An appeal to save children: UNICEF

Over 6000 children die every day in India due to preventable diseases, mostly neo natal or due to agravations of we humans. (Source, UNICEF) 

*While we are safely sitting in our offices/homes, there are small children fighting to breathe one more time in close places distant from our corrupt minds. Reason? mostly ignorance or inability to access basic medical care. The ones who survive the nature are probably done in by their own people. There is no dearth of violation of children’s protection rights in the country who worships ‘gopal krishna’, such shame on we devotees. Starting from child labor, child traffiking to commercial sexual exploitation, we as a society do it all with them. Look around you and you will find enough instances of violence and various abuses. What are we doing for them? Nothing… a big NOTHING!

(*Source Unicef) With an estimated 15 million children engaged in hazardous occupations, for instance, India has the largest number of child labourers under the age of 14 in the world. Although poverty is often cited as the cause underlying child labour, other factors such as discrimination, social exclusion, as well as the lack of quality education or existing parents’ attitudes and perceptions about child labour and the role and value of education need also to be considered. In states like Bihar, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, 60 per cent or more girls dropped out before completing their five years primary education. SHAME!

Trafficking is another major issue that INdia needs to sort out. Not only forced commercial sex, even coercing some one into early marriage is an offense and an intorelable violence. Unicef reports that 40% of women sex workers enter this profession before the age of 18. Most of the attempts of the NGOs and the likes of UNICEF fall flat as rehabilitating such individuals is indeed a strenous process.

We, including me, keep talking about growing Indian economy and how incompetent we Indians are to come up with some thing unique. I have also been into debates questioning why can’t we be a US or a Japan. The reason lies in the fact that we are hugely ignorant. We all lack at the grass root level where as our counterparts are way ahead. But we all can help. Last December I donated a small amount to an NGO here in Mumbai to support the education of one child. I will continue to do so. If you want to hel too, click on this link. Make a donation or a pledge today. Who knows one rupee per day from you might turn out to be a helping hand in the making of yet another Abdul Kalam.      

Link: http://www.unicef.org/india/support.html

Dabbling Entrepreneur

Exactly about an year back, I made a strong attempt to become an entrepreneur. I had a kick ass idea, I some how succeeded in implementing, ran it successfully but gave up in the midway due to differences with the partners. Exactly after an year, I found out that my process and the idea were still alive… very much!  🙂

Flashback:

It was mid/late june when a kick ass new business idea came to my mind. I had a plan that could help small to medium sized software product and services companies to elevate their sales to soaring heights. Whenever I could get some time, I worked on it. It took me almost more than a month to come up with a fool proof business plan. In the process I spoke to various people including peers, friends, superiors, relatives and VCs. I also roped a friend who could help me out and partner me. However another month went in looking for a financial aid. I couldn’t afford to take money from my parents. It started my quest to find a suitable partner who could help me start the business. During that process, the friend who promised to help also backed out due to personal reasons. Time was running short, I had to act fast. Finally on 29th September 2007, I contacted my previous employer (a small company with good strength in marketing) and decided to lease their facilities, resources and their name. In return I had to part with major chunk of the earnings. Official agreements took some more time. Another month went in convincing my first customer. With lot of deliberations, I finally managed to sign an agreement with the customer in January that will see me through till end of June. We ran successfully for first 4 months. The complexity of the agreement however did me in and I had to opt out of it in mid June. It left with irreconceilable differences with my partner/previous employer. But the idea is still hot (coule see it today) and I’m determined to fight back. I will surely succeed this time :mrgreen:

PS: Paragraph is deliberately avoided.

Four Zero Zero Zero

While I went home yesterday night, my blog broke another record. It received its 4000th hit. Its cool considering I completed 2000 posts less than a month ago. Check this post dated 28th August. In about 26 days, it doubled the visitors, averaging about 77 visitors per day. Whoa!

Thanks guys. And please let me assume I’m being liked 🙂

Selecting the right job

PS: This is going to be a long post.

I recently posted a question on the linkedin network not knowing that I would get such an over whelming response. I have come across many people who have a yes-no situation when it comes to accepting the right role. I thought probably the visitors of my blog might as well benefit from the suggestion I got. So here is my question:

How do you decide a job or a role is right or wrong for you?
Explanation: I’m a sales strategy and presales guy with some expertise in outsourcing services and IT. Frankly speaking I have rejected more job offers than companies who have rejected me and decided not to offer. But there have been too many such instances in the recent past. The main reason is my inability to decide and go for a job/role. While I know what I want to become in the long run, I’m not able to decide what should I be looking at in terms of a company or a role. I seek help to over come this dilemma from my connects.

