Monday, 28 November 2016

Driving style based personality types :)

We have all heard about the "n" number of personality types that exist. Especially, Human Resource professionals like me, will be able to relate to what exactly I mean by "n". I have been observing people driving on roads & interestingly, I can categorize most of them into a set of personalities based on their driving skills & behavior.  I have to mention that this observation has been possible only because of our kinda "Traffic Sense". So here's what I usually observe, enjoy reading -

1. Aggressive, Ambitious & Extrovert : This is the kind of people you see, who just race past you without being concerned about overtaking rules or the unexpected overtaking itself ! This does not necessarily mean that they are in a hurry. Their aim is to simply be fast. A sub-category in this type is the guys who zoom past on fast noisy bikes, they probably think it is a waste of the "Fast Bike" if they do no do so. This also is possibly a means for them to gain attention, although momentary. This category can also consist of those who think they do  not have impressive substance other than their vehicle. They are extreme risk takers.

2. Unambitious, Carefree & Lazy : This category is an easily recognizable one. These are the kind of people who are in absolutely no hurry to be anywhere. They drive very very slowly & choose to go by their own pace whatever & I mean really whatever happens to the rest of the world. Their mantra is, "if you are in a hurry you go, don't ask me to make way". These are a content lot. They are mostly unambitious & have very little drive for achievement. They do not like to rush, may not really like to adhere to deadlines, rules or targets.

The above category has two sub-categories :

a. Adamant Low Risk Takers : This category consists of people who are unambitious because they are extremely apprehensive & do not enjoy taking risks. They would rather drive slowly & carefully to avoid any harm to themselves & others than speeding or overtaking. They like routine & change scares them. They do not trust others, as in other driver. Hence, they think they need to be extra cautious to compensate for the lack of responsibility in others. These are the people you see braking often & slowing even if another vehicle is meters away.

b. Low risk Takers who can be provoked otherwise : This category is a special flexible one. These category drivers are otherwise unambitious, carefree & lazy, unless provoked by competition ! Have you experienced this - you drive past someone driving slowly & at the extreme side of the road, but the moment you do that, you see that someone speeding immediately & overtaking you in turn ? And in most cases, going back to the normal slow speed after having overtaken you ?? If you are nodding, this is a classic case of experience with a provoked low risk taker :) They are driven by external motivation, especially competition.

3. "Situationally Adapting Drivers" - the most common Category : I call this the most common category since this is the most commonly observed sect & would encompass most drivers. These are people who are reasonably speeding drivers, who drive slowly if they are pre-occupied & fast if they are in a hurry. These are also people who adapt themselves to the situation. If they notice that there is less traffic on the road, they would speed, but would immediately slow down in case another vehicle approaches & then mostly go with the flow. These are normal risk takers, overtake if there is an opportunity to, otherwise they do not mind waiting for the traffic to clear. They behave otherwise only if they are in a hurry but are careful at the same time.

Feel free to add your own categories !

Turning 30

Turning 30....
(originally written on 9 June 2013)

