Posted in m@dness, Moanday Mornings

The Paradox of Working Women

Its been 3 months since I published something and I realized I haven’t posted anything this year at all! As much as I would have loved to blame it on my “busy life”, which is the fad these days, I’ll just say I was dis-oriented. Period.

Prologue: This post is not a rant. These are not complaints and these have very little to do with my personal situations. Don’t judge, just read.

Image result for working mothers

During my post graduation, my project was on a less talked about topic called “Job Embeddedness.” This topic also got me reading about work life balance and how it was becoming difficult for women to break the glass ceiling, despite living in the 21st century. They say that behind every successful man, is a woman. How come there is no corollary to that statement? This post is my take on what I like to call “The Working Woman Paradox”.

I have been fortunate to work for most parts of my career as an HR in multiple industries which exposed me to the reality that there is still insufficient female representation at the top of most organizations. I am especially referring to the C-suite and Board levels as it appears that many women board directors tend to be the same ones being “circulated” across different boards and in some cases, are only selected due to being a family member of a family-run business! That is primarily one of the reasons I started reading up on women empowerment and diversity and inclusion.

It isn’t easy being a working mother. I mean, mother’s or women in general have always been working. Whether she is at home or in office, she has always worked. It has never been easy for women to strike that perfect balance between career and family. However, it is certainly possible to be both good mothers and competent professionals. Look at me! (Read:Cheapo ;)). India, as a country has been moving towards empowering women and India. Inc is definitely trying to be more accommodating and open. Slowly, compared to the past, women who have been going out to work now has increased. Sadly though, it doesn’t change their role at home. The division of chores and responsibilities at home is almost the same as what it was decades back. Sigh. While women, world over, continue to be the primary caretakers of children; in the Indian milieu, elder care is another familial responsibility that women shoulder. The deeply embedded sexism and conditioning of women, who have been raised to see an impeccable home and well behaved children as a sign  of her worth is one of the biggest problem, especially in the Social Media age.

“I believe that every girl, every woman, should feel free to dream high and choose whatever she wants to do in life. I believe that women and men are equal and that the only limit to girls’ dreams should be the extent of their own efforts.”

Personally, I have days when I feel guilty about not spending enough time with the girls. DIYs and baking and making dishes they love are all weekend activities. I hardly get time to do it on a weekday. Caught between work, travel, daily chores and the worry job, most weekdays are a roller coaster. When caught between office and family responsibility, as a working mother, my mantra is to ask myself, “What’s more important right now?” More often than not, the solution lies in the answer to that question.

Related image

In conversations I have had with working mothers, one thing has always stood out; The support of family. A working woman who has a strong support system at home is bound to be successful at the work front. This is because they know that the responsibilities and chores at home is not a battle that they have to fight alone. What must change in our society though, is its approach. Everyone needs to accept that whether a mother is working inside or outside the house, doesn’t hamper her ability to bring up happy and healthy children.

“We are women determined to live our best life and turn our dreams into reality. We persevere in the face of obstacles, the self-doubt and those who try to tear us down, and will not stop until we reach our destination.” “we’ve failed, we’ve stumbled and made mistakes. Not defined by our past we learn, grow stronger, and climb backup every single day. We are victors, not victims. We are fearless Queens, and we are unstoppable.” – Pinar Parry

It is my hope that we continue to support other women in and outside of the workplace. Practicing and imparting values of equality to young minds in Indian households is a difficult task. It is a herculean one, but definitely do-able and much needed in today’s times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Moanday Mornings

On my mind

On my mind these days……..

I’m broke but I’m happy
I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded
I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful baby 

I wont have much of a salary to talk about this month.. Thanks to me deciding to leave for greener pastures and now being stuck in notice period. Not that I’ll die of starvation, but it’s not quite the same thing you know. There’s something about a certain amount of money making its way to the bank, that makes you feel comfortable, even if you don’t use all of it. When did the days of managing 10 days with 20 bucks end? Why did I get so used to this sickening, addictive thing called salary?

I feel drunk but I’m sober
I’m young and I’m underpaid
I’m tired but I’m working, yeah
I care but I’m worthless
I’m here but I’m really gone
I’m wrong and I’m sorry baby 

I didn’t think I was underpaid until the day I realised I was doing something that makes little or no difference to anyone’s lives. I mean my boss acts like he doesnt care a damn if everyone leaves the company! He loves micromanagement and I hate it!I feel like I was hired to be an admin and not an HR professional.

