How Kareena Kapoor Khan can inspire you to get back to work after baby

How Kareena Kapoor Khan can inspire you to get back to work after baby

Image source: Lakeme Fashion Week

Recent amendments may have increased the period of maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks in India, but going back to work is something all women struggle with after baby. Guilt, uncertainty, doubt, misgivings and more – a new mother’s lot isn’t easy. Which may explain why almost 25-30% of women across metro cities in India quit their jobs to raise their first child, according to an Assocham study

But Kareena Kapoor Khan defied this stereotype. Up and about almost till she went into labour, the actress was doing photo shoots and launching products. Two months after she gave birth to Taimur Ali Khan in December 2016, she made a stylish comeback, as showstopper for the Lakme Fashion Week finale. Much like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in her much-discussed book Lean In, she’s among the women to “have it all”. 

Here’s what this Bollywood actor can teach you about going back to work after a baby:

Don’t listen to all the advice that’s thrown at you
Whether you’re pregnant or a new mom, it seems to give everyone the licence to preach. Like Bebo, learn to turn a deaf ear to unwanted advice. “What annoys me is when people take the liberty to throw advice at you, tell you how life is going to change, and deliver spiels on what’s morally right and wrong,” said the actress. 

Takeaway: What works for one new mom may not necessarily work for another so cut your own path. Your goal should be to find a healthy balance that works for you, your family and your career.

Embrace the new you
A baby brings along kilos and inches on your body, but it’s up to you to be make peace with your appearance. Kareena put on 18 kg during her pregnancy, and in her words, “I flaunted it, double chin and all, until the day I walked into the hospital”. Two months after she delivered, Kareena was back on the ramp as the showstopper for the Lakme Fashion Week finale and the cameras loved her. “I said this through pregnancy that it is not an illness so, I walked the ramp then and I will keep doing that because I love it. It is okay if I am not size zero but as long as I am looking great and I think I am,” she said. 

Takeaway: You may not be in the best shape of your life, but that’s no reason to let your confidence levels plummet. Remind yourself that this is a beautiful phase of your life and continue focusing on work. 

Make an effort to be visible
New moms find themselves itching to get home and take their baby in their arms, but it’s also extremely important to stay connected with what’s happening – at the office, in your industry and with your colleagues. “The more you can do to stay connected, the easier it will be when you come back,” writes lawyer Carrie Mandel, author of Breaking Through. Kareena shows the way – she stayed in the limelight through the nine months and after by walking the ramp, appearing on magazine covers and shooting for endorsements.

Takeaway: It may not be on top of your priority list, but it’s critical to make an effort to remain visible. Office parties, networking events or industry seminars, make time for them. 

Work on your multitasking skills
If you haven’t aced the multitasking game till now, it’s high time you got a move on. In India, people believe a woman should take things easy after giving birth – especially on the career front. But there’s no reason not to challenge that mindset. “In the West, it is common for women to work until the last week of delivery. Having a baby is a natural progression in every woman’s life,” Kareena has said. 

Takeaway: Make working hours all about work. Eliminate distractions, work on related tasks and put your commute/lunch hour to good use. A to-do list is a must to ensure you don’t miss any deadline.

Go for the best baby caregiver you can get
You may not feel your absolute best as you leave your baby behind, but working on it will help. To stop worrying about the baby all day, have someone you trust to be the caregiver when you are not around. It could be mother, mother-in-law or a nanny, but make sure you get into the habit of handing things over temporarily. Kareena has been spotted out and about with friends and family, and without baby Taimur. But she makes sure that daddy Saif is with the little one during that time. 

Takeaway: A couple of practice runs may help before you actually head back to work. Try and arrange for your childcare to start a week or 10 days before you join work so you can try out your routine and fine-tune it.

Kareena Kapoor Khan has been a style icon for long. But now, as she enters a new phase in her life, she seems to be setting an example for expectant mothers and newbie moms at the workplace. “The fact that I am continuing to work should hopefully inspire a lot of girls that they can balance marriage, motherhood and work,” Kareena believes. 

Inspired by Kareena to find your way back to the workplace? Look for jobs here.


7 exclusive tips to determine if your company is inclusive

7 exclusive tips to determine if your company is inclusive

The feeling that you “belong” is one that never leaves us. As young children, we try and fit in with the family. At school, we long to make friends and blend in. As teens, we kowtow to the cool clique while searching for our own identity. And when we get to the workplace, the desire to be in a space that’s welcoming stays with us.

And while companies worldwide may be going gung-ho over diversity, it’s vital not to forget the importance of inclusion at the workplace.

