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A letter for the Young Professional

A letter for the Young Professional

Dear Young Professional,

Here you are, finally living the much coveted and cherished ‘independent’ life you have been waiting for, through years of school and maybe somewhat more rebellious years of college. How does it feel? Are you giddy with excitement, or surprised because you did not expect to feel indifferent, of all things. Any which way, welcome to the world of ‘adulting’, as we millennials put it, and, to the world of work.

The unfortunate part about being a young professional in the world of work today, is that we have been groomed, and taught to believe and act according to the knowledge that the said world “expects” professionals who have just graduated to come with a load of experience, skills and a ‘win the world’ personality. To some extent, this is not entirely misplaced. To a large extent, it is. Being a young professional in the world of work today is much harder than it ever was because of the debilitating (the word ‘stiff’ won’t describe it half as well) competition we have been brought up to strive through, thrive through. Right from school, words and phrases like ‘rat race’ have been highlighted in fluorescent markers in the dictionary of our memories. As a result, anything short of excellence, anything short of being the ‘best’ seems to be getting asked to move on.

In your strive to ‘fit in’ to the mold of perfection which has been your shadow since the first time a parent may have told you, “…but why not better?”, try not to forget who you really are. Like Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself because everyone else is taken.” It feels good to look back, every now and then and realize that you have come a long way and have only just started. Instead of getting bogged down by what we millennials call ‘adulting’, try and find joy in this journey of yours – which has only just started – the best part of being free and independent to discover yourself through what you choose to do. To stop and pause, and process, is something each one of us owes ourselves. If not for this, we might well be machines – doing just the right amount of thinking we are “wired” to do. While many parts of this journey might scare you and force you to look at things in a certain way that may make you uncomfortable, after have also been trained about which perspective is ‘right’ and which is ‘wrong’, take it as it comes. You may discover that what you once thought was ‘wrong’ is indeed just another shade of gray – not necessarily right or wrong.

Away from cut-offs, placement talks and placement drives, CGPAs and CV designs, welcome to a very real world – defined maybe by all these aspects, but it is really up to you to open your eyes and look beyond them into a horizon of very many possibilities. This really is a space which gives you the freedom and space to unlearn everything so you may learn again. The true learnings are in fact those that disintegrate and come together, forming the atoms that make you up. It is through your work, the space and the people that you now spend a greater portion of your time with that will begin to be central to this new journey of yours. And indeed, it is important to look beyond projects and deadlines, promotions and packages, meetings and partnerships, and build relationships that have more to them than just opportunities.

Seeking mentors, being fearless, taking risks (calculated ones!), being prudent, being foolish, working hard, learning to live, but most of all learning to be in the moment, to be happy in the now and finding joy in the beautiful journey of growth is what the world of work could be all about. Only if we choose to make it that way.


A Young Professional on a Beautiful Journey of Learning and Growth.

Best Fiction Reads – You Deserve a Breather

Best Fiction Reads – You Deserve a Breather

Very few things offer the same kind of giddy, yet delicate excitement like the time when you are in love. But one thing you can be sure will offer you not just the same, but far greater happiness and joy, is reading a book. Falling in love with the words, sentences, phrases and verse, with the protagonist, the villain or the sidekick, is something else. Discovering through the ideologies of the narrator your own ideologies. And sometimes even finding the words you’ve been struggling to find, through the words of the author; which makes you say – “this book was written for me.” Away from the world of work, we have curated a list of five beautiful Fiction Reads which will flip your world on its head.

  1. The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

    This piece of work deserves every bit of the credit it has received. It won the Booker prize in 2011 . Barnes, a magician, plays with the concept of time as if it were play dough. He twists and turns the plot any which way he pleases – through the voice of an omnipresent narrator. A moving, hilarious, and nail-biting exploration of the self, friendships and relationships. When you make it to the end, tell us if you know the answer to the question he asks.

