Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Learning how to pay it forward

I am inspired by a post I read that teaches people a great lesson about reaching out and making someone else’s day.
And when I was invited to share my experiences, courtesy Jobsforher mission, to reverse India's female brain drain and bring women BACK TO WORK, I was tempted to check with those in my network to chip in with some opinions related to
- the challenges that are most likely to come up, when a woman wishes to return to a career, after a break?
-and what needs to be done, to make the transition smooth?
Over the past couple of decades, I have been fortunate to have a ringside view of the 'changing expectations' from both sides..the hiring manager and the job aspirants- and must confess I am yet to figure out who is more anxious!
Amongst the crowdsourced thoughts I could collate, three were outstanding.
Radhika had a candid observation:"bias is a habit... it is an underlying belief. the only thing that stands between women successfully returning to a career is Bias! (The way forward)  has to be a top-down approach from the board. Senior women ( in age and position) bring to table a wealth of experience and wisdom, they are great team players and committed - and need a dedicated resource to run this initiative as a project."
Dr Susanta Misra shared his insights with a dedicated blog post, that the 'in-between career status' highlighted some of the advantages, and a checklist of 10 points..on what to do, and a handful of 'don'ts'. A #mustread for all of us whose career is a permanent beta.
Geetha, a voluntary Jobsforher ambassador, had a bunch of pointed questions that are often on the top of the mind for most aspirants, that she often is subject to.
1. How do I land a job - with such a long/short career gap?
2. Do I need to get trained in something? If yes, what and from where?
3. My gap seems to be projected more than my experience! How do I convince?
4. They say I am over experienced for a lower profile and prefer the ones without gaps for the one's I am perfectly eligible otherwise! How do I tackle this?
5. Does a change in CV land me the job I am looking for?
6. Are there options for volunteering? Do they pay? Should I take it up while I search for the right job?
7. Do internships (Paid / Unpaid) help? If they do, how?
8. Can I get an option to work from home? It gets tricky when they add, in the same field I have been working! 
9. Should I accept an offer where I have to join as a junior / get a lesser pay?
10. I have good experience in one field which does not offer the flexibility or want me to travel extensively for example. Can I look for a change of career instead of compromising on my priorities? 
11. Flexibility is a must. But does it come without compromising on the pay or role?
12. Should I take up freelancing? But will it help me in a career that I ultimately want to land?
It helps to understand that these aren't entirely gender-related too. More things have changed in the last 10 yrs..and faster than any 10yr period. Careers ladders are passe'. It resembles a Lattice now-with distributed work locations, virtual colleagues and different time zones.
Well, Seth Godin says "We're not pawns if we choose not to be."
I know I do not have the right answers. Do you
PS. Please share your thoughts, experiences and ideas on how we can make a better tomorrow!

Saturday, January 14, 2017


We are almost into the second fortnight of the year 2017. It is that time of the year where all across, one reads about different lists, and then, makes resolutions very diligently. Only to forget them -as the weeks turn into months!?

Thanks to the resolution of last year, I have been listening to podcasts, to trigger & maintain my morning walks, and help me get clued into the best thought leaders. Audible has been a godsend, as WhatsApp and Facebook had in the recent past cannibalised my reading habit.
I have just finished 2 hours of listening to Thomas Friedman's latest book -Thank you for Being Late, but it has forced me to pause and reflect. The book essentially reminds us that we are are living through one of the greatest inflexion points in history (perhaps after the printing press days!). And how the planet’s three largest forces - the advance of technology, globalisation and climate change are each driving the other – and how these accelerations are fundamentally reshaping the world.
The first chapter alludes to a chance interaction of the Author with an Ethiopian blogger, who works part-time as a parking attendant in NY..and it is simply mindboggling to realise that we are indeed in a time when 'more people could make history, record history, publicize history, and amplify history all at the same time.' Also how 2007 was an awesome year..that has turned the world upside down..changed the way we have been living since. ( Hint. Can you believe it..that the period saw the birth of iphone, Facebook and Twitter going global, Android and Kindle being release, Google bought Youtube, Airbnb and Skype emerged. IBMs Watson too! Uncanny, And to think we all lived through it and weren't conscious.)
My take away- is that trying to keep pace with the rate of acceleration, is simply futile & overwhelming. I ought to be getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. And focus instead, on my strengths, and my ability to forge deep relationships—to love, to care, to hope, to trust, and to build voluntary communities based on shared values!
As a strong believer of collaboration, I think this is my cue to chipping away a lot of things that I no longer add value to ( or which is being done by several others more efficiently and cheaper). 2017 will be a year where I will invest in working more closely with some of the 500+ partners of NPA, the global recruiting network, and orchestrate a network of recruiters across 40 countries.
I intend to coax my partners to share insights about the changing expectations of Employers and Employees in their country/domain of expertise, and help more professionals find global opportunities.
Here's wishing each one of you a more fulfilling year!