DOES BEING A MOMMY MAKE YOU MORE EMPLOYABLE?

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We have heard enough of how motherhood is a big hindrance to the quintessential career woman. Well, to think of it, it is undoubtedly a very big challenge to manage a flourishing career with a baby yet being a mother actually necessitates a whole barrage of highly employable skills and competencies which can only benefit a career woman.

While we may not consciously acknowledge or recognize the ways we have up skilled ourselves, I think it is very important that the same should be broadcasted to the world. Who knows our potential future employers might be able to identify with our skill set better after reading this!  I am going to write on 7 most important skills that we develop as mothers that actually give us an edge over our colleagues at the workplace.

  1. Time Management: Yes, this is the primary skill which makes us superwomen. None of us feel we have enough time to complete all the tasks in a day but as moms, we have mastered the art of meeting deadlines and magically completing all the tasks despite the uncertain circumstances. Like many other moms, I too mentally scan the whole day in advance every morning and divide activities in neat slots nearly perfecting the ambition of task completion by end of the day.
  2. Planning and Priority Setting: Yes, even without a scheduler, we manage to feed, wash, clean and complete all the important tasks with no qualms. And when we’re able to mentally plan and juggle these tasks throughout the day, we’re adeptly sorting out which ones are priority to us and which ones can be postponed for later. As a trainer myself, I have done multiple sessions on planning and prioritization for the employees in my organization but lately I realized that post motherhood, I have found new effective tricks to manage gaps, assemble activities and schedule tasks.
  3. Crisis Management: How you deal with crises is a big deal in Corporate life. As a mother, we already are experts in being on top of situational awareness, adaptability and conflict management. These are the most important skills required to deal with any kind of crisis at work and having developed these can actually put us in a pedestal at the workplace.
  4. Negotiation: Any parent who has survived the baby is definitely a pro at convincing an unreasonable person to do what they want. While we get to develop this skill absolutely for free, there is no denying to the fact that it has been developed during the toughest of times. So, negotiating with stubborn people would be a cakewalk for us now.
  5. Change Management: With a baby, every day is a new experience. We cannot predict what is coming our way next but dealing with these uncertain requirements every single day makes us a stone wall ready to take any kind of hit. This is a huge plus for the Corporate employees and in the current scenario, something that should go right on the top of our CV.
  6. Problem Solving : If you have more than one child, you probably practise this every single day. Babies and children always present an endless list of problems that need solving and with multiple children, you possibly got an added flavor of conflict management as well. Starting with sleep training to fixing broken toys, our minds are programmed in such a way that we literally figure out a solution for every problem that crops up.
  7. Communication : The other day during a fun Friday at work, we were playing a game of Dumb Charades. Bam, I was a pro at it. Thanks to all the non-verbal cues I pick up every single day from my darling daughter. Dealing with a baby helps us realize that language is not a barrier. It makes us more positive, empathetic and effective in both verbal and non-verbal communication. It also brings out a great listener in us, after all listening to the endless blabbering and answering repetitive questions is a test of patience that we can pass only with experience.

Personally, I think I learnt better in my motherhood journey than all the management lessons put together during my Business school days.:D

I hope you mommies find this useful as well!

KEEPING PRIVATE LIFE PRIVATE!

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Keeping our personal lives private is such a difficult task. With the social media bang, it’s so flattering that people genuinely love to follow and comment on the lives we are living, the work we are doing, who we are sharing our lives with, what are our relationship moves and how we are getting to our life’s goals. We add fuel to the fire ourselves by the information we share on social media platforms and then have to face the repercussions. If you’re possibly looking for some ways to get off the grid , the next few lines might help.