I’m free but I’m focused
I’m green but I’m wise
I’m shy but I’m friendly baby
I’m sad but I’m laughing
I’m brave but I’m chicken shit
I’m sick but I’m pretty baby



I need to desperately get out of here. And yet there are so many hurdles to cross and so many hyperactive, super fragile egos to massage before the 4 week deadline. I love change. And yet I hate it. The anxiety is sort of killing me. But I don’t think it will last. This must be the time when people tell you that “night is the darkest just before dawn” Because…

What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine
I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

Eternally optimistic these days!

Posted in m@dness, Moanday Mornings

Fatal Attraction

I breathed each drop of you
Off my finger tips
off the palm of my hand
Each breath a whiff of fresh
I breathed and I breathed ever more
Until the last drop ran out
I smiled, satiated
Knowing I will get no more.

I think its when I read this poem that I at least unconsciously began to realize the obsessive nature in me. I cling to people like a leech and if I am pulled out, i get breathless and I start sweating and gradually, little by little perish away.

Like management gurus and philosophers say, realizing something is half the part to correction(or something on those lines). SO yeah, I chose to not be the leech. I am going to do things my way and not let anything or anyone be my reason to be happy except my own self! I will have a symbiotic relationship with everybody!

Its a monday morning people, I am allowed to be grouchy right!

P.S- I just realized that there is a movie by the same name.

Posted in Moanday Mornings

Reality Check

Its a nice, cool morning, but its Monday and so I am moaning. As usual. There are some days that just knock u off your feet. Some days when u just wake up with a smile on our face, not really knowing that it will be the only one on your face the entire day. Some days when everything just seems to go wrong, as though the whole universe just conspired to make you feel utterly miserable.

Ever get this feeling that you’re watching your own life happen from outside? No, I don’t mean to ask if u have suffered a mild case of dissassociative disorder. Just that at times, u just feel that things happening to you, are not really happening to u. they are not really real. Well, this feeling that I get once in a while, often gets me thinking. What the hell is reality anyways. Who decides what is real n what is science fiction? I mean, matrix could be real. So could Twilight. Its convenient right? We have made categories for everyone to fit in. Even for those who don’t want to- they are the miss-fits. The radicals. If someone says or believes in something that doesn’t fit into the system, they are immediately cast away as schizophrenics, maniacs. The Not-normals. Come on, how many times have you done things that isnt normal in the eyes of the society and people around you? Does that make you a not normal person or a not nice person? Then how can you judge someone else and push someone away because they are doing something different?! Talk about double standards!

Alright I digress. This brings us back to my original question. Who decides what is normal? Whose reality are we living anyways? I remember one day in college, my friends and I had a HUGE debate over this. Well, mostly it was speed n me, with div trying to placate me, while supporting speed’s view. Speed claimed that reality was quite simply what she could see, feel, touch n hear. I countered that so does a schizophrenic( I am a psychologist too, remember), so why is that called hallucination? She counter-countered that, well what a schizo’s reality is something that only he/she can see. But her reality is something that all of us can…she, me,div, the guy sitting in the adjacent bench trying to evesdrop, all of us. So well, I asked, then that simply means that your reality is dependant on the corroboration of others. Which when simply put can just mean that whatever the majority thinks, believes, and says, becomes the reality. It may be wrong, but then u gotta live with it.

This brings us to another favourite theory of mine. That this big, beautiful world of ours, runs on a few sets of parameters. And on the assumption that every man, woman, n child, accept n believe in those parameters. These parameters may not always make sense, but they are essential building blocks of our world. If they crumble, we crumble. So when some enlightened soul stands up to question them, it becomes necessary for us to label them as crazy, so that we don’t have to grope in the darkness for answers. Because we are quite happy to live with the answers that we already have. So well, if we believe that matrix is a reality, it kinda burdens us with a need to take a stand. Do we, go on as we did even after knowing the truth? Or do we, like Neo, fight for freedom? Choice…it’s not just our greatest gift, it is also our biggest burden. We chose our reality. We chose what we want to believe. And we chose to be who we are. Reality, my friend, is a myth.

It’s all in your head…zombie.

Posted in Moanday Mornings

The Dilemma of saying No or Yes

I have been attending trainings the whole of last week. Since I was outta office for a long time,somehow today it really felt like mo(a)nday morning! SO  I am grumpy! There have been quite some stuff happening around here which kinda makes me think as to why it is so difficult to say no or maybe yes sometimes.