  2. The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

    When I started reading this book, I said to myself, “I have never read anything like this before.” And I wasn’t wrong. Don Tillman, a “socially challenged” genetics professor who has never been on a second date embarks on a certain project to find himself a wife. He calls it “The Wife Project”, and designs questionnaires for all the potential suitors he wants to “screen”. Don’t cringe yet. Read it to find out the hilarious bends and twists of his encounter with Rosie.

  3. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

    This work of beauty has to its credit a very deserving Pulitzer prize for fiction. Do not be intimidated by the size of the book because you will feel sorry when it gets over. It is that good. It is the story of a little boy who loses his mother to a bomb blast and ends up with a painting. The painting decides the trajectory of the rest of his life. Every page of this book will have you laughing and crying along with the narrator.

  4. The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Set against the background of the aftermath of the Spanish Civil war in Barcelona, this is a story of love, lost and found, and books lost and found in “forgotten cemeteries”. Passionately crafted and narrated, Carlos Zafon weaves magic by taking us around Barcelona through this story you will never forget. They don’t lie when they say, books help you see the world without leaving where you’re sitting at.

  5. Stardust, Neil Gaiman

    A must read if you are a fiction fan. Gaiman, a wizard with words is at his imaginative best with this book. No matter how old you are, you will believe in magic when you read this book. In a beautiful way, Gaiman explores the surreal, and the ethereal only by grounding it in very real and concrete everyday things – feelings. What happens when a boy goes out to find a shooting star that fell from the sky for his lover? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

If you’re contemplating a break and don’t know what to read, here you are spoilt for choices. If you’d really like a break but can’t take one – pick up any one of these books and feel yourself being transported very far away from wherever you are. Because you deserve a breather!

How to Feel a 100% on the First Day of your New Job

How to Feel a 100% on the First Day of your New Job

The day you start a new job is a rather special day. It brings along with it a chance to live your precious dreams and is an important milestone in your life. Regardless of how nervous you may be about starting the new job, it is important to go in feeling an absolute hundred percent. Feeling a hundred percent on the first day of your new job sets the kind of vibe that brings you mindfulness – something you want to aim for everyday of your brand new work life. Here are five ways you can bring that vibe about. We strongly recommend getting started on these at least twenty four hours before your first day, for optimum results. 🙂

  1. Prepare well

    Even though you may already be well prepared and all set to get started, there are a few things that will help you being even better prepared. Re-read your employment contract and offer letter to ensure you have all the documents you require, in place. Go over your job description to re-acquaint yourself with your roles and responsibilities, brush up on remembering the names of your team mates. Remember that when you look good, you feel good. Dressing well, and being presentable makes a huge difference to your confidence level. Spend some time putting your outfit in place for the next day.

  2. Express gratitude

    This simple exercise in mindfulness will have a profound impact on your energy level and confidence – exactly what you need on your first day. Just before ending your day, think about all your reasons for applying to the job, recount the struggles you faced in the process and how you overcame them. One of the most powerful and humbling feelings is to feel gratitude for your journey, and for the circumstances which brought you closer to your goals. Write all that down, and when you feel like you’re having a bad day at work, reading what you wrote will never fail to put a smile on your face.

  3. De-stress

    Even if you may not be stressed, de-stressing / ‘doing things which make you happy’ is a great idea to conjure up the energy you want to carry with you on your first day of work. Read a favorite book, listen to some music, spend some time putting your thoughts in words, paint, garden – just anything that brings you joy. Spending a few hours on yourself creates a significant difference – for the better!

  4. Have a BIG breakfast

    On your first day of work, wake up extra early just so you can take your time getting ready at your own pace. Most important though, is to have a big, hearty, happy breakfast. Put on some music and make yourself some awesome breakfast. It is just the fuel you need before you launch into your new job, your new life, your new role!

  5. Wear your best smile

     No matter how impeccably dressed you are, a smile is what makes all the difference. Walk in with a smile everyone smiles back at. Keep it on your face all day, and put it on auto-repeat mode, until it is a part of you. A smile that is genuine is more miraculous than most other things in life. It fosters friendships, breaks barriers, dissipates anger, and opens doors where there seem to be none. Don’t believe us? Try and let us know if we are wrong.