Let’s talk about few points on why private life must be kept private –

  1. Low key profile – We live in a constant struggle to make our presence felt by people around us and to do the same, we try to share as much as we can. Well, I feel giving too much of yourself away in a way allows others to feel like they can define your personality and once they do, it’s hard to feel like you can ever deviate from not what you project but how they have defined you.
  1. Peer pressure – Social media has done this to us. We see the happiest of faces of people around us – a projection of life they DO NOT lead and guess what? Our brain compels us to share similar projection of ourselves to the world. We perceive it as a need to tell the world that we are happy because everybody else seems to be happy. We must not give in to such pressure because after all, it is just a part of someone’s life, not the all of it.
  2. Work life balance– Don’t let your professional life drive all over your personal life. Respect your personal relationships and schedule your personal activities so that you can dedicate specific time for personal activities. This way, you can ensure there is a clear demarcation between what the people at work can expect and what your family and friends can expect from you.
  3. Element of mystery – There is a theory around this. People who do not open up about themselves frequently are found to be more attractive. So, basically there is a constant curiosity in the minds of people to know more about the individual. So , next time you want to draw attention to yourself , do not just give away the whole of you 😀
  4. Move On – When you share your intimate details with everyone around you, it gets more difficult to move on. The other day, I heard someone share a story about how he got terminated at multiple workplaces due to unethical practices. The next I knew, the interviewer of the next job opportunity was someone who already knew of this history because he had made it public. This not just killed his confidence but also got him caught in his own trap.
  5. Opinionated world – Yes, the world will judge you, always. If you give people more opportunities to peek into your life, they will get more reasons to point their fingers at you. So, build your core group and value opinions of people who matter to you and trust me, they are the ones who will be a phone call away, not people who would be checking your social media accounts.
  6. Profession – As bloggers, we feel it is a self-imposed duty to share useful information from our personal experiences with the world. I agree, the best content comes from our own personal perspective and point of view but personally, I always draw a line. You will never see me dish out the nitty gritty details of my everyday life but just as much as required for people to understand and resonate with me.

I would love to get your comments on where do you draw the line!

Learning from Homestay Hosts!

‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ is an ancient line that comes from the Hindu Scriptures which speaks about how a guest is equivalent to God. While this is practiced widely in India, we got to experience the flavor of it in our Paris Trip where we decided to stay with the host family through a popular home stay website. While the option is far more economic compared to a hotel stay, the experience is unmatched. In most occasions, you will find the hosts being extremely enthusiastic about letting out their place. They won’t behave like they are just temporary landlords who are handing over their keys to you. They are in the true spirit, cultural ambassadors proud of the place they’re from, sharing their homes and offering a unique experience in the city you have come visiting. We as a couple had a ball in not just Paris but different cities of UK and Europe staying in various apartments where we met extremely generous and fun loving hosts. We have been picking up our learning from each of the experiences.Here are few pictures from the home stay at Paris.

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A reading corner is my favorite, everywhere I go!IMG_5513

 

Let me just share my top 7 points on being a good host and why you should consider hosting your space to guests –

  1. How to be accepting – No matter how different your cultures and languages might be, there is always something common to strike a chord with and this is a great platform to explore that. Similarly, you also learn to respect each others’ differences, either way it is a great way to improve the quality of accepting people around you.
  2. How to respect individual space – When you are letting out your house to strangers, you have to place hundred percent trust on them and it is not easy. So, that itself is a huge task to complete before you step out to become a host. As guests in our homestays, we felt completely at home particularly in the magnificent modern apartment of Paris only for the reason that the hosts gave us our space all through the day yet made sure to join us during the meals as one big family.
  3. How to be a cultural ambassador – As hosts, you can be an instant favorite if you give useful recommendations like the local pubs, the nearby restaurants, the must see places and the ones that can be skipped, the opera, the theatre and the list goes on. Funnily, it improves your knowledge of the culture of your locale.Hence, it is always wise to write to the guest beforehand and understand their interest and purpose of travel.
  4. How to exchange values – Hosting guests provides you with the opportunity to learn about a new country’s cultural and family values as much as it provides them with the same opportunity. Understanding other’s cultures teaches you to understand more about people’s personalities and attitudes towards many different aspects of life.
  5. How to make awesome food – I know it sounds funny but I have heard people say that some of the best foods they have had in their lives are with the host families they have stayed with. In our experience, the hosts would leave a generous spread of breakfast at the table every morning but they loved to cook food for supper every evening. We took this opportunity to introduce few Indian dishes to them and they absolutely loved it(minus the spices). Interestingly, one of them was Spanish, so it was a brilliant concoction of Indian, French and Spanish food that we had every evening.
  6. How to build professional network – Foreign language is a great plus for your resume if you are ready to take up an international assignment, this is a wonderful opportunity to grow your professional network .
  7. How to be passionate about simple joys of life – Hosting is possibly the most natural thing that comes to human beings, after all you must have hosted someone at some point of life – be it friends or family. Hosting a stranger can be a really rewarding experience if you leverage on this unique opportunity of making a new friend, getting to know about a new culture and possibly open a channel to your next travel to the guest’s city.

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Picture from a busy locale just outside the apartment, from fruits to flowers to pubs – everything a stone’s throw away!

