All posts tagged: Work

Vision for all

If you wear eyeglasses, I’m sure you can remember what it felt like the first time you wore them. Personally, I was in denial for 2 years before I got my first pair. My bespectacled self realized that my whole world had been a blur. Suddenly, everything was bright and all those blotches had defined shapes. I could see clearly again, thanks to Salvino D’Armate, peace be upon him. Unfortunately, millions the world over, and nearly 15 million people in India can never experience their first time. I shall resist brooding over how this affects their quality of life and how unfair the financial inequality in our country is. I will however mention that the aftermath of unaided poor vision is often blindness.  A while ago, a friend told me how some IIT students had found this problem an ingenious solution. Today, I stumbled upon a similar initiative by Lions Club International. Apparently it has been in place for over 80 years! I’m still blown away by the idea, and to prevent further anticipation, here goes: …

The career quest

Yesterday, I attended a career talk by BCG (Boston Consulting Group). It was almost intimidating to enter a room full of people who exude such an aura of intelligence. I suppose it is universally accepted that some of the world’s smartest people work / have worked at BCG, and they won’t disappoint you when you meet them in person. The presentation was impressive, of course, but contrary to my expectations, it was also soft-selling, casual and rather humble. The intimidation has been replaced by admiration. I wonder if people who are now on the other side of the line, who are happy with their jobs, successful even, were ever in the same boat as so many of us soon-to-be-graduates. Did they know from the start what they liked, what they wanted to do, where they belonged? Were they aware of exactly where they stood, with respect to smartness, intelligence, skills and capabilities? Did they have the perfect attitude to begin with?  I wonder if like many things in life, our career has a defining moment …

7 shots: Mr Team Player

Although I’m not a fan of typical ‘team-building’ discourses that we read so often in management books and online, I found Randy Pausch’s tips for working successfully in groups rather appealing: 1) Meet people properly: It all starts with the introduction. Exchange contact information. Make sure you can pronounce everyone’s names [especially if you’re working in a diverse cultural group. I still can’t pronounce the names of some of my teammates-turned-friends because I never asked in our first meeting!]. 2) Find things you have in common: You can almost always find something in common with another person, and from there,it’s much easier to address issues when you have differences. Sports cut across boundaries of race and wealth [absolutely!]. And if nothing else, we all have the weather in common. 3) Try for optimal meeting conditions: Make sure no one is hungry, cold or tired. Meet over a meal if you can; food softens a meeting [unless you’re a vegetarian and the others aren’t. Then food just hardens it more]. That’s why they do “lunch” in …

20 seconds to sell yourself

That’s right, your resume. If there ever was hard-selling, it is now. A piece of paper that contains your life, your learnings, your achievements (whether or not you have any). It tweaks and moulds and screams and boasts. Probably the shallowest piece of paper, probably the most fake; it’ll probably make or break your life.  So here I am, editing mine for the umpteenth time. Even more than the job hunting process, what agitates me is that I’m supposed to sell myself outright on “achievements” that really don’t define me.  No wonder they call us SELL OUTS.

Gen Y goes to work

As graduation clouds loom overhead and the job pressure builds, we don’t anticipate offers raining on fresh graduates like us. The umbrellas of non-finance majors in Singapore are particularly dry. It’s relieving to know that globally, our generation (Five jobs in five years, no worries) is dumping high paying jobs in search of the ‘right fit’, despising long work hours, and being valued for their fast-paced mindset (Gen Y provides leadership and productivity). I wonder if long-standing corporate cultures will make way for this new bunch of people, rebellious yet efficient. I wonder if hiring practices will be adapted to hunt for talent, as opposed to loyalty and conformity. Maybe it’s time the corporate world is split by generations too.

Last semester at college

It’s been a while since I talked about the real stuff that’s been bothering me. The Olympics, Indian news channels, people, are all very well, but I’m pushing aside things that I should really be thinking about. I’m exactly 3 months and 15 days away from graduating. Overwhelming, if one word could sum it up. It’s going to be the end of 3.5 years at college, it feels like the end of an era, and also like a fleeting moment that passed me by with my eyes still shut. The nostalgia is not looming yet, the friendships are still strong, but the future (suddenly?) isn’t looking bright enough. For 3 years, I have been waiting to miraculously discover the trail that my life’s supposed to take. What will I change in the remaining 1/2 of the year (or 3 months, 15 days to be more precise)? Disinterest is giving way to anxiety, and anxiety to fear and hatred. Fear and hatred of my future, of the things that lie ahead for me, of the sell-out that …

Goodbye work

I can’t let the summer end without this last post. By summer, I mean the summer in Singapore. Of work, banks and contradictions. Tomorrow is my last day. I’ll be exaggerating if I say it’s been a roller coaster ride. It’s been pretty smooth actually, at least on the outside. My head has been full of conflicts though, from one moment to the next. I have come a long way since I talked about survival, surviving work in a bank. I have grown out of it, the phobia, the fear and the bias. I know though, that what I had thought all along is true, but I have come to realize that I don’t have the right to judge. It is true that most people are motivated by money. Yet, they are some of the nicest people I’ve met in Singapore. In fact, they’ve almost changed my opinion of the country, in the context of racism. I’ll probe into that topic another time, but for now, I am, as always, in two minds. I can’t say if …

Working in a bank

For a long time, I thought banks were plain evil. I guess it started with how everyone (almost everyone) in college wants to get a job in a bank, some bank, any bank. To me, it came as a stark reminder of how people are all rowing their boats towards the same lighthouse, and how they’d probably crash on the same rock. It isn’t for the love of the work. Only money. A series of poor judgments and a phase of desperation later, I find myself working in, well, a bank! It puts my ‘principles’ on dubious grounds. It makes me a two-faced hypocrite. It took nothing less than courage to walk into that office, stamping over everything I had quite believed in. A week and a half into it, I’m almost proud to say I’ve survived. I must admit how baseless my “logic” was. At least as far as Marketing is concerned, a consumer bank is extremely similar to any other consumer goods company. They merely sell financial plans, like a telecom company would …