In my growing up years I excelled at academics and sports, but was not street smart. I noticed how while my family appreciated meritocracy and knowledge, my eldest cousin, who was not academically adept, was always given important tasks and easily got whatever he asked for. This got me thinking that there is something beyond academics that is important in the real world — communication and social skills.
While I kept up with academics, I started paying equal attention to developing my personality as well. I made a consistent effort to have friends in all circles — toppers as well as back benchers, juniors and seniors. Gradually I experienced the great power of networking — there were many things that I did not know, but through my friends I’d be able to reach someone who would know or get things done. For example, while somewhat unscrupulous, I could always get away with driving without a license without any serious consequence.
I had no idea how much more important this skill would be once I joined work! While it is not taught in any curriculum or stressed upon, which is why not everyone is naturally good at it, it bears enormous results in one’s professional life. Informal connections, especially inter-departmental ones, are most helpful in getting things done easily and quickly. In my career so far, I have been fortunate to make friends with a variety of people across different regions and professions. Even people I have met a few times share a great bond with me. To conclude, I feel that while they are completely neglected by our education system, social skills are an essential part of real life and definitely need to be inculcated from an early developmental stage in children in order to make them successful individuals when they grow up.
(This blog was penned by Rohit Tahalramani from our product team at ClearTax.)