The next time you think about letting out your space to a stranger, think from a positive perspective!

Happy Hosting!

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Atithi devo bhava is an ancient line from the Hindu Scriptures which speaks about how a guest is equivalent to God.While this is practised widely in India,we got to experience this amazing hospitality at Marc and Xavier's place in Paris. My top 3 learnings on being a good host comes from these gentlemen- 1.How to be accepting-No matter how different our cultures and languages might be,there is always something common to strike a chord with. 2.How to give space- When you are letting out your house to strangers,you have to place hundred percent trust on them.We felt absolutely at home in this magnificent house only because they gave us our space yet joined us for meals as one big family. 3.Being a good guide – As hosts, you can be instant friends when you give useful recommendations like the local pubs,the nearby restaurants,the opera,the theatre and the list goes on.Read full story on #vogueviolet-link in bio👆 Have you ever experienced such an amazing hospitality from strangers that you can't forget the hosts? #airbnb #homestay

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HOMESICK DURING VACATION?

So, I am writing this post in the middle of a holiday as I think of my darling little V who is having a ball of time back home. Generally, home is far from the top of my mind when I travel to a new place. I am always busy exploring and soaking in the experience yet I always look forward to going back when it is time to return.

A quote that I relate to –

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 I love coming home after being away. Do you feel the same way? Read on to find out 7 reason why –

  1. Family: Whatever said and done, there is no substitute to the warmth of a family and if you got fur babies, I know you just can’t wait to get back home and cuddle up.
  2. Comfort: I know all you fashionistas love to wear the best of clothes and shoot the best of pictures in vacations, but hey, secretly we all want to go back to our pajamas and slump in the couch, don’t we?
  3. Back on track: Yes, holidays are the time when all your new year resolutions, diet and workout goals go for a toss. So, coming back to home gets you back on track with clean eating and increased focus on health.
  4. Creativity: Sometimes you get so many fresh ideas in a holiday that you can’t wait for the surge of creativity to step out of you and implement them in your lives.
  5. Familiarity: When you are in a different country, after a certain period of time, you practically long to communicate in your own language, eat your home cooked food and feel your usual neighborhood.
  6. Routine: Yes, you went on a holiday to escape the usual but people like me long to get back to routine after a few days. A routine just makes life easy, you know exactly what you’re going to do next.
  7. Sleep: After an activity packed vacation and before you start going back to work, you would want to get some good sleep(and what better than your own bed). You can catch up on all the episodes loss of your favorite series. So, all you GOT fans, please don’t plan a vacation when Season 8 is aired!

Don’t get me wrong, I love vacations as much as you do but I also really do LOVE coming back home 🙂

 

LEAP OF FAITH

The other day I was looking at a picture of me and V taken a few months back. It made me wonder how fast she is growing, adapting to the environment around her so effortlessly and learning new things every single day. Learning seems so easy to her now and little does she know that unlearning all of these things will get difficult with age. Today ,when I look at myself , I wonder when was the last time I accepted a change without questioning or started something new,embracing a new beginning whole heartedly. Sometimes, you just need to take a leap of faith to experience the magic of a new beginning.

Here are 7 reasons why you must take the “Leap of faith “ –

  • Listen to your inner voice : Sometimes, we just need to sense our gut instinct and follow it because often it is the inner voice which leads you to the right path instead of the external advice that you have been seeking all along.
  • Regret and no regret : If you take up this lifetime opportunity, you will not regret it later. At the same time, for all the practical reasons you might realize later that you have made a wrong choice. Take a leap of faith for the choice that you truly want, so you will not feel the pinch of regret later. Sometimes the safer route is not always the best because once a decision is set in motion, it is likely to gain more momentum. I have seen infeasible dreams turning into reality merely through grit and determination.
  • Overcome the fear of unknown: There’s always an element of fear for what you can’t see and there’s always an element of excitement and a sense of desire to chase the unknown, to follow your passion. So, make your choice, let the passion overshadow the fear!
  • Celebrate the past and present: The pursuit to your passion will never be lucid until you pave your way yourself. Be grateful for your past , present and utilize it to carve your future. Gather your experience and pick the universe’s clues to take that leap.
  • Draw inspiration :Look around for people who follow the same passion. Do you want to move to a bigger city leaving behind your settled household for a dream job? How many people in your circle have done anything close to that, how many have been successful with it?
  • Money is not an excuse : I don’t want to sound like those zillion reminders you get on your social media on how you should drop everything and go travel the world. Money is very very important but don’t let money be your excuse. Plan your savings, take time to do it and if you really want to move and take advantage of this new experience, you’ll find a way to make it work.
  • It doesn’t work out : Come back and start again. You might lose time, but the gain is immense in terms of the experience. You learn new things from new people, new challenges, new places and most importantly the new ‘you’. The risk is well worth the reward.