My Best friend turned 30 today. We have been talking about this phenomenon of turning 30 and as has been the case usually, we both have two extreme views about it. I am not so happy about it (read terribly saddened) & would give anything to not turn 30 and she on the other hand is super excited about it. Infact, she has been waiting to turn 30. Crazy. I never did & still don't understand how anyone could be excited about turning 30. One, you are getting older & two, you are not in your 20s anymore. I think these are two very big reasons (especially the second one) to freak out (like I am) about turning 30.
Technically, this is my last month of being in my 20s. I turn 30 next month. Okay, writing it makes it worse :( Just one month left & then I get into my 30s ??? It is totally same as growing old.
I know how we, women especially are completely freaked out about turning 30. But I also have another friend (other than this CRAZY best friend of mine) who thinks its liberating to turn 30 & its not such a big deal. Whats in numbers, she reasons. Well, may be. But I still don't want to turn 30. I have so much I wanted to do & achieve before turning 30 & I haven't done most of it yet. I am yet to begin my life, the way I want it to be.
Also, isn't 30 a benchmark, a deadline for most people to get married, settle down, have atleast one child, a home, a routine, be able to talk about family issues & a family life ??? Ok, I don't have most of that either & I am nowhere close. Sigh. Life cannot get worse than this.
I have to admit, I have been completely haunted by this thought for weeks now & can think of all that I am yet to do, all that I haven't achieved. This list makes me feel worse. To top it up, I have been observing skin problems & everything else that could be related to aging too.
Okay, so I was done contemplating on a lot of things, mostly bad about turning 30 & thinking about what all could begin to go wrong after I turn 30.
Now that I had everything ticked, I guess the only way was to think, if I cannot change it or stop it, I might as well accept it. A good friend of mine once told me that accepting that there is a problem, is the first step towards solving it. It was time to look at this as a problem & accept it.
In the last few weeks, I have come to terms with the fact & I am more prepared today. You know what they say about pretending to be something until you actually become what you pretend to be :)Although, this doesn't mean that I think it is nice to turn 30, it is absolutely not. Neither have I stopped wishing I never turn 30. But what I has changed is that, I have accepted it & know it is inevitable, whether I like it or not.
So, if it is such a big deal, I might as well do something big with it. And once I let this little positive thought make its home in my mind, I began to relax, just a little bit. Taking each day as it came.
I also decided to give myself some credit, I made a life, chose to be what I wanted to be. I am not doing so bad after all. All those who love me, love me for what I am & accept me the way I am. I accept myself for what I am. I love my life, even with its imperfection & uncertainty. The uncertainty keeps boredom away. Its fun the way it is. I choose to do things that make me happy. I have a long way to go, but I am on the track. I don't have it all figured out yet, but I am ok with living here & now. And as far as my list of to do before 30 goes, I can always give it an extension ;)
Today, here I am. Still a month & 20 days away from turning 30 & planning on a list of things that I want to do to make it a memorable 30th birthday for myself. I don't have the list complete yet, but I plan to put it in place in the next few days.
May be I am growing up after all :D

The Transition !

The transition – from a full time job to being a Consultant

I transitioned to being an independent consultant from being a full time HR professional 6 months ago. Honestly, I didn’t know if this is what I wanted. All I wanted was to get rid of the daily grind and some other things like trying to be a pleasing HR professional, trying to prove to some why HR is required at all, office politics and above all get time for myself. I wanted to be in charge of my life, pursue hobbies, have time for a run, get to sip my coffee in daylight on my balcony and still be a career oriented person. Well the transition wasn’t so easy, wasn’t easy for me to really accept the change. Theoretically, it sounded perfect, practically, not so great. What if I don’t know what to do with my life while I am getting some foothold? What if I do not get my first assignment right away? And the biggest fear was not being able to see that text on the last day of the month. I knew I had to do something with my life and live the way I wanted to. It did take a lot of courage and support for me to really take the plunge. I decided to give myself time.

When finally I could muster courage, I had to face disapproving comments from quite a lot of people. Many could not even comprehend my need. Not many understood why I needed time for myself. Isn’t it an easier option to outsource domestic chores so that your work is reduced at home? It is such a big risk, there are so many consultants out there, how will you even begin? Many of them were echoing the fears I already had. Some didn’t understand my need to have flexibility in my schedule. I was demanding too much luxury. They thought, flexible work hours,  jobs that didn’t require you to stay away from home for 12 straight hours were meant for new mothers only. I clearly didn’t fit the bill. Some others were trying to be helpful by asking me what exactly it was that I wanted to do. And my response was, good question. Not many realised what a battle I had won (with myself) by deciding to quit my job and become a consultant (or try to). I didn’t have a clear picture of what exactly I wanted to do. All I knew was HR was a profession of choice, I enjoyed designing solutions and interventions, I enjoyed the intellectual part of it. I was yet to figure my way ahead.

Amidst all this chaos, my only solace was my husband. He never once discouraged me, never questioned why I wanted what I wanted. All he said was, this is the time to experiment, so go ahead and don’t leave scope for regrets. His support has always been my biggest strength.

So with some fears (reduced exponentially though) and some support, I set out. I had a fair idea of how I wanted to get started and I hoped I was right. Linkedin was my first choice. I had to let people know I was available and open to take up assignments. I re-connected with some people, connected with some more and the response was encouraging enough to keep me at it. I had to make some changes in the way I worked, I had to wear a Consultant’s hat and function while being an outsider. I zeroed down on my preferences and took up some certifications in the area. Soon enough I started my first project in collaboration with another aspiring consultant. I had my second project just as I ended the first one and so it began.