I’ve always thought that ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are both perfectly acceptable answers to questions such as ‘Am I getting the job’, ‘Is this person really worth the time’, ‘Did they like me’ etc. If the answer is a no and I’m the one at the receiving end, I won’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt just a wee bit. Heck, I might even stay in bed for a day and expect my friends to act like their lives have come to an end, now that my job/life in general has not worked out. But I’ll get over it. And see it for what it is. I chose to put my pride out there where it could get beaten to a pulp and it did! And the person ‘dishing it out’ was in actual fact, being fair to me, by not leading me on.

However, what I’ve observed and absolutely cannot fathom, is the tendency for people to avoid giving an answer altogether. When it comes to bad news, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. And I can say for a fact that it isn’t easy telling someone that something isn’t working or seeing someone’s work and being stuck with the responsibility of telling them that they ‘just don’t have it’. It’s cruel. It’s scary. But it’s honest. And it’s the harder and better thing to do. Because unlike the breakee, the breaker doesn’t have the luxury of self-pity to fall back on. Only the guilt of breaking someone’s heart or destroying someone’s dreams. I think the whole problem behind this kind of evasive, non-confrontational behaviour is the need to be liked. By everyone.

Thankfully, this is not one of my many needs.

So I’m usually unaffected by issues such as ”my family thinks you’re too headstrong’ or ‘my friends think you’re stuck up.’ My only response is ‘what do you think?’ and I silently smirk at the thought of how much we tune our lives to what other people think!?But who do you say that I am?’ Sure enough, the person in question, in an attempt to give a manly/womanly answer, meekly agrees that it doesn’t matter what everybody thinks. Except that it does. He/She’s one of those I-want-everybody-to-like-me-so-I-lie-to-keep-everyone-happy types, so the relationship goes on for as long as it possibly can on a foundation of lies!

Sigh

Life would be so simple if people learnt to handle rejection gracefully and these evasive ones didn’t feel the need to be evasive anymore. Just think of how much time we could all save! Phew. Love might make the world go round. But ‘no’ makes it linear and less-complicated.

Posted in Moanday Mornings

Girls love action, too.

Last evening, I was discussing movies with psycho and we went into various genres and he happened to mention this guy Jason Statham when we came to action and I blinked. So he told me how he was like the Rajinikanth(I wonder which one of the two would be more humbled) of the Hollywood dishum-dishum genre and didn’t even sound surprised when I looked him up and reported that I had never seen his face ever before. “Heh, yes, you’ll only see this guy in action flicks” he said. I explained that I do watch and even love action flicks, just not the ones that are action for the sake of action. But I’ve noticed this very common misconception – that women don’t like action flicks. Or would prefer  rom-com over action any day. I assure you, this is not true. But before I present my case, you should know that I am speaking  for the die-hard rom-com and chick-lit lovers, popularly known as “girls” or “chicks.”

Because I just watched Knight and Day and have a Tom Cruise crush all over again. Also, I’ve found my comfort movie for the next one year – a movie for all moods. See, it has all the right ingredients – action, romance and humour – that’s all I want from a movie, really. And life – a guy who knows how to live on the edge and have the ability to say ‘I’ve got this, June, I’ve got this’ in that supremely cool and confident fashion even when the bad guys have got him dangling upside down from the ceiling. Blush Blush…Goosebumps too.

Instead, I have always seemed to have had men-friends(I am engaged, i cant use terms such as boy friends for fear of being Judged!!) who – while they are supremely cool and confident and even say such things as ‘I’ve got this, Mads, I’ve got this’ – prove in the end that that they’ve got nothing. Anyway, the movie made me sighhhh and it’s been a while since I sighhhhed in that Oh-I-want-thaaaaat kind of way after watching a movie. So I decided to use the opportunity to set the story straight on women – sorry, chicks and action flicks.

Coming back to Knight and Day, I know a lot of women who would have very strong views on how this movie insults women’s intelligence. I mean, not only is the woman, June Something (played by Cameron Diaz) a prop in the movie, going around getting into trouble and acting helpless till our hero, Secret Agent Roy Miller literally dives into the scene from out of the blue to rescue her – she is also portrayed as someone who is incapable of following simple, straightforward instructions such as ‘DO NOT get into ANY vehicle because they will KILL you’, ‘STAY in the room, DON’T GO ANYWHERE’, ‘We’ll get up at the count of THREE’ etc.I know I should feel insulted but I lapped it up because I could totally relate. I would do exactly those things (the opposite) too if I found myself surrounded by tension and ambiguity. But see, there’s a simple logic to that. Ambiguity  implies action. Action implies testosterone and a general sense of manliness. Which in turn makes me weak in the knees and clouds my judgement.

