Ms. Middle Manager, if you don’t keep an eye open for opportunities to sharpen your skills and learn new ones, you could end up facing a mid-career crisis the impact of which will leave you flattened. Organisations being pyramidal structures, there’s less room at the top and plenty at the bottom but the problem is that you are in the middle of a fast-shrinking middle! Continue reading
In most urban families in India these days, it is fairly common to have multiple wage earners. There was a time, long ago, when the man of the house was considered the bread-winner and ladies generally stayed at home and looked after their families. Today, in India, 24 % of the work force is made up of women, 117 million of them. Most of them have children to look after even as they pursue their careers. They are truly Super Moms as they rush from place to place, balancing the demands of work and family as only they can.
Our country is in a paradoxical position. On the one hand, we have a huge reservoir of youth, perhaps more than anywhere else in the world. They say 65 % of India’s population is below the age of 35 and almost 50 % below 25 years. They have aspirations like never before mainly because of greater exposure thanks to TV and the media. Continue reading
Another year has flown past. Another year for you of achievements, disappointments, victories and setbacks, but then that’s part of life. We need to gear ourselves up for the challenges ahead. In this, the last post, for 2013 I would like to point you to a few inputs which could help you, as a young professional, or a budding professional, face up to the challenges that 2014 will bring with it. Continue reading
As a relatively new author, having been at it full-time for the last three years, I have often wondered how it is to be a literary agent. Perhaps my view of them is jaundiced by my experience as a new author knocking on the doors of recognition. Like everybody else, I have submitted queries to many literary agents. Most, I grant, have taken the time to respond, even if not in the positive.
It is a sign of our times that more and more women are starting their own entrepreneurial ventures in India. This is not restricted to any one field but you will find them engaging in businesses which cover a wide spectrum, not necessarily restricted to the careers stereotyped for working women. Continue reading
I have an observation to make about the way most of us do things in India. We are quick to jump onto any band wagon and seldom monitor progress effectively to make course corrections as necessary. This extends to personal behaviours too. If we eat, we eat as if there is no tomorrow and if we spend, we spend lavishly, without a care for what might happen in the future. Sometimes we go the other way and deny ourselves even the basics, in the name of “economizing.” We seem to shuttle between the “feast” or the “fast” extremes, if you get what I mean.
This is reflected sadly too in this article I read recently in the Economic Times. It is full of facts but the summary is that a fifth to a third of the million engineers that graduate from Indian colleges will find it difficult to secure employment in the near future.
We are heading for what can be describes as fairly turbulent times. I find the annual GDP growth rate was the slowest in a decade. This article in the Wall Street Journal says, “Gross domestic product rose 5.0% in the fiscal year ended March 31, after a 6.2% increase in 2012 and annual rates of over 9% for a row of years before the global financial crisis of 2008.”
I see today that the Indian Rupee has gone up to nearly Rs 60 to the US $ as against some Rs 45 only two years ago.
The key to the unemployment issue to my mind is the mushrooming of engineering colleges, many of them with questionable standards of faculty and infrastructure, in many parts of India. The future looked extremely rosy with the IT and outsourcing boom, and every man and his uncle ( who could afford to do so) set up an engineering college. Things were fine as long as the economy did well. The IT industry seemed to have an almost insatiable appetite for engineers. Chasing this dream, many young men and women were cajoled by their parents to leave aside whatever they were truly interested in and take up subjects which could help them get employment in this fast growing industry.
No one stopped to think that the boom couldn’t go on for ever. No one stopped to think that it made no sense whatsoever to start more engineering colleges without a care for the future prospects of the graduating students.
From all accounts, we see today that trouble is around the corner if not already at the door. Many have accepted employment doing jobs that can be done by people with far less qualifications. It is sad to think of graduate engineers ( of however debatable quality) taking to crime as has been reported in many cases. This is a terrible trend with some “new world” scams taking place based on plans hatched by intrinsically smart but poorly employed/unemployed engineers.
I hope the situation will change for the better. Till then as so graphically described in the Economic Times article, we must agree with Manish Sabharwal, Chairman of Teamlease Services when he said, ‘”The world of work is evolving… employers increasingly don’t care what you know, they focus on what you can do with that knowledge.” While dozens of new institutes have been established in the past six or eight years, he claims that over a third of them are empty and perhaps they are “worth more dead (for the real estate they sit on) than alive.”
Ms. ABC had the right qualifications and the personality to make an impact wherever she worked. In her organisation, she was quickly taken under the wings of a very senior executive. He recognised her potential and her obvious strengths. He soon gave her a free rein, perhaps more than he did with others. Over time, Ms. ABC came to be known as the power behind the throne even if this was an exaggerated description. It was rumoured that she had a role in important decisions and that the Big Chief consulted her more than he ought to. Continue reading