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Learn to Walk Away

This post is specially timed because it is being written on a day that people are celebrating love. This post is to elaborate why sometimes we need to walk away.

We human beings feel the emotion of love very strongly towards other people, towards places, hobbies, pets and even jobs. The reason we feel this love so strong is because the recipient  of that love gives us this undeniable feeling of excitement and completion that we don’t seem to feel we can do without.

The feeling of love is indescribable in the beginning and we use the word freely to describe that thing which gives us so much happiness. But sometimes, that very job, person, place, home can start to feel more of a burden and a place that doesn’t give us the strength we need to be the best version of ourselves.

When this happens, we need to learn the art of walking away. Falling in love with someone or something is as natural as walking away from it when it doesn’t serve our greater good anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Notice Periods

As I am on my notice period at my current organization, I cant help but reflect on how I am feeling. The reason this organization is so special to me is because I was a part of it from even before we launched our operations – “startup stage” if you may.

I joined them when we were 200 employees in all at a time when we didn’t even have an office or decent work space but worked out of a business center. We moved work space, even cities as our HQ shifted when we launched and I remember clearly that there was one single driving force that brought me to work every single day. That force was passion. I still remember (I’m ashamed to admit it) that when there was a death of a close friend and I had to leave suddenly, the first thought in my head was that I was going to have to be away for a while. This was not one of my finest moments and one I live to regret.

The energy when we were a start up was contagious. People worked all hours of the day, cigarettes breaks made up for missing lunch hours and there was no concept of vacation, time off, Saturdays or even weekends for that matter. That energy, drive, love and passion has seen me through three years. We moved to better offices, grew more than five times in people strength and saw so many people come in as others left. Now I am one of those people who are leaving the organization and I cant help but feel those pangs of regret or loss.

People say love your job but don’t love your company. How can you not ? Isn’t one the result of another ?

People ask me why I come in to work every day on my notice period when this is supposed to be a time of relaxation. How can I not but give my best until my very last day ?

People ask me why I still work to protect what happens to my team when I am no longer part of the system. How can I not when I was the reason they stayed so long ?

People ask me why I am allowing myself to stress out about work that in thirty days will not be something I am accountable for. How can I not when this will be my legacy after three years ?

As much as we like to be dispassionate about leaving jobs and moving on to new roles and opportunities. It is a big world out there and we owe it to ourselves to move from situations that don’t serve us anymore. But I believe it is okay to feel that pain, mourn the loss of something you loved as much as you would mourn the loss of a friend who moves away. Our jobs are a part of us and they shape who we are as people. It is in many ways an extension of who we are as people. Feel bad, leave on a good note and remember the place fondly. After all, you leave a part of yourself in the work you do and the people you work with when you move on.

 

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Beauty With Brains

I was watching the Miss Universe 2016 pageant last evening. I watched 86 of the most beautiful women from around the world walk the stage as FloRida rocked the stage. These women so beautifully choreographed in their movements, graced the stage one after another as the camera zoomed in on each of their faces as they walked in.

Their faces were stunning and I would easily tell you no room in the world at that time housed so much physical beauty at the same time as the Arena in Manila, Philippines. These women were from every participating country in the Miss Universe 2016 pageant and every single one of them had an interesting background or story.

Some of them were microbiologists, spatial designers, engineers and one was a soldier in the US Army. These women, all shortlisted from their countries as representatives flew into Manila for a week of short listing with interviews, psychometric analysis, photo shoots and came together for the final event which would announce the winner of the title.

They paraded in evening gowns, swim suits and national costumes each looking so stunning I felt bad for the judges, since they actually had a really tough job. What I did notice also was the host Steve Harvey, who is known very well for his guffaw at the last pageant in 2015 where he announced the wrong winner for 28 seconds until he corrected himself on stage and announced the real winner. He took the whole thing a bit too far by carrying on about his bad eyesight, his mistake the previous year and how he’s never been able to forget it.

The point I am making here is, there was a room with some of the finest genes on the planet, both with looks and brains. But what is unfortunate is, after a Miss Universe is crowned she does some philanthropy work for her country and organizations associated with the pageant, makes special appearances that are planned for her and at the end of the one year she hands over all ambition to change the world as promised with the crown she hands over to the new winner.

I have seen all contestants talk about world peace, children’s education, human rights and climate as the causes they will support when they  win and some how none of them actually go on to make a real difference in the world. In India, they move into the entertainment business where there is the most limelight and money to be made and instead of standing by any of the commitments they made on the stage, and go on to further a personal agenda.