Of course, to say that all women are like this would be wrong and unfair. I know a lot of women (like aforementioned Tom Boys) who’d rather fantasize about being the action hero than being rescued by one. But it’s just not my fantasy. I mean, I’ve just never had such ambitions. I’d rather be the girl-next-door who accidentally slips into the jaws of death just before being swooped up by hot, secret agent guy who keeps saying ‘I’ve got this.’ But even in my fantasies, I find it very hard to separate reality and refuse to jump off planes and get caught in gun fires (as all secret agents’ girls are expected to) and that’s where the fantasy usually ends.But this is the part that the movie tackles brilliantly.

See, our man keeps drugging her every time she panics and/or is expected to do dangerous stuff to escape from the bad guys. So she ends up sleeping through the scary bits and waking up in tropical islands to the view of secret agent coming out of the waters all bare-chested and muscular. Perfect.And in the end, the bad guys give her truth serum. So while our hero is wielding a gun, trying to keep away from harm’s way and asking her to ‘Go, hide behind the wall’, she’s busy saying ‘Oooh, Roy, this is so exciting. Life with you is sooo exciting!’ And when he appears a bit distracted because you know, he’s kind of preoccupied dodging death, she gets all sulky, pouts and goes ‘But you don’t seem happy to see me.’

Spot on. I wouldn’t even need a drug to do that.

This does not make me stupid though, it just means my brain is wired in such a way that when it spots an opportunity for romance, all other things get blurry. And action, the way we see it, induces romantic feelings (among other things). So if you’re going to be holding a gun and doing all those action hero gymnastics, you can’t blame me for taking a minute to drool and letting thoughts of romance get in the way of the task at hand. In fact, I don’t care who’s out to get that stupid battery you’re safeguarding, I’ll actually stomp my feet and demand that you kiss me right away. And I’ll judge you if the kiss doesn’t stack up to expectations.

So yes, assuming that girls like only candy floss or girls don’t like action is wrong. Most of us, like a bit of everything. Even the ones who say they don’t like action, like it in cutesy doses (as in this movie). Action, when it’s packaged the right way and in acceptable quantities is in fact most conducive for romance.

It’s like this – we feel about action the way men feel about lingerie – it’s great and puts us in the mood but at some point, it’s got to go off. So when a woman tells you she doesn’t mind action flicks, please don’t get excited and start boring her by listing out your favorite action scenes. That’s not how it works. How would you feel if she spoke of bras (not ones she was wearing or ever intended to wear) but instead droned on and on about the type and texture of the fabric?

So, if you’ve got the hots for a “chick,” screw the horror movie. Take her to an action-rom-com and when the time comes to brave the crowds queuing up for popcorn and she’s sulking about not being able to make it back to her seat in time after getting caramel popcorn, tell her in that cool and confident fashion – “I’ve got this.” 🙂

 

Posted in Moanday Mornings

Just Above Average

Its a drab monday morning. I get cranky and moan every monday morning. However, this morning I have a thought for me you. Every day you try to do something with your life. And mind you, this isnt something you do knowingly, it just happens. You try because you think you will become great if you could just do that one thing that gets you noticed. It might be a presentation that you made in office. Or that idea you thought was brilliant. Or whatever it was. And then you look around. And no one is applauding. Wtf. Wasn’t this supposed to be your moment? So you either shrug your shoulders and try better tomorrow or you convince people that it was a good thing in the first place. You go around thinking you ARE brilliant. Then you start doing the same thing again and again. Until people realize that wow – that is some cool shit. And the people who are opposed to you even though they might think differently will say, what the hell, let’s just say it is cool shit! And soon you’re known for it. Soon, people start recognizing you for it. Soon people start believing in it. And it is awesome. Because soon enough other people start doing the same thing. And it spreads. The same thing goes on and on until a new generation breaks it with something different. Not great, but new. And then an entire era is remembered for that one thing. Even if that thing was simply an above average idea or mediocre.

Stop. No really, stop! Stop doing that.  Don’t let mediocrity rule. Do better or give credit to someone who does. You don’t always have to be the centre of attention. Your work might not always be the Best, even if you’re the Boss.

Excel. Or at least try to in every single sphere of you life. Mendacity seeps through our bones. Don’t let it rule your life.

Be better today. Otherwise we’ll just be a generation of average, ordinary and unremarkable people patting each other on the back.

And that sucks!