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Archive for May, 2012

Source: Mohit Chandra, India.blogs.nytimes.com | Updated: May 24, 2012 15:56 IST, NDTV.com

Link: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/an-open-letter-to-indias-graduating-classes-215436?pfrom=home-topstories

 

Dear Graduates and Post-Graduates,

This is your new employer. We are an Indian company, a bank, a consulting firm, a multinational corporation, a public sector utility and everything in between. We are the givers of your paycheck, of the brand name you covet, of the references you will rely on for years to come and of the training that will shape your professional path.

Millions of you have recently graduated or will graduate over the next few weeks. Many of you are probably feeling quite proud – you’ve landed your first job, discussions around salaries and job titles are over, and you’re ready to contribute.

Life is good – except that it’s not. Not for us, your employers, at least. Most of your contributions will be substandard and lack ambition, frustrating and of limited productivity. We are gearing ourselves up for broken promises and unmet expectations. Sorry to be the messenger of bad news.

Today, we regret to inform you that you are spoiled. You are spoiled by the “India growth story”; by an illusion that the Indian education system is capable of producing the talent that we, your companies, most crave; by the imbalance of demand and supply for real talent; by the deceleration of economic growth in the mature West; and by the law of large numbers in India, which creates pockets of highly skilled people who are justly feted but ultimately make up less than 10 percent of all of you.

So why this letter, and why should you read on? Well, because based on collective experience of hiring and developing young people like you over the years, some truths have become apparent. This is a guide for you and the 15- to 20-year-olds following in your footsteps – the next productive generation of our country. Read on to understand what your employers really want and how your ability to match these wants can enrich you professionally.

There are five key attributes employers typically seek and, in fact, will value more and more in the future. Unfortunately, these are often lacking in you and your colleagues.

1.You speak and write English fluently: We know this is rarely the case. Even graduates from better-known institutions can be hard to understand.

Exhibit No. 1: Below is an actual excerpt from a resume we received from a “highly qualified and educated” person. This is the applicant’s “objective statement:”

“To be a part of an organization wherein I could cherish my erudite dexterity to learn the nitigrities of consulting”

Huh? Anyone know what that means? We certainly don’t.

And in spoken English, the outcomes are no better. Whether it is a strong mother tongue influence, or a belief (mistakenly) that the faster one speaks the more mastery one has, there is much room for improvement. Well over half of the pre-screened résumés lack the English ability to effectively communicate in business.

So the onus, dear reader, is on you – to develop comprehensive English skills, both written and oral.

2. You are good at problem solving, thinking outside the box, seeking new ways of doing things: Hard to find. Too often, there is a tendency to simply wait for detailed instructions and then execute the tasks – not come up with creative suggestions or alternatives.

Exhibit No. 2: I was speaking with a colleague of mine who is a chartered accountant from Britain and a senior professional. I asked him why the pass percentage in the Indian chartered accountant exam was so low and why it was perceived as such a difficult exam.

Interestingly (and he hires dozens of Indian chartered accountants each year), his take is as follows: the Indian exam is no harder than the British exam. Both focus on the application of concepts, but since the Indian education system is so rote-memorization oriented, Indian students have a much more difficult time passing it than their British counterparts.

Problem-solving abilities, which are rarely taught in our schooling system, are understandably weak among India’s graduates, even though India is the home of the famous “jugadu,” the inveterate problem solver who uses what’s on hand to find a solution. Let’s translate this intrinsic ability to the workforce.

3. You ask questions, engage deeply and question hierarchy: How we wish!

Exhibit No. 3: Consistently, managers say that newly graduated hires are too passive, that they are order-takers and that they are too hesitant to ask questions. “Why can’t they pick up the phone and call when they do not understand something?” is a commonly asked question.
You are also unduly impressed by titles and perceived hierarchy. While there is a strong cultural bias of deference and subservience to titles in India, it is as much your responsibility as it is ours to challenge this view.

4. You take responsibility for your career and for your learning and invest in new skills: Many of you feel that once you have got the requisite degree, you can go into cruise control. The desire to learn new tools and techniques and new sector knowledge disappears. And we are talking about you 25- to 30-year-olds – typically the age when inquisitiveness and hunger for knowledge in the workplace is at its peak.

Exhibit No. 4: Recently, our new hires were clamoring for training. Much effort went into creating a learning path, outlining specific courses (online, self-study) for each team. With much fanfare, an e-mail was sent to the entire team outlining the courses.

How many took the trainings? Less than 15 percent. How many actually read the e-mail? Less than 20 percent.

The desire to be spoon-fed, to be directed down a straight and narrow path with each career step neatly laid out, is leading you toward extinction, just like the dinosaurs. Your career starts and ends with you. Our role, as your employer, is to ensure you have the tools, resources and opportunities you need to be successful. The rest is up to you.