They could use the doors opened to them to actually wield power in the space of research, politics and framing of policies that can affect the world. Its unfortunate that none of them do.

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A Helpful Little Tip

So let me share with all of you a very useful tip that takes me no more than two minutes each day, but enriches my next day a lot.

We all go through our lives in a tearing rush. Each day is madness from the time we wake up till the time we hit the bed at night. Its usually a blur.

What I found helped me during an especially low time in my life was, I penned down at the end of each day just three things that I was grateful for in the day. I did it on my phone (on notepad), typed in the date and searched my brain for three things that happened in the day that I was grateful for. That made my day better.

It could have been anything. A recognition from my manager, a text from someone I have been crushing on, a lovely dinner with a friend, a work deal that went well, a nice call from home, anything. What made this amazing was while in the beginning to took me time to find things that made my day special, it suddenly became a lot easier to find these happy moments.

And better still, I was actually recognizing moments in my day that would have been otherwise ordinary as happy ones that I could pen about at the end of the day.

If you try it, keep it to just three. Dont make a list of it. Just the top three things that stood out in your day. It helps when you scroll back on a particularly low day and find stuff to smile about again. And more often than not, your days actually start getting better. I know it worked for me!

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Be Yourself

So, this post is about how we all should be so proud of who we really are, we have no need to change or edit our personalities to please someone else. Trust me, I speak from experience.

When we are young, we constantly are told to be more beautiful, dress better, eat lesser, talk softer, spend lesser, the list goes on. There is a difference between positive criticism and I repeat “positive” criticism and just plain criticism. How many people do we know who have been encouraged by their societies to be exactly who they are, as long as they are not veering in the direction of being thieves, rapists and drug pushers ?

Have we ever wondered what life would be like if we just let people be ?? Our children who are such beautiful creations of the divine with so much to offer on their own, we mould them into everything we believe is correct and what we believe has been fed to us by the societies we live in ? Isn’t that a big big tragedy ?

We as children are full of uniqueness. We have individual likes and choices that we should have been free to pursue to let us become the people we have always been destined to become. As we grew, we fell into the rat race with teachers teaching 60 students in a class the same thing expecting the same output, the selections for the job market depended on how well you did in that assembly line they called an education and you basically had to perform at work to pay the bills.

Out went creativity, passion, freedom and the ability to just be yourself. Unfortunately this translated too into our interactions with people. We learned to believe the mould works best and its best not to try to deviate too far away from it. So we lost our sense of who we are really.

Its tragic.

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Holidays

Being a single woman during the holidays is interesting. I wont say tough, I will say interesting. Why ? Because the holidays can be anything we want them to be.

We can sit on our cozy couches with dark chocolate ice cream and a blanket and watch sappy romantic comedies, we can be at work and meet those year end goals all the while impressing the bosses, we can travel anywhere we want to, we can visit whoever we like and there is no one to tell us otherwise. Quite a liberating feeling actually.

There are a ton of people out these who are posting their holiday pictures with their husbands/partners/lovers in every romantic corner of the world, but we don’t have it so bad at all. And let no one tell us otherwise.

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@work

Women at the workplace have it hard. I’ve seen it first hand and I have seen women I work with go through it.

Organizations today like to call themselves global. They like to believe they have a global outlook to work culture, policy, HR practices and are inclusive. But in my personal experience and opinion, I don’t think India is actually there yet. A man who is aggressive and target driven is a go-getter, a woman who is like that is a b****. And a frustrated one at that. A man who sacrifices his personal life to grow in his career is destined to succeed, a woman who chooses to do that is destined to be alone forever.

I dont speak for all men when I say this but unfortunately, I speak for most. Some men want to see women get ahead, while most are not comfortable with the thought of working with one, let alone reporting into one.

Companies need to change this outlook. The only form of success is an organization should be performance alone. The agility of the person to stretch themselves to accomplish the task at hand whatever it maybe. Companies need not worry about anything else and that should be the message passed on to the system. A woman’s worth is in her mind and in her ability, not in her looks or her marital status.

When we call ourselves inclusive, it doesn’t start with recruiting specially abled people, or people from different cultures and societal classes. It starts with how accepting you are as an organization to see women rise in the ranks, where they take the lead and use the right mix of emotional and mental intelligence to get the job done.

This is inclusive, this is developed and this is the future.