Feeling a hundred percent on the first day of your brand new job means nothing more than feeling like you have it within you to give your new adventure everything you’ve got. It means that you appreciate the opportunity that has come your way (through your own hard work), and want show gratitude through your work ethics and self-motivation. As they say, morning shows the day!

What are your favorite things to do on/ before your first day at work?

Gap Year(s) and Why They’re Trending

Gap Year(s) and Why They’re Trending

When Malia Obama decided to take a gap year before starting college at Harvard, it made the world sit up and notice. The news spread like wildfire, not just because one of the Obama’s’ was involved but also because the concept of a gap year had captured the imagination of the public. A number of questions arose, “ What is a gap year?”, “Why do students need a gap year?”, “What do students do during a gap year?” and so on.

In very simple terms, a gap year is an experiential semester or year “on,” typically taken between high school and college or after college in order to deepen practical, professional, and personal awareness.

Despite the financial challenges and stigma surrounding a gap year, it has many benefits to offer. Universities today have understood this and as a result they not only accept applicants who have taken gap years but also actively encourage admitted students to defer enrollment for one year to travel or pursue a special project or activity. According to study abroad organization CIEE, Harvard College alone has seen a 33 percent increase in the number of their incoming students taking gap years!

If you’re a student mulling over the idea of taking a gap year and are wondering if it is worth the effort, then do give this blog a read! Given below are the reasons we think why a gap year will do wonders for your personal and professional growth.


Personal Growth

1.Keeps you from Burning Out

One of the most promising articles on this subject, “Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation”  by William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Harvard College describes how pressuring K-12 schooling has become and notes how training for college scholarships or professional contracts begins early, even in grammar school. He further wrote,“Faced with the fast pace of growing up today, some students are clearly distressed, engaging in binge drinking and other self-destructive behaviors. It is common to encounter even the most successful students, who have won all the “prizes,” stepping back and wondering if it was all worth it.”

In fact according to an article by Wall Street Journal,  “Burnout from the competitive pressures of high school is one of the top two reasons why students take a gap year.”

If you also face the heat and pressure of your school or college, a gap year could be a fantastic way to recharge your batteries. It is a chance for students to take a breath and do something that doesn’t require them to ask, ‘How will this look on my college application? As a result, rather than losing motivation or study-skills, you come back refreshed and rejuvenated. Data by American Gap Association  which states, “Taking a 1-year break between high school and university allows motivation for and interest in study to be renewed” supports this claim.

2. A Better Sense of Self

An article by Wall Street Journal stated, “ Apart from the burnout, the desire to find out more about oneself is another top reason for taking a gap year.” A gap year will enable you to achieve this in three ways. One, taking a gap year essentially means taking time off from a hectic life of final examinations, preparing for college interviews or achieving professional deadlines. It allows you to take a step back and introspect. Gives you the time to understand yourself, your skills and interest. Challenging yourself while on a gap year is another way . You might decide to go trekking through a jungle, climb a mountain for charity or volunteer in a developing country. These challenges push you out of your comfort zone, make you face your fears, enjoy new experiences and in the process help you discover yourself. Finally, a gap year allows you a unique opportunity to broaden your view of the world.

According to an article by Joe O’ Shea, director of Florida State University’s Office of Undergraduate Research , “We often develop most when our understandings of ourselves and the world around us are challenged, when we engage with people and ideas that are different. Trying to occupy another’s way of life in a different culture — living with a new family, speaking the language, integrating into a community, perhaps working with local youth, for instance are valuable experiences that help young people understand themselves, develop empathy and virtue, and expand their capacity to see the world from others’ perspectives.”

Professional Growth

1. More Clarity about What to Pursue Next

You might have observed your friends or classmates committing themselves to one area of study, and when they realize it’s not for them, they swap to a completely different major. By doing so not only do they lose out precious time but it also increases the financial burden. If you are in the same boat, then a gap year will do you no harm. In fact it will allow you to put things into perspective and make you more certain of the major you want to pursue.