Here are some of the responses:

Vijay Reddy, Executive HR at Infosys:- Clarify what you are.Then every thing follows.First set an expectation for you which makes you to choose your role.

Soundara Rajan Srinivasan, Director at a Fortune 50 MNC:- Here are some criteria you could use to decide whether a particular job role is suited to you or not:
1. Do you really a passion for the kind of work that you will be expected to perform in the role you are offered
2. Do you think the job or role is worth your time and values that you personally care for
3. Does the job meet your long term goals or will it help you meet your long term goals
Pretty simple is it not?

Subhashish Paul, Sr. Executive at MGL:- Hi Mayur,
1) To decide whether a job or a role is right or wrong you have to do the fundamental analysis for yourself – SWOT! I am sure by now you know what are your strengths and weaknesses so the nest step is to see where is it that you want to go with your career (i mean what is that you want to do). There is a difference between what you are currently doing and what you “wish” to be doing. Something like asking yourself what is your passion?! For example, my passion is marketing and pre sales. So the next time you are being offered a job role think about if the job role is in line with what you want to do for the next 3-5 years (You can’t just keep changing jobs. Its better you pick a job that you like so that you stick to it for sometime).

2) A job offers – role, pay, location and brand name. Now you have to set your priorities and work towards these four parameters! Seldom will you get all the four parameters in a offer. So set your priorities first and this will in turn help you to choose the job that you are looking for!

Hope the inputs helped.

Phil Lidster, a consultant in knowledge management:- Hello Mayur
I might be reading more into your question than I should. But are you seeing any new job role as simply a means to an end? – “…I know what I want to become in the long run, I’m not able to decide what should I be looking at in terms of a company or a role.”.

Clearly there is a lot to be said for having long term goals, but sometimes these can be restrictive. You might be capable of achieving a lot more than you imagine. If you take a job that will give you work that you enjoy, in a company that allows you to develop your talents, who knows where it might lead? Why not go for work that you truly enjoy and find fufilling?

Best of luck

Abi Stevens, Client Management Executive at People Smart Consultants:- Personally speaking a majority of professionals choose an assignment based on face value and not taking into account the relevant contributions that could be enacted out during the tenure of employment. But given the volatility of markets today, every call made on a potential employment swap could see one make or break one’s career path.

Frankly speaking, total dedication to one’s current role in order to build up a net worth would add value to take one’s candidature beyond white paper.

But then again if already into a seemingly bad call, it would only pay to wait and be opportunistic on a sound cut. My comment would be, to be absolutely sure of what you have done thus far and build up on your key abilities to harness your acquired expertise.

Natalie Reeve from Polkadotfrog Ltd:- You’re obviously in a very lucky position (i.e. not so desperate for cash that you’ll settle for any old job), so make the most of it as long as you can afford it! When the right job comes along you’ll know; it’ll offer you all the progression you need to become what you want to be, and your future boss will share the same ideas for your career path (even if it’s doing his/her job in 5-10 years time!).

It’s possible – hang in there, make sure you keep your eyes open and don’t miss it when that perfect opportunity becomes available!

Monica Begum, Journalist:- If you detect even the slightest degree of resistance, let that be a clear sign this ain’t the right path for you.

John S. Rajeski, International Business Development Executive:- Good day Mayur,
Check out ‘Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters’ and/or ‘What Color is Your Parachute’ – two excellent career development resources.
Regards,
John S. Rajeski

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Guerrilla-Marketing-Job-Hunters-Unconventional/dp/047…
http://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Your-Parachute-2009/dp/1580089305/ref=sr_1…
http://rajeski.com/

Josie Summa, Principal Consultant at Redmond Consulting:- It’s quite ironic that you are in sales, yet you have trouble “buying.” Your problem is not knowing what it is you want to buy.

Decide where you want to be in 5 or 10 years and then decide what skills you will need in your toolbox to fulfill that role. Once you do this, develop several quantifiable criteria for judging any new job opportunty. If the opportunity meets the criteria and “scores” well, then by accepting the job, you are one step closer to your long term goal (only you can decide the “go/no-go” score).

Good luck!

——–

I hope these inputs will be useful who have a dilemma in selecting the right job or a role.

Eunuch Hijra Chakka …… Human

For all the Indians traveling in sleeper class on Indian railway, waiting on the traffic signal or owning a shop in a crowded market place… a eunuch begging or rather troubling you for money is a common site. And for most of the guys who have come across such situations, eunuchs are considered as a big menace. I have however always maintained a soft corner for these Hijras despite being troubled many a times. After all they are humans too, and they have every right to live a normal healthy life.

