These yellow Post-It notes are an essential part of my life. I have used these yellow thingies to write welcome notes and bid goodbye. To share a word of appreciation for my team members. To say thank you for great work done. Several appraisals and many bosses later, my team members still have the fading thank you notes and cartoons on their desk.
Our cultural traditions have always had a place for a sidekick. Our folk theater has had a jamura who acts as a sidekick to the main performer or madaari. Without the jamura, the madaari’s show is incomplete. From royalty to musicians, there is always place for a sidekick. That may be an opportunity for India as tech becomes Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in the pantheon of jobs.
When the Olympic Games have been officially declared closed and everyone has gone home, the world begins to believe in a myth. The myth of limits. That it is not humanly possible to do it any better… ever. Somewhere, tucked away in obscurity there is someone who does not believe in any such limits. Someone is still practicing for years for a shot at being unreasonable.
I have discovered poetry and music in strange places because I got lost. I love wandering about aimlessly when I am in a new city. It was during one of those meanderings after dinner one night in Madrid that I discovered that some of the streets had some words engraved on the cobbled stones. A helpful resident of the neighborhood told me that they were the lines from the Spanish poet Becquer.
Do only the poor work for money? After all, I have seen even the highest paid employees bargain with clenched teeth about an amount that would be less than a percentage of their earning. When someone says, “It is not about the money, it is the principle of the thing that I care about”. You can bet that it is indeed only about the money. Or are we missing the point?
Stress is a silent killer. But you know that. What you don’t know is how almost half the workforce is suffering from its ill effects. Loneliness is the biggest curse of the contemporary India. The pressure to find employment drives people to uproot themselves from their friends and family. That takes away the biggest mental safety-net one could have. Software engineers have often said that they dread weekends because they have no friends in the city where they are now working. Hanging around in malls is a poor substitute.
Loneliness is a curse – but how is it killing the workplace? Read on…
As compared to the drivers on the road, do you rate yourself as better than 90% of them? Most of us would agree with that rating of our skill. We could justify it by saying that, “I am not saying that I am the best driver. But I am better than 90% of the drivers I see on the road.” The problem is that most people tend to believe that too. Statistically speaking that is impossible. Could you succeed as a cabbie? If you said yes, read on.
As robots take on more and more work that is rule bound the opportunities will grow for roles which need empathy, negotiation skills and collaboration, precisely the skills that women are better at because of their caregiving roles. To make that happen we need a reorganization of the workplace so that people aren’t penalized for choosing flexible schedules by being shunted into positions that are less meaningful to them or less rewarding financially. We need to speed up progress by changing the lens with which we view work. It is not about gender any more.
I struggled to get used to the fountain pen. It used to leak and stain my shirt. On the days of exams, I was given a spare fountain pen in case I ran out of ink. I never had enough to write especially during exams and so that scenario remained a figment of my imagination. Ballpoint pens were not permitted. The teachers were divided in their opinion if our handwriting would deteriorate because of the use of ballpoint pens. Our Math teacher didn’t care what pen I used as long as I got the arithmetic correct. The English teacher would penalize us if we did not use fountain pens. We all knew that those who had better handwriting scored just that little bit more because of their penmanship.
Women’s Day is an opportunity to think about how to make conscious choices to build a more inclusive workplace. That means we should look at policies that allow for flexibility in when, where, and how work is done. Today technology enables us to dis-aggregate work and distribute it across the world to anyone who is capable of doing it. Progressive organizations are rethinking not only maternity benefits but also recraft their parental leave policies.