A female Stanford labor economist urges graduates to avoid the trap of “trying to have it all” — Quartz

Graduation speeches are usually brimming with optimism and idealism. Be your best self. Lean in. Make your dream work. Myra Stober, a labor economist and professor emerita of education at Stanford University, took a different tack, offering Stanford’s graduate school of education students hard truths and pragmatic strategies for managing work-life balance. “You can harmonize…

via A female Stanford labor economist urges graduates to avoid the trap of “trying to have it all” — Quartz

Finally a person who sees things the way I do.

Work and Family are two institutions which require a full time commitment. Having a balanced way of life doesn’t really help maximize on either of the two fronts. Unless, your significant other and you work towards fulfilling each others’ career goals.

 

Creating a safe working place for Employees

I read about the recent Julie Horvath issue which is out there on the internet, and thought that I might share some of my experiences on this topic.

In case if you are not familiar with the Julie Horvath issue, Google it, or simply head over to TechCrunch who gave Julie’s side of the story.

tl;dr – Julie was an employee at GitHub who quit after feeling threatened at work

GitHub have tried to clean things up with a sincere and apologetic reply to Julie. They have taken some prompt action and that’s what matters.

So what went wrong?

In the entire episode, Julie must have felt threatened at work. Imagine having to battle out on multiple fronts with multiple people … and apart from that handle work as well. The nausea an employee might feel with so much politicking going on is natural. Who would not quit?

One of the most basic requirements of an employee (keep this term in mind folks) implicitly wants, is to feel secure. Be it financially, physically and mentally. These are the very basic requirements, if these are threatened, then the employee is bound to quit. If I were to use Maslow’s hierarchy as a model, then these would be the hygiene factors.

In letting a non-employee (the founder’s wife) sit within the working premises next to Julie, the physical security was in question. The mental security was being questioned by the love lost colleague and the founder in question. Add to it the way the organization reacted with radio silence and hushed tones, the financial security was also put in question. The next move should have been obvious, perhaps the reaction of the organization might have been to incite this move. The GitHub blog update suggests other wise, but we will never know that shall we?

Personal Catharsis

The reason I chose to write about this matter, is because recently we had a similar situation at work. One of our earlier employees went through this insecurity … thanks to my behaviour. It took some time for me to reflect and talk to a few other founders to understand what drove this employee in question to leave … leave at such a short notice. Do I regret this, yes. Did we lose a good player, perhaps. Can this be avoided in the future, definitely.

It’s a lesson learned for me that employees are not to be treated as co-founders. You can cross certain boundaries with co-founders … those boundaries are a strict no-no with employees … even if these are the people who help you grow your organization.

Sometimes, the founder can go to extraneous lengths to retain employees … not because the organization cannot survive without them, but because of the achievements that individual can do if properly channelled. In doing so, lines are crossed … sometimes it helps in bonding the individual closer to the organization … almost like a trial by fire. Sometimes, it backfires … and even worse spreads like wildfire on social media.

In Julie’s own words, what the founder did was to retain her at the organization … however things escalated to such an extent that the very opposite happened. This is what would happen when you mix professional relationships with personal ones. In trying to build a personal relationship with your team, you sometimes cross the boundary. Most of the times it pays off.

So what should a founder do?

A start-up would always face this issue. In order to do greater things, the team has to work outside its zone of comfort … constantly. How then do you build this sense of security within the team?

One simple approach would be to not fraternize with the team. I have seen many a good start-up founders do that … and to good effect. Reduce the fraternization only during moments of celebration.

One of my clear learning from the past episode is work towards fostering a sense of security for the employees … so that means take all conflict discussions offline. Conflicts which endanger the sense of security should not be openly discussed.

What I am saying is to clearly have two separate levels of information parity. What are the things that you have tried at work and it has paid off?

PS – I don’t have all the answers, however I am learning as I journey on.

Resume Gaffes

A couple of years back I had posted about some of the idiotic things that people write in their CVs. Lessons were not learnt it seems … till date we see thousands of such resumes with grammatical mistakes.

If you have a grammar nazi for an HR team (and yes, we do) … then your resume will not get shortlisted … here’s a list of #facepalms which we have seen over the months. Instead of just posting them here and making fun of these excerpts, I’ve decided to be more constructive and give feedback on how to avoid these errors

Using Long Motherhood Statements

Seeking position for an organization that will utilize my skills, talent and Management aptitude, so that I may propel it’s growth and development, while also contributing to my personal and professional fulfillment.

Looking for a position where talent, sense of responsibility, commitment and output of work is required for personal along with professional growth.

Stuff such as too many clauses, long generic statements are a complete turn-off. This is a matter of personal opinion, but I think putting such things in your CV is a waste of time. The only reason I would want to read these lines is to ridicule them. If you are applying for a job, then your objective should be just that … and no need to put that down on paper, since the reason you sent that paper across is to get a job.

Why beat around the bush, just directly get down to it … it will save the recruiter’s time and that is appreciated.

Grammatical Errors and Typos

Although I am a recent post graduate, my technical knowledge, my practical experience and eagerness to learn and be a part of  your organization will surely make an additional assistance.

I would like to express my interest in a position as HR Executive in your establishing organization.

When you are done framing your resume for the first time, be sure to get it reviewed by at least 2-3 different people. Try to look for a grammar nazi … between the lot of you, errors will come out. Make a note of these and be sure to correct them! Send the updated document across to everyone at the end of this exercise. You will be surprised with the improvement in your document.

Financial Services: A sunrise sector

In any developing economy, the one thing that’s always on the rise is the GDP, the expenditures and yes, the expendable income available with an individual.

Over a period of time, the same individual realises that keeping money in the bank is the same as wasting that money away. This is due to the high inflation rates that developing economies have. With a saving interest rate of 5-6% and an inflation rate of 11%, the opportunity cost of keeping money in the bank is a whooping 8% (give or take a few basis points).

Soon, this individual will start looking at a portfolio of financial investments to get better returns on his savings. Depending upon the risk appetite, he will choose between vehicles such as Mutual Funds, Bonds, Commodities and more. These are Financial Services … a rising sector in all developing economies.

In fact, with a rising economy, you will find a host of international firms looking to set-up shop in that country. With international firms come top-paid jobs. In this case, jobs in the Financial Services sector. Careers in some of the top financial institutes of the world.

Needless to say that such specific and specialized knowledge work requires specialized people to find the right people for the task. Of course there are sites such as Monster, et al for your normal run of the mill jobs, but what about specialized portals for financial services?

I came across AP Executive, which does executive recruitment for some of the top financial institutes in the world. Recruitment is a big cost driver for many companies and most organizations have a clear cut recruitment policy. In the past 6 months or so, we have seen recruitment on the rise, even in developed nations. Sectoral growth leads to higher recruitment, better players, more competition and finally a better consumer experience.

After what happened nearly 4 years ago, it is great to see this growth in the past year or so. Put the right people behind the wheel and there will be success. Financial Services as a sector shows great promise and increasing dividends … but only if the right people are in the leadership positions.

Focus

image Today, we received a query on our website from a 16 year old boy. It was about wanting more details about the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program. I was absolutely stumped. This program is generally attempted by folks who are doing or have done their MBAs, or at least graduates. Of course, the CFA Institute has no qualms with an under-graduate talking the first exam, in fact the boy is completely eligible for giving the first level of the exam.

Now, go back 5-6 years (or in my case 15) … when you were in your 10th standard, did you have such clear aim in life?

I mean, its astounding.

I have nothing but respect for one so focused. When you know what you want, then getting it becomes easy. Kudos Kiddo! and God Bless!!