The inner voice!

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Extroverted Introvert’s Guide

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Source :Inpathybulletin

Like every other corporate employee, the thought of Friday evening delights me. This Friday is no exception. The only difference is I am torn between wanting to go party and staying home spending some “lone time”. Although after Little Miss V arrived in our lives, there is no such lone time that exists in the schedule yet the thought of curling up inside the blanket in my pajamas, reading a book , staring at the ceiling and doing nothing(after she sleeps) kind of comforts me. Well, I cannot say that I am an outright introvert person because I might lose my job if I say that. After all, I am a Human Resources Professional and it’s my responsibility to socialize with human beings and manage them professionally. So, I found a term for myself which justifies the imbalance between being gregarious and unusually quiet – extroverted introvert. Now, let me explain this with 7 typical characteristics of an extroverted introverts –

  1. They are not the most talkative in the group but can be great conversationalists if interested in the conversation.
  2. Love to be alone yet feel lonely.
  3. Seek attention yet want to go hide in a shell when they get it.
  4. Operate on “ON/OFF” mode – Appear very sociable when out in groups yet rush home to recharge in solitude.
  5. They have 1112 friends on social media yet 2 they can actually depend on. They can make friends easily but find it difficult to maintain friendships.
  6. They crave meaningful conversations and are not interested in small talk.
  7. Others perceive them as extroverts while they are constantly conversing in their head like introverts.

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Source : boredpanda

No, we are not schizophrenic !!!We are just people constantly chasing the company of solitude in the midst of crowd. If you identify yourself with these characteristics, feel free to subscribe on my blog and follow on Instagram @missvogueviolet to view more such posts.

 

SAY “YES” TO “NO”

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Picture Source: businessinsider

All my life, I have been constantly working on this area of “Saying NO tactfully” yet I have not mastered the same. As simple as it may sound, saying “NO” is probably one of the hardest things to say to people we deal with in our daily lives. When I started out in my HR career, I realized I am getting into a habit of saying “Yes”, often in haste which gives me absolutely no time to evaluate, align or calibrate the options I get. Slowly, I tried to work on it and a lot of introspection is what it took to arrive at the 7 reasons where I found a solution in “NO” as an answer.

  1. The clichéd reason: Be yourself – Yes, everyone on the internet and in your real world has already told this to you. It is the single most important reason why you should learn to say “NO” because nothing deserves more attention than your priorities and personal interests. Do not lose yourself in the battle to win hearts.
  2. Balance: The universe demands a balance, so does your mind and body. It is impossible to strike a balance if you have your hands full at all points of time. So, you must know what to accept and what to clearly reject in order to lead a less stressful life.
  3. Being assertive : It is a myth that saying “YES” to everything makes you a popular person, a team player or a go getter. Often, employees take all instructions from the manager in order to project themselves as superheroes who can “do it all”. Well, as Indira Nooyi said “you can’t have it all” and you should not strive to have it all as well. God forbid, you might even be perceived as a submissive person and this may lead to other free riders exploiting you for their own benefit.
  4. Command respect: Respect is a virtue which cannot be demanded. A strong personality is one who has the cognizance of his strengths and areas of development. He/she knows which task will help him leverage his strength and which one will help him overcome his weakness. The world respects such people and they are definitely not the ones who pick everything that comes their way.
  5. Set your boundaries: When you have your priorities right, you have fewer unwanted intrusions and even fewer distractions. Setting boundaries by saying “No” makes your intentions firmer and is one of the most important skills required for personal and professional growth. When you are saying “No” to things that do not interest you, you are creating a space for things to say “Yes” to.
  6. Deal with confrontation: Most people prefer not to say “No” to avoid an unnecessary conflict. They feel the relationship might stagger with a negative answer. Believe me, dealing with confrontation shapes you more as a person because a conflict helps you improve your resolution seeking skills. So, muster the courage and explore seeking solutions by confronting the people and issues you have been hiding from.
  7. The truth : Saying “no” shows that you won’t succumb to pressure and you abide by the truth. While it might make you feel vulnerable, once you make it a habit it actually helps you evolve into a more liberated and stronger personality.