According to Joe O’ Shea, “Many students overseas who take gap years in between colleges end up changing their intended major after returning as their gap year experiences enrich their courses, strengthen co-curricular endeavors, and animate undergraduate research and creative projects. Therefore taking that crucial time off can help give them the direction they need to confidently choose a major, and ultimately, a career they’re passionate about.”

2. Improved Performance in College

Who doesn’t want good grades and shining comments from the professors? Even the“backbenchers” secretly desire it, whether they accept it or not! Attending classes and studying hard is surely one tried and tested way of doing it, however it is not always a success. Sometimes taking a long break from studying can work wonders for your academic performance.

Robert Clagett, who served as a senior admissions officer at Harvard and is also the former dean of admissions at Middlebury College,recently designed a methodology to track gap year students’ over/underperformance of GPA. He found that students who took a gap year almost always outperformed academically in college as they are relax, rejuvenated and as a result more involved in the campus. Most importantly, the positive effect of taking a gap year was demonstrated to persist throughout the college years.

3. Develop Useful Contacts

Taking a gap year will not only help you forge some lifelong friendships, but also give you an opportunity to build your professional network. Throughout your journey you will meet a range of different people from all walks of life who will either provide you with job opportunities or with references at some point in the future.

4. Gain Relevant Work Experience and Skills for Securing Employment

A gap year doesn’t just allow you to relax, travel around the world or help develop a circle of contacts . It is a powerful medium enabling you to gain skills and experiences that would most certainly help you score your dream job !

According to an article by Institution of Engineering and Technology,  “Past survey commissioned by gapyear.com showed that 85 per cent of HR executives questioned, felt that relevant work experience is more valuable to a job seeker than an average non-vocational degree, and 65 per cent believed that a constructive gap year spent volunteering or gaining work experience overseas made a job application stand out.

From the above data it is very clear that employers are actively encouraging people to take gap years to earn skills and ‘life experience’. Some of the key employability skills gained include organization, communication, teamwork, independence, social skills, decision-making, self-sufficiency, time management, budgeting, using initiative, improved self-confidence, leadership and developed maturity.

It is safe to say that what used to be an experiment earlier is nowadays an informed choice. Gap years aren’t meant for sitting idly and watching re runs of your favourite sitcoms. In order for a gap year to be successful, it is very important for you to first understand, why you are taking a year off? If that is clear then the next step would be to create a plan of action aligned with your interests and learning needs . If you can do this, then a gap year might just turn out to be the unparalleled experience you were hoping for.

5 Things Characters from Game of Thrones teach us about the World of Work

5 Things Characters from Game of Thrones teach us about the World of Work

With all that rage about the incredibly popular series –Game of Thrones, we thought it would be creative to put together a post about what the series teaches us about the world of work! We hope you enjoy reading it, as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

1. Tyrion Lanister – Knowledge gives you mileage.

It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that Tyrion Lanister in the series is an embodiment of knowledge, and worldly wisdom. One of the most admirable qualities (despite possessing some not-so-admirable qualities) he possesses is that of being well read, which has, time and again helped him out of sticky situations. The best lesson his character teaches us is, even if people judge you unkindly, or based on “outwardly appearances”, if you are smart enough, you can take all of that in your stride. We all know how often one needs to deal with situations like that in the world of work.

2. Daenerys Stormborn – Don’t micromanage everything, Delegate!

Well yes. She is all about woman power and how one can truly break away from oppressive gender stereotypes. Now that we’ve given her credit for that, let’s face it how her character is far from perfect. Her need to micromanage has more often than not landed her in trouble. If only she would just heed the counsel and the help coming her way. Something that we need to remember everyday, in the world of work – that your need to micromanage everything will only retard your efficiency.

3. Jaimie Lanister  – Never let your disabilities weigh you down.

We’ve watched this character evolve across a period of six seasons. And of all the lessons to be learnt from him, the finest is the fact that he never let his disability of not possessing an arm become an excuse for anything. When we apply it to the world of work, we mean it in a much broader sense, that no matter what your problem is, there still will be a way to work around it and deliver nothing but your best!