In an article in Harvard Business Review, Christine M. Riordan writes: “Diversity can bring many organisational benefits, including greater customer satisfaction, better market position, successful decision-making, an enhanced ability to reach strategic goals, improved organisational outcomes, and a stronger bottom line.”

But, she adds, “diversity is useless without inclusivity.”

So how do the two differ?

Diversity vs Inclusion

HR consultant Jennifer Brown, author of Inclusion: Diversity, the New Workplace, and the Will to Change, in an article in Forbes, simplifies the difference.

“Diversity is the who and the what: who’s sitting around that table, who’s being recruited, who’s being promoted, who we’re tracking from the traditional characteristics and identities of gender and ethnicity, and sexual orientation and disability—inherent diversity characteristics that we’re born with,” she says.

“Inclusion, on the other hand, is the how. Inclusion is the behaviors that welcome and embrace diversity. If you are a great leader for inclusion, you have figured out how to embrace and galvanize diversity of voices and identities,” she adds.

So hiring a diverse team in no way translates into an inclusive workplace culture. Scenario 1 means you’ve hired a range of different people while Scenario 2 ensures that you work to make your workplace a safe and welcoming environment for those diverse people.

We list down 7 exclusive tips to determine if your company is inclusive:

#1 Do you make diversity a priority? 

The foundation of inclusion is a diverse workforce. Courtney Seiter, Inclusivity Catalyst at Buffer, believes that hiring diverse talent is a must. “My top tip for early-stage startups wanting to make inclusivity a priority would be to start immediately. It may seem like team makeup and demographics isn’t the biggest concern, but this is the best time to embed diversity and inclusion into your culture.”

#2 Do all employees know what diversity actually means? 

Most people tend to think of diversity only in terms of race and gender. However, diversity goes way beyond that. True diversity incudes race, gender, age, ethnic group, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organisational function, education, background, disability, sexuality, religious beliefs and more. Only a workforce that understands what diversity really means can work at creating an inclusive culture. 

#3 Is the management open to change? 

As you work to make your company inclusive, it’s important to realize that there are bound to be problems/shortcoming and it will be critical to remain open to change. Policies may need to be changed if they are limiting; changes may need to be made for specific employees. An inclusive workplace will go the extra mile to consider the safety and comfort of all employees. So perhaps instead of gendered bathrooms, which can make transgender employees uncomfortable, the company could decide to offer only unisex bathrooms. But this is possible only with an open mind.

#4 Is the company’s functioning transparent?

Experts believe that an inclusive workplace “starts at the top but thrives from the bottom”. An inclusive company will always be upfront with employees about company policies, values, resources, training programs – anything that is likely to affect minority employees. Miguel Castro, senior director and lead for the Culture & Identity, Global Diversity & Inclusion Office at SAP, believes that when people “are comfortable and can express themselves in an authentic way, they are more likely to perform better, which increases engagement and contributes to the organisation as a whole.”

#5 Are you constantly re-evaluating your programmes? 

No company becomes inclusive on day one; it’s always a work in progress. It’s important to keep revisiting your programmes to ensure your workplace is truly inclusive. Check what the competition is doing to ensure that you stay a step ahead. In times to come, policies for sexual orientation, transgender-inclusive benefits and a commitment to the LGBTQ community may be needed. 

#6 Do managers and mentors lead from the front?

Creating and encouraging a sense of belonging in the workplace begins at the leadership level. Apart from the company’s founders and executive team, managers, mentors and supervisors need to be sensitive about inclusion. Jason Beckerman, CEO of Unified, believes that a healthy business begins with “a healthy company culture.” That “starts with letting your employees know that yes, you can be exactly who you are here,” he says. If the company’s leadership is clear, the attitude will trickle down through the organisation. 

#7 Is the work environment healthy and really fun?

A small joke here, a derogatory jibe there – it may not seem like much to you, but sarcastic comments of any kind can kill workplace camaraderie. Sexism and racism should not be acceptable at all; being homophobic or transphobic is also deplorable. An inclusive workplace is one where employees feel comfortable in their own skin. Educate staff on diversity and inclusion, if needed, so that no employee feels awkward or uncomfortable. 

Diversity is essential for innovation, productivity and profit. The top management can ensure that a company’s workforce is diverse. But creating an inclusive company culture isn’t just a job for the top brass; it involves everyone — from the office assistant to the senior project manager.

Why diversity can be a game-changing move for your startup/company

Why diversity can be a game-changing move for your company

Technological advances and economic globalization have made the world a village. No wonder that large corporates and small companies worldwide are making diversity a key talking point in their employer branding and corporate communication initiatives. 