Six months later, I can’t say I have aced it. But I know now, I was right. I couldn’t have done anything differently. This is taking me someplace good and the journey is everything I ever wanted. Ofcourse it is not easy, but it is what I wanted it to be. I decide my schedule and work, I decide when I want to stop for the day or not. The work I have been doing has taught me a lot, made me more confident of my abilities and also taught me something I would otherwise never have learnt to do – Network. I am one of those people to whom it doesn’t come naturally. But today I do not hesitate in introducing myself to someone. And I am okay with initiating a conversation over email or phone with a stranger. At times I have been surprised by the positive response and word of encouragement that I received from complete strangers. The world out there is not so bad afterall. So this is to all those people who are right now in the stage where I was, ofcourse there’s no guarantee. But don’t leave scope for regrets. It’s always upto you. And Life doesn’t end there.  I read this somewhere and it has stayed with me, “It does not matter where you are, it only matters where you go from there”


Sometimes we just complicate things. Rather, we choose to complicate things & are uncomfortable when something is SIMPLE. We have managed to condition ourselves in such a way that complicated is the way of life. We cannot believe that somethings are simple. Our mind refuses to accept simple things. So much so that we try & find a way to blow them out of proportion to make it acceptable, to us. 

Marriage is one such thing. I do not wish to comment on whether it is a holy union or an institution. All I know & understand is that it is two people who choose to share a life. Simple isn't it ? Yes it is & it should be. But all I hear is the socially acceptable version of a marriage. In this version, people talk all about the consequences, the do's & don'ts, the ideal marriage, various strategies to make it work, the role of family, the division of responsibilities, the loss of freedom & so on. In the midst of all these, the real marriage is lost. In fact  the real meaning of marriage has almost been replaced with all these. No wonder people today are scared of getting married. 

In all contexts that the term marriage is used, it is either exaggerated or complicated. In either case, the perspective is society. All aspects of marriage are strongly based on a validation by society. Isn't it strange that marriage today is actually a social obligation ? When did this really happen ? When did we start living to set a socially acceptable example rather than living a life ? We live in a society where "Married" is a synonym to "settled". And we choose to follow the rules put up by this society & try hard to instill these as values in our children. Anyone who questions these is termed a Rebel. 

Marriage cannot be milestone to be achieved. It need not be blown out of proportion. It can be simple & beautiful. It is a choice you make, whenever you think you are ready & not because you have reached the "right" age. It is not bound by age, life stage or any such thing. All the other things can be sorted out & worked upon by the two people who unite. They should be the ones who decide rules of their game. They decide what makes them happy. Aren't they better administrators of their marriage ?

Marriage is not a proof of someone being a normal Human Being. Nor does it make an individual more acceptable. Not yet married does not mean he/she lacks something or is not settled. It simply means he/she hasn't found the "Right for me" yet. 

It really isn't a big deal. It is time we looked at marriage for what it is rather than what we want it to be. Take it on face value & stop over-reading. 

Its never too late !!

I've wanted to do a lot of things, learn a lot of things. But it is only recently that I could begin doing some of them. Most of them, things that bring joy to me that only I can know of. The more I am going ahead with these, the more I realise how much more there is to life than work, home, family & friends, and that it is never too late to do all those things that you always wanted to do.

We all are bogged down by responsibilities & duties, some forced upon by others & the others forced upon by ourselves. Over years, our priorities change & we begin to focus on the more serious part of living. We relate most things to age & pacify ourselves that we have crossed that age. But the truth is that there is no age for doing anything. Just begin & there you are.

Most people do not understand why you would want to learn something or pursue a hobby. Especially if neither of them are adding any value to your professional image. And so, a little opposition in this regard is quite possible. But is it really necessary that everyone approves of things that you want to do or learn ?

The highest degree of freedom that one could achieve is freeing oneself from worrying about what others might think. Only if one can do that, one can develop a perspective free from prejudices, independent of social acceptance parameters & be completely honest. This is something that we should be adding to the values that we want to live by.

Life is uncertain. Isnt it only right if you lived it the way you wanted to, did things that you wanted to? Most joys in life come from little things. And if we choose not to accept those, only we are responsible for our misery.

Life is about doing things now & here, living it the way you always wanted to & not just planning to live it. Its never too late to start, to back to square one, to change. The only condition being, take responsibility.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Progressive thinking !