4. Lord Varys – Never let an opportunity pass you by.

Varys in the series has proven to be an extremely resourceful and capable character. Most of it because of the amazing capacity he seems to have to be able to focus on what needs to be done, and to get it done in the most efficient manner. His trait of being a thorough opportunist is something we all could try and learn from, especially in the world of work. Being mindful, and aware pays. You will never let an opportunity to slip by.

5. Joffrey – Well, we all know how that story went.

Of the King who really thought he was King, until he was slayed (Aside: if Tyrion didn’t poison him, who did?!).
Joffrey has probably been one of the cruelest characters in the series. The circumstance of his murder is testament to the fact that nobody likes a horrible boss! Some food for thought, eh?

Like this post a whole lot? Tell us you do and maybe we’ll put together another one with a similar interpretation of some more of your favorite characters!

Volunteering – Why it should be on every student’s priority list

Volunteering – Why it should be on every student’s priority list

While the idea of volunteering has been around for quite some time, it was always been perceived with some amount of disapproval from parents and has been seen as an additional chore by the students. However, with times swiftly changing, volunteering has grown to be immensely popular and has become a trend among  students.

The million dollar question to ponder over is, WHY. Why is there a sudden rise in volunteering by students? We believe that the desire to create something meaningful and to give back to the society is the top reason for any student to volunteer, but that is just the tip of the iceberg! At a much deeper level, it is because of the benefits a student reaps that volunteering has become so sought after.

Below is a list of 5 reasons why we think every student must volunteer at least once in their life! Take a look!

Reason 1: Develop your Skills

Volunteering exposes you to a whole new world of opportunities and at the same time helps you in honing your existing skills. It teaches you things that can’t be taught in classrooms. Take for instance, the ability to work in teams – we can’t stress enough how important that is in today’s job market and volunteering more often than not, involves working in teams. It brings out new hobbies, interests, and helps form opinions. You’ll be surprised at how good you’re at things you have never done and volunteering can give you opportunities to try all of them out. A volunteering experience can actually help you take a step forward towards deciding your career!


According to a survey conducted by Chronicle of Higher Education and Public Media’s ‘Marketplace’, “Employers place more weight on experience, particularly internships, volunteering and employment during school vs. academic credentials including GPA and college major when evaluating a recent graduate for employment.”

While applying for a position, without much prior work experience to show to your employer, volunteering stints could vouch for your all-round abilities;your ability to organize events, make optimum utilization of the scant resources available, handling operations, managing people to name a few. Even while applying for higher studies in foreign countries, we believe these experiences will surely help you boost your CV.

Reason 3: Rediscover Yourself – Get Out Of The “Comfort Zone”

Volunteering widens your personality horizon by exposing you to different kinds of situations and environments that will make you “uncomfortable”. It is a exceptional process that pushes you to your breaking point and helps you unlearn and discover yourself. Travelling in adverse conditions and developing a resilience, living on meager resources and discovering your sense of empathy for people, all these will give you a new and appreciative perspective in life and help build character.

Reason 4: Meet Diverse Groups

Volunteering brings together people from diverse fields. Interaction with co-workers presents an excellent networking scope. It enhances cross-cultural understanding and develops people skills. We have often heard that lack of communication skills during interviews and in work places is a common pain point of most employers, so a volunteering stint might do wonders in this regard! In the end we’d like to add that when we interact with diverse groups, it helps widen our own thoughts and ideologies, and so can you.

Reason 5: Travel! 

Going on vacation during some time off is all well and good for a while, but if you’re looking for something adventurous, fulfilling and productive, it would be an excellent idea to go down the volunteerism route. This allows you to travel to a hill,a forest or a beach and volunteer for a cause! It’s a good way to get to see your country from a completely different point of view, meet some interesting people, be independent and assist those who are less fortunate.

So remember, the next time you feel the urge to be productive and contribute to the enhancement of the society and yourself, just pack your bags and go volunteer. The longer, the better!