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Effective Executive Magazine:
A Qualitative Outlook on Career Regrets of Indian IT Professionals
 
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Indian Information Technology (IT) industry is going through a dynamic state of existence. Ongoing geopolitical shifts, technological transformations, and emerging avenues in corporate and entrepreneurial territories have driven its professionals towards diversified career decision making. Some decisions go well, fulfilling wishes and aspirations, while others go wrong, causing unfavorable career experiences, possibly manifesting through a negative, upward counterfactual thinking of ‘things could have been done in better ways’. Undoubtedly, amidst opportunities and unpredictability of global employment market, such thinking might linger within professionals’ mental framework, influencing career attitudes and behaviors. Nevertheless, this psychological aspect is rarely addressed in literature, specifically for professionals frequently exposed to abrupt career challenges. We attempted to fill this gap by focusing on such negative counterfactuals, in terms of career regrets, that were encountered by veteran Indian IT people while navigating vocational trajectories. Four major themes were identified, viz., career choice regrets, corporate regrets, career growth regrets and regrets regarding timely career movement. Additional themes, supplementary regrets and reflections from career regrets were obtained. Supplementary regrets mentioned repentance in other important life domains due to career. Reflections revealed meaningful attributes learned from regretful experiences and considered important for sustaining career graphs in IT industry.

   
Information Technology (IT) industry has caused a momentous shift in career realities of India, switching individuals’ vocational preferences from secure government employment to smart and lucrative jobs in IT. It has remarkably transformed Indian middle-class aspirants’ lives, providing high earning opportunities at a relatively young age, abroad travel, urban residences, and posh lifestyles (Upadhya, 2008). Worryingly, the flip side includes instability and insecurity stemming from global geopolitical shifts, technological transformations, and business fluctuations (Sachitanand, 2017). The very unpredictability of this industry, though jeopardizing careers, also creates promising opportunities in corporate and entrepreneurial territories (Mukerji, 2016). Faced with industrial volatility and novel employment prospects, Indian IT professionals have been reassessing and reinventing career paths to remain competitive. Such reassessment and reinvention would incorporate diversified career decision-making aspects.

Some decisions may pay off, fulfilling wishes and aspirations, while some may not, causing expectation disconformity and a sense of failures and missteps. Such miscalculations possibly trigger misgivings over retrospective career decisions, manifesting as negative, upward counterfactual response of “could have done things in better ways”. A most common response is the experience of regret (Roese, 1997). Despite being intensely negative, regret is still considered an integral human development phenomenon (King and Hicks, 2007). Hence, regrets from disadvantageous vocational positions could hold significance in comprehending individuals’ depiction of career courses, to devise career developmental frameworks. For professionals in vocational paths susceptible to abrupt employment challenges, such psychological response is rarely addressed in literature. Addressing this gap, we tried to investigate veteran Indian IT peoples’ regrets in careers, and subsequent lessons learned.
 
 
Effective Executive Journal,Career Choice Regrets ,Corporate Regrets,Career Growth Regrets.