I told a few of my guy friends that I was quitting my job, without having another. And the first response I got (from most of them) was, Sure, girls can always do that, just stay home, no one questions them. Not that I was surprised at the response, but I was at how it was the exact same thing most of them said. So that is how everyone looks at it, okay. Like most women in India especially, I have experienced biases, but not just from men, but from women almost as much. We live in a society that decides what the acceptable rules of living for a women are, based on what age she is at. Anyone who does not abide by the rules is a abnormal. Then ofcourse there are defined uncontested explanations as to why a woman does what she does, like quitting a job & staying at home because she has a husband who earns. It never fails to baffle me how less often these are questioned & how easily they are accepted like the only truth. Well however, this is not only they mind works for men, but also for women. A colleague of mine, in her 30s and not married (a total crime), told me the other day how her female colleagues sympathized with her on all possible occasions for not being married (verbally and through gestures) & did not hesitate in asking her if something was wrong or what the problem was in finding a match ! Poor thing I thought, to have to live with that kind of intrusion all the time. Why don't you just tell them it is none of their business, I asked her, annoyed. And she said, you know I spend 9 hours with them each day & cannot have them think I am rude or arrogant. In other words, I need to be acceptable by seeming miserable for not being married.

As a society, we still have a long way to go, if we want to become a progressive one that is. But many a times I cant help thinking even a start is yet to happen. We probably have reached a stage where being not progressive is so popular  so widely accepted, that it is the new progressive. Sure we talk about equality & gender diversity & things, but our fundamentals are yet to change. We have accepted the equality notion in pockets, wherever it is convenient. We agree that Women are equally good Leaders, but we cannot come to terms with the fact that men can choose to be house husbands, we are fine with men being fancy chefs, but not with men cooking for their family (especially when their wives are around). I am yet to come across women who while teaching their daughters to cook, also teach their sons to cook.

There's an endless supply of jokes around stereotyped images of women that always find their way in any conversation  & do not fail to generate bursts of laughter. In most situations I find only myself annoyed with it & end up being asked to take it on a lighter note, which I dont. How convenient ! Will we ever be a progressive society if we do not feel the need ? And by we, I especially mean women, women because as women we have chosen to accept things  be okay with the way they are. We do not need external validation for being who we are or for not falling in line with the set rules. Being myself is a fundamental right  not a luxury. We are not here to spend a lifetime pleasing others. We are here to live a life, the kind that suits us, just like everyone else. 

We assume that by placing women on the board, by analsying gender diversity, by increasing maternity leaves, we are doing our share of heading towards being a progressive nation & community. But truly are we ? And even if it is a step, will we ever achieve this completely when on the other hand women remain the main subject of judgement  ridicule? We need to learn to mean it when we say she is an independent women & that's great. Being progressive is a transformation in thoughts, in conditioning, in behaviour, in our way of living, that we need to bring about. And we cannot pick & choose where we want it. We have to let it come everywhere consciously & otherwise. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The "Me" Time for a woman.

How many of us, with our tight schedules & responsibilities have the "Me" time for ourseleves?? Not many. Most of us do not even realise that we need the "Me" time. Everything else except for our ownselves takes priority in our lives. And its obvious, thats what we are taught. Thinking about ourselves, makes us feel we are selfish. But that, is not true. If we arent happy from within, we arent gonna be able to make anyone else happy. If we do not respect ourselves, no one else will. The one who said, happiness comes from within was right. It really does. It comes from the feeling that you accept yourself for who you are, respect yourself for the person you are & the choices you make & think that you are important enough to be looked after, to be cared for. Not by someone else, but you. You have to care for yourself & look out for yourself. To be able to do this, it is vital that you have some "Me" Time. Ideally everyday, but if not atleast once in a while. This "Me" time does not mean you have to be out on a holiday on your own, though that would be a nice thing to do. It can just be those couple of minutes that you take to apply your body lotion or to get dressed. And for those who do not have a self care routine, its time you got one. Its never too late to look after yourself & a woman is never too old to pamper herself :)

Dont assume the "Me" time is only about skin care. No, its not that at all. Its your time. To reflect on your life, to plan what you wanna do & how you would want to do it, to be the person you really are, to find out whats missing & how you can find it, to be just you. And for some of us, to get a life. Most women I meet think it is okay to not have a life of your own. They are okay with calling everything that they do for their husbands, brothers, sisters, children, parents their life. And I almost say this - That is not your life, its just one of the things. Your life is also about the things that you do, for yourself. Most of us, do not have this part at all. Its really really time we began living our life completely.

Here's how you could keep aside your "Me" time each day. Take a walk alone, this gives you time to be at peace with yourself, to appreciate things that you have & things that there are around you. Meditate for 15 minutes atleast. For those who can concentrate can do more, not me though. Pursue your hobby without thinking whether you are in the right age to do it. Do what you wanted to do as a child. Like I said, its never too late. Learn a new skill. Who knows, you could end up with an alternative & lucrative profession :). Your "Me" time can be anything. Only you can decide. But it sure will make you happy.

Enjoy your "Me" time.