5. You are professional and ethical: Everyone loves to be considered a professional. But when you exhibit behavior like job hopping every year, demanding double-digit pay increases for no increase in ability, accepting job offers and not appearing on the first day, taking one company’s offer letter to shop around to another company for more money – well, don’t expect to be treated like a professional.

Similarly, stretching yourself to work longer hours when needed, feeling vested in the success of your employer, being ethical about expense claims and leaves and vacation time are all part of being a consummate professional. Such behavior is not ingrained in new graduates, we have found, and has to be developed.

So what can we conclude, young graduates?

My message is a call to action: Be aware of these five attributes, don’t expect the gravy train to run forever, and don’t assume your education will take care of you. Rather, invest in yourself – in language skills, in thirst for knowledge, in true professionalism and, finally, in thinking creatively and non-hierarchically. This will hold you in good stead in our knowledge economy and help lay a strong foundation for the next productive generation that follows you.

Together, I hope we, your employer, and you, the employee, can forge an enduring partnership.

“Some parting thoughts:  

1. I would agree with the entire article. Especially when language is concerned. People are terrible.

2. New entrants behave as if they know everything. People, you are new learning is an integral part of life. Get hold of it.

3. Our system produces unfinished products. Either brilliant Nerds who can’t manage people or either dumb managers who can’t manage their work. In short a mismatch.

4. The education system needs to move from the rote to more applications orientation. We are producing Parrots. Not managers 🙂 “

 
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Reflection on what has happened in my past. Yes, it has been more than a month and I have been working towards rectifying what I had done wrong. Undoing the wrong as I term it. 

I had left things undone, let water flow under the bridge. Now I have pulled up my socks and am working towards what I had set out to do.

With the permission to go ahead, I can finally take my decision. Walk on the path that was carved for me. I know there are going to be difficulties, but what is an achievement without a difficulty.

As rightly put “Tough times don’t  last; tough people do” or “A faint heart never won a fair lady”

Mom says “Do what you have to and I know you will be able succeed at it” she is always a darling 🙂

It is like going back in time, where I had left and begin working on what was to be done. 

It is never too late to begin

No distractions to come in between

Emotions are not a part of it, I can’t afford to be emotional at this juncture

No place for anyone right now

I am finally doing what my heart loves

I am loving this state and it is always good to keep your head on your shoulders

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Looking at  my niece, one wonders “Children are truly innocent”. She doesn’t expect anything, needs to be looked after and returns the love showered on her. 

I have been at home on study leave and she is like the little angel who keeps wandering around the house. She expects you to eat with her, sit with her, play with her and sing songs with her. The activities range across a number of things and she will follow you wherever you go. While I am studying she will grab hold of her crayons and color her drawing book. She will perform the activity till I am studying then she will come and grab the pencil out of my hand that I use to write notes. 

So I keep an extra pencil handy, so that if she takes one, I can use the other one.

She is also like a little parrot who repeats everything one says. Especially when you say “I love you” there is a twinkle in her eyes, a beaming smile on her lips and she repeats the words “I lollu” Oh she can’t pronounce the word “V” yet. She has a glint of naughtiness coupled with extreme innocence. That expression is priceless 🙂

Simply adorable is a word that would be an understatement. She is like a little doll who has a mind of her own, doesn’t realize that things are dangerous for her. For example, when I pray in the morning or perform the Aarti she wants to hold the Aarti in her hand. Without realizing that she would burn her hand. But post Aarti we wave our hand over the Aarti. She wants to do that on her own, but might burn her hand. So without instilling fear of being burned, I hold her hand and wave it over the Aarti.

This is not all, when you are eating she wants to eat out of your plate plus also feed you. She hasn’t got a hold over her hand movements yet. i.e. holding the spoon with a tilt. But she is so adorable, she picked up a morsel from my plate and then began repeating in her babyish voice “Bua kha” so cute.

In short her innocent activities win your heart and when you play with her you feel like a child again. She is truly an innocent gift 😀

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Sometimes one wonders what challenges life has to present. When someone looks at my life. They generally say, you have everything, what do you need to work for or do anything? You already have everything that one desires. 

To which my reply is, I have dreams that need to be realized and that is what matters to me. On one hand I can sit and enjoy my life and do nothing and on the other hand, you can make a difference.

We always have choices and each choice has its consequence. So if i make a choice, i am bound to bear its consequence. No complaints on that. I am responsible for each decision and choice i undertake.

Speaking of choices, I have decided a few things (can’t disclose) and I know these choices bear heavy consequences, they bring in challenges along with them. But I am ready to take them head on, I know there are a few sacrifices involved, but the decisions are worth every bit.

Either way I always love challenges, it is a trait in me. Usually unconventional in my demeanor, I make firm choices and stick by them. Sometimes it is difficult, but over a period of time you realize the payoff is immense.

