumes of some senior executives who are exploring with me also using hashtags # and stating Ex-Designation, Ex-Organisation in their summary. I wonder why these folks are still living in the past and their past organisations, past positions halo? Are they unhappy with their present position and organisations? If living in the past, how will these individuals live up to their future positions and organisations that they aspire? Makes me wonder. Are these co-horts of individuals really have the experience and skills or they are the living legends of their past designations and past companies where they were employed and nothing substantive demonstrate in their present circumstances?
Why this increasing trend of Ex’s as your Headline Defining You?
I spoke with a couple of experts and also conducted my podcast in the past on topics such as the Employee Josh, The Great Resignation, Workplace Happiness. Here are my views why this trend:
- During the Covid lockdowns, may lost their jobs due to unforeseen circumstances and had to struggle to find jobs or work multiple part-time jobs as a makeshift
- There was the Great Resignation also led to individuals rethinking and making some career shifts and reworking their career aspirations
- The Gig Economy Workers and the Controversial Moonlighters who did not have something specific to write about themselves as headlines that defines them
- Returning to work individuals who were just to lazy to update their headlines
- The present is not better than the past syndrome sufferers
In any case, this is not a very healthy and happy trend. I have pre ordered the book Blindspot by Gallup CEO Jon Clifton which I have yet to receive and read and I will be inviting Jon on my podcast show QuoteUnquote with KK QuoteUnQuote With KK | Kapil Khandelwal KK for his comment on this issue of living in the Ex’s. From the current trend and talking to many individuals I believe that many of these people living with their Ex’s are afraid and uncertain about shaping their future and hence this trend.
Getting out of the Ex’s Syndrome: My Way or High Way!
I had a vision that by age of 40, it would start off on my own. The Lehman Crisis, like the Covid Crisis led my employers to go in a defensive mode and hence I believed it was going to be now or never if I have to shape myself and my future in the future. After I quit Cisco as Managing Director of Healthcare, I used to be ticked off when the media would quote me as Ex-Cisco, Ex-Wipro, Ex-this, Ex-that. I quit my jobs either because it was not challenging or the next job added more dimensions to my experience that I lacked. I kept objecting to the media folks for titling me in such a way and wondered, don’t I have a personal identity? Where was this going? Here are a few tips I used to get out of this Ex’s syndrome.
Take a Break and Think
I took a 15-day detox break to reflect back and think about who am I and why am I what am I? This break not only detoxed my body but made me think in isolation
What defines you and the World in the Future
Assuming that I retired at the age of 70 years, what is the impact I would deliver to the world shaping myself into it. Given my sector experience, I envisioned that Food, Health, Education are the sectors that will continue to grow whether there is Lehman or any other Global crisis till the end of this world and hence focused on these sectors. Next was the issues that these sectors would face and the solutions that I would like to work on. Lo and behold, I had parts of my headline
Promoting Myself and not My-Ex’s
Armed with what I want to shape myself to be. I worked on rebranding myself as me and not on the identity of what I was and what I did with my past employers. I started writing my own columns in the newspaper, mentoring start ups and doing my research on focused industry issues in the focused sectors that I had zeroed in. Very soon, my Ex’s faded out of my profile and I had my own standing and my own position in the industry.
Unlike my Ex-employers who provided the ecosystem and support to grow, I realized that I have this lone battle and I am the last samurai in my own fight to redefine myself. I quickly accepted that You are on Your own (YoYo) and started creating my own organization, associates, partners, collaborators, mentors who would become my backbone of the ecosystem and support to grow which large corporates offered their employees. I accepted YoYo and worked YoYo.
Be the First
The work I did from then on were the firsts in the relevant industry, reshaping and redefining not only your identity in the industry, but leading the industry into it. Mind you it is not easy facing a bullet train in an head-on collision. You need balls. But by then, my experience and courage was enough to face these head on situations with the industry. First Day-Care Surgery, First Offshore Hedge Fund, First Healthcare REIT, First Non-Equity Dilutive Healthcare Growth Fund, First Multi-Platform Podcast, First Holistic Healing Resort in the World are some of the Firsts.
There is no harm in failure, but you need to fail fast to conserve your resources and personal energy. Also when I did quit, I made it a point to document in my mind the lessons learnt so that I do not repeat in the future.
Where Am I today?
Who the f**k cares I was Ex-This or E-That. I am Kapil Khandelwal KK!