Me and my wife went to watch the movie “welcome to Sajjanpur” yesterday and the character of Munnibai really left a lasting impression on me. First her one liners on men and later her deplorable bespeak for a police protection to ward off the threat by a rowdy opposition leader in a panchayat really brings tears. It reminded me of a heart rendering interview of a eunuch, Salma living in Vikhroli, a suburb of Mumbai India few years back. There was a big community living in abandoned buildings and extremely guarded environment. They never spoke in public or gave an interview any where. In fact, it was the first time I read an interview of a eunuch.

She said there were normally 3 types of eunuchs, who worked rather served in various capacities in their community. The good looking ones were forcibly put in prostitution. The average ones would work in various dance bars either as waitresses or simply to entertain men. The ugly ones were treated like servants and forced to beg on the streets or on the railway stations. Such communities are spread across India and normally there is one head Hijra who controls them. They do not have any formal education, medical facilities nor they get to enjoy normal life. They are confined to their ‘adda’ or ‘moholla’ and tread a life we would even fear to imagine. “Then why don’t you break the shackles and lead a good life?” asked the journalist to Salma. She was quick to retort that they are better off inside their own world. They are tormented, hated and shoved off at times with vengeance. Hear they are protected from the world and well taken care off. At least they manage to earn their daily bread through fair means. “Forget other things, how many of you would even like to share a table with a hijra in a restaurant?” she asked. The answer would probably be none. It is indeed a bitter fact fort all of us who keep voting for uplifting the smallest bug in the world and yet ignore the eunuchs who are so much humans. Sad but its true.

I remember my early days in Mumbai when I was traveling in a  bus. There was a seat vacant and still I found few men were standing in the bay. I went and occupied the seat. To my amusement, my co passenger was a Hijra. Almost all men started staring at me. She looked at me with a surprised look, I gave a smile. She gave a grateful smile and probably struggled to hold her tears.

Humiliation against any race is humiliation against yourself. I wish we will understand this one day.

Why couldn’t we build chrome?

If you are reading this post or even if you just stumbled upon this, please try to answer the above question.

Its not limited to just Google chrome. Its got to do with entire software product industry. Whether it is Microsoft, Oracle, Google or any one else. While 53% of our GDP growth is being credited to the IT/ITES industry, Its sad that very few of the many million Indian engineers have not come up with any thing innovative.

Your comment is highly valued to trigger some introspection.

Me and job offers

Yesterday, a distant friend called me up and asked if I could refer him for a sales job in some company. He was even willing to do door to door sales. Sadly, he was a victim of lay offs from an MNC, thanks to latest crash of American economy (I know the economy hasn’t crashed. But I’m optimistic) :mrgreen:

Interestingly, he was the same guy who mocked at my luck saying how incompetent I was to crack job interviews at multi million dollar corporations with 10,000 goats tied at different desks. Well, and he came to me yesterday because the same company no longer needed him. So much for a secure job 🙂

Its not about him, there are enough other people who ask me why did I change 4 jobs or why haven’t I worked with big brand names. I have a simple answer, we couldn’t get along. I have a goal for me. And I try to align that goal with the organization who considers me or employs me. If I feel the mismatch, I don’t go there or I leave them. I can not work with people who are just working or sitting in their offices for the heck of doing it. Such are the people who dwarf the growth of the company. And I have no time to waste on morons. Life is too short, I need to learn a lot and climb to where my destiny lies.

Quoting a recent experience with a CFO of a mid sized (by their definition) company. Right from the moment he said hello to me, he was down right rude from the word go. He had a problem with me switching jobs. He had a lady who called herself the HR head of company. And then poor fellow me was grilled and stressed, almost coerced to accept that by working in a company for only a year, I behaved in an unethical manner. Because I just gained whatever knowledge I wanted to and moved on. I some how knew all my explanations would fall flat on the table. So I said this, “Mr. <snip>, forget my ethics… you run an off shore software development shop. Are you not stealing jobs of innocent Americans? Is it ethical?” Bingo! The old man was taken aback. It was his turn to explain. He said most of the Americans drop out of college because its a culture there. Hence they don’t get literate resources blah blah! … And hence we are not doing any thing unethical. I said fine. Now as the interview progressed, we argued on some more things. Then came the time to throw my hot blow. I asked him why couldn’t we Indians build a Firefox or a Chrome. At his explaining best, he told me how we Indians are brought up in a culture which is service oriented. He went on and said that some American geeks conceive the products, write core architecture and send the non core activities to us. Why can’t we do it? because we are not brought up in an environment to think out of the box… they are.

Now for the knockout punch: I said Mr <snip> you just now said that there is a shortage of brainy resources in America. Now you are saying they develop the product and we provide services because we can’t conceive products. Are you not contradicting yourself? He was pissed off… and there went my offer letter. 🙂

PS: For the record, I have rejected more jobs than people who rejected me in interviews. I wish some day I find a perfect match.