As it is rightly said “Tough times don’t last, Tough people do” 

Similarly, Challenges make you stronger, wiser and teach you forbearance. I believe, every challenge gives you a chance to show that you are strong enough to face it bravely and come out unscathed. 🙂

*Sorry I can’t share the details of the challenges faced, hence the write up may sound philosophical,.

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The generation New has overrated the word “Love”. Much hyped and sold in the market. 

If you look at the ad makers, media guys, they mint money on two feelings/emotions: “Fear” or “Love”

So love is no more a feeling, it has become a commodity. How weird could they get? Monetizing on a feeling so pure. But what should one do, the newspapers, the media have made love saleable. 

They portray, love can be bought.

For example, buy a gift and the girl will be yours.

Buy a ring for your wife after forgetting an anniversary and she will forgive you

The classic ad to show this is “Buy your daughter, wife or girlfriend a diamond set and you express your love”

Buy a car and express how much you care. As if buying a Honda City TVC will make you realize how much you love your wife. Or how one can end up showing care and love despite a busy schedule. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdXEHgEIMlo)

Buy a piece of jewellery for your wife and express your love. Amitabh Bachhan buys a diamond bracelet, but without knowing what his wife would like. This is indeed touching and classic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcns9yc5YYs&feature=fvst

If you wear a Raymond suit, you can be a better father. So if you don’t wear a Raymond suit you can’t take care of a kid, is it?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNZcaNv7iZY

These are just a few examples of how companies play on the sentiments of customers to evoke a response that leads to buying their goods/brands. People start identifying with the brand. 

These ads are typically targeted at men, women and children, cause a person is weak when it comes to his wife or daughter or son or parents or husband.

And silly people like us fall for such things. 

Love is unconditional, cannot be measured in terms of money. So my question remains. 

Should we become fools at the hands of these companies and succumb to their positioning?

And spend thousands and lacs 🙂

Worth thinking about.. 

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A common trait that my guy friends share is that they respect women. Quite unlike the North Indian guy (a few exceptions are always there). If you travel up North, the level of respect they hold for a woman reduces. It is like the travel up North is inversely proportional to the respect for women. (in a negative way)

If you travel out of Maharashtra towards Delhi, Punjab, Haryana; you will find that these places are Male dominated areas. Men treat women in a subservient manner. They are given a secondary status. This is quite visible from their behaviour. For example, in Delhi if you are listening to a conversation among men. They treat women like objects, objects of sex, there is utter disrespect in their eyes plus the way they speak and behave. The rate of rapes is highest there.

This also reflects on their upbringing, if the men in their  family don’t respect the wife, mother, sister. The sons are ought to not respect the women at home. They show disrespect to the women in their daily lives, no matter it may be their friends, girlfriends, or even their future wife.

But why disrespect a woman, just because

You can show you are powerful

You can rape her

You can beat her

You can abuse her 

You can call her a bitch

You can misbehave with her and she won’t retort

Oh yes these are one of the reasons that men behave the way they do. Especially the North Indian guys, cause they are told from birth. “Arey tu toh beta hai, jo marzi kar, woh toh ladki hai, weak hai, etc”

This is a typical mindset across families and guys.

A friend of mine is from Mumbai, he recently shifted to Delhi. He told me, “Arey don’t ask, I sometimes hate the guys here, all they speak about women is as if they are objects of sex”. Someone wash their mouth with soap and water. They don’t respect women at all. He said “Arey this guy at office slept with a girl from the office, he said “She is such a bitch, you should try her”. My friend was zapped and his eyes almost popped out. “If a girl sleeps with a guy, she becomes a slut or a bitch, but if a guy sleeps with more than one girl he is a stud. How creative can it get! You abuse her.

He has sisters and said, my sister was living with my Jiju for almost a year before they got married, No one would ever say such a thing leave alone my Jiju. He respects a woman in all aspects. Phew. The North Indian guys are such chauvinists. 

So think twice before you disrespect a woman. Cause today you may abuse a friend or an unknown woman. But tomorrow someone else could do the same to your sister, cousin sister, wife, mother, etc.

My question remains “Do you disrespect a woman?” or will you contribute to making a difference

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Cramming in

When you have 5 exam sets to prepare for and 13 days to go you can’t think straight. Mom says don’t burn yourself. But do I have a choice, If I don’t do this it won’t work right. And mere office waalein mujhe time and again 2 months off nahi denge. I just hope am able to complete everything in time with all the revisions in place.

I have been studying like 12-13 hrs on a daily basis. I know my eyes ache at times, i feel very irritated but touch wood the brain works.. That is what I need. Nothing more..

Phew! my hall ticket has also not been published yet. I have the exam dates but no hall ticket…another worry. Sometimes I wonder why can’t these guys be prompt.

My Mcom part 2 papers begin on 17th and end on the 25th

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