Being an effective interviewer

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While most of us have always been dreading interviews and the anxiety associated with the possibility of rejection, believe it or not there are many occasions when it gets equally uncomfortable for the person on the other side of the table. Yes, we often assume that the interviewer is an extremely knowledgeable person who is just going to grill us through the interaction despite our best efforts to appear confident. Trust me, an interview is just like any other conversation and even the most extrovert person is not necessarily a good conversationalist.Being an HR professional myself, I know it comes with a lot of practice and the skills developed actually help in various other aspects of life as well. Here are 7 points to be considered by inexperienced hiring managers for conducting successful interviews –

  1. Know your audience: It is always wiser to go through the profiles of the candidates beforehand to understand their background. This create a sense of familiarity at your end and helps fill the awkward silence in the conversations.
  2. Create a conducive environment: One can create a comfortable environment only by matching the level of the interviewee in terms of the tone, energy, style and to a certain extent, the mood e.g a fresher from college is likely to be more innovative, energised and more aware of the latest updates while an experienced person might have more knowledge about his work but not about the latest trends . Bringing the subject to ease always leads to a successful interview. 
  1. Start with open ended questions: Start with the background of the person and let him/her explore the areas that he/she wants to elaborate on. This creates a sense of confidence in the subject which leads to a more fruitful conversation. It is rude to ask direct questions on marital status, religious preferences etc , hence it should be limited to the topics which have relevance to the job profile. 
  1. Be a good listener : Being a good listener helps you decide when and how to probe further. It also helps to decide when to move to the next topic without wasting any more time. 
  1. The technique of behavioral event interview : I have used this technique for years and find it very effective. It is about how you must focus on the “How” and not just the “What”. When you talk about particular events and how the task was handled, you don’t merely look at the output and evaluate the person. It gives you an overall idea about the behavioral competencies of the individual. 
  1. Appear curious : Engaging rightly in the conversation is very important. Appearing genuinely eager to understand the perspective of the interviewee establishes a sense of belonging.
  2. Take notes,always: Please do not rely on your memory, written notes are a must. They come really handy when you are evaluating multiple candidates. You can easily do a comparison and it is a more objective approach to the evaluation. Also, when the interviewer takes notes, the interviewee feels satisfied that his points are noted.

Hope these tips help you. Enjoy being on the other side of the table!

DO NOT CRACK THAT INTERVIEW!

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The other day I was reading an article on how your body is actively involved in feeling rejection as much as the mind does – to the extent that you can numb the feeling of rejection with pain medication the very same way as you can suppress a physical pain. I cannot comment much about the science behind it but I found it very interesting because I strongly believe that experiencing rejection is important in life. Hence, I want to share  7 reasons why rejection is a must –

  1. Source of mental power and courage : I know it is the most obvious reason which you would have already guessed but trust me, it is the primary reason why you must accept rejection with pride. Dealing with rejection creates an illusion in your mind that you have seen the worst(which makes the rest of the problems in your life seem very trivial) and overcoming the same gives you an incredible sense of victory and strength.
  2. Psychological Resilience : It increases your ability to successfully adapt to life in the face of social disadvantage or other highly adverse conditions. Embracing such difficult situations will only embolden your mental and social spirit. As they say – “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”.
  3. Have more realistic expectations: Sometimes, we dream and chase infeasible goals. While a rejection acts as a blow, it also helps us manage expectations and aspirations better and have a more realistic approach towards life.
  4. The taste of success is sweeter : Trust me, if you haven’t had failures in life, you cannot appreciate success as much as it deserves. This keeps a check on the complacency in future and also is a reminder for you to work harder towards success every single day.
  5. Cognizance of your weakness : On most occasions, a rejection highlights a weakness that you possess. Always remember, weakness is just the other name of “area of improvement” and awareness of the same is clearly a “strength”. So, work on your area of improvement and convert it to your key strength area!
  6. Feedback : A rejection is a wonderful opportunity to get feedback and understand yourself better. Sometimes, we can’t see things from the perspective of a different person and this is an ideal platform to seek and receive feedback about yourself. It only helps you understand yourself better.
  7. God has other plans for you : No matter how philosophical it may sound, I strongly believe that every rejection leads to a door which opens to better avenues. A better job, a better partner, a better college, something/someone definitely better suited for you awaits you, go for it!

 So , next time you get rejected, do not brood over it! Thank your stars and move on!

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