It may seem simple, but achieving diversity is anything but simple. True diversity encompasses race, gender, age, ethnic group, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more. Recruiting, retaining and nurturing diverse talent can have long and short-terms benefits for every company.

A study by Harvard Business School into the ideology of diversity considered two aspects – 1D (intrinsic; including gender, race and ethnicity) and 2D (extrinsic; life experience, work profiles, varying roles, etc). The study found that companies with both types of diversity were 45% more likely to report market success than those that didn’t. The other findings? Diversity made it 70% more likely for business to enter new markets, and clients were more likely to have meaningful relationships with brands that had a diverse employee profile.

As Dr Stephen Covey, author and keynote speaker, famously said: “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”

We list down the reasons diversity can be a game-changing move for your firm:

  • It leads to better decision-makingDiversity in the ranks means that there are always multiple views and ideas likely when it comes to the possible outcomes of any action. The many perspectives ensure that supervisors and managers are more likely to consider the risks, implications, and consequences of possible actions, and take more informed decisions. James Surowiecki, in an article in Forbes, said: “Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.”

  • It can enhance productivity at every levelDiverse workplaces are synonymous with high levels of employee engagement. Kelli A. Green, of University of Florida, and her colleagues in their paper, Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools, state that workforce diversity can enhance productivity. “The new ideas and process lift employee morale and ensure employees work more efficiently and effectively,” they write. Productivity of individuals, teams and the company benefit from diversity.
  • It leads to an increase in creativityAn increase in workplace diversity means heterogeneous groups come together to work on different projects and end up bouncing off ideas/suggestions. EthnoConnect, a consulting company specializing in workforce diversity, says “employees from different backgrounds bring in a variety of solutions on how to achieve a common goal”. Culturally diverse team members are more likely to work out innovative solutions and processes. According to a Forbes study, of companies that make at least $500 million, 85% of them agree that one of the most crucial aspects of fostering creativity and innovation is having a diverse workforce.
  • It can help challenge and retain high-quality talentOne of the most common reason people quit their jobs these days is because they don’t feel challenged enough. Complacency can lead to stagnancy, which often lead top talent to quit. Paul Block, of Merisant, in an article in Harvard Business Review, said: “People with different lifestyles and different backgrounds challenge each other more. Diversity creates dissent, and you need that. Without it, you’re not going to get any deep inquiry or breakthroughs.” People from diverse backgrounds come together to form a stronger, cohesive team.
  • It leads to better relationships with clientsA diverse collection of people in a workplace brings different experiences, skills and experiences into the mix. This allows a company to provide enhanced customer service to a greater number of people. A diverse workforce understands today’s diverse consumer – the biases, reservations, ambitions and aspirations – much better and can provide personalised services, which are sure to result in longer-lasting and solid client relationships.
  • It can draw Millennials to your company 
    Opting for diversity enhances the company’s reputation, and makes it more attractive to empathetic millennials. A recent Deloitte study noted: “Millennials view diversity as the blending of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives within a team, which is known as cognitive diversity. Millennials view cognitive diversity as a necessary element for innovation, and are 71% more likely to focus on teamwork.” 

    In the years to come, business that capitalise on diverse voices and include them in decision-making will truly thrive. An inspirational quote by an unknown person says it all: “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.”

4 ways to create small inclusion moments at work

ways to create small inclusion moments at work

Creating a culture of inclusion at the workplace is just not a nice thing to do; many studies and innumerable examples prove that it makes business sense to do so. While much has been said about investing in the well being of employees, fostering an environment in which employees feel encouraged to contribute and heard is equally important. HR experts describe an inclusive workplace as that working environment that values the individual and group differences within its work force. It enables a company to embrace the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives of the employees, which in turn increases their talent, innovation, creativity and contributions.

Too many companies spend money on strategic plans, consultants and meetings to put diversity and inclusion plans in place. They, however, fail to prepare their leaders to practice inclusion every day and make it a part of their culture.

Inclusion does not just happen; it takes everyone from the top to understand, believe and be passionate about culture change. Inclusivity isn’t just something the organization mandates, these are choices that leaders make and moments they can create every day to make employees feel included.
Here are some simple, yet effective ways to foster inclusion at work:

Create opportunities where people get to know more about each other

Starwood Hotels, on associate name tags, rather than including their place of birth, state one of their passions, such as: running or cooking. This gives them a reason to speak with other people about their interests.

Associates like that the company gets to know them better, ask questions that have some meaning. We often have a sense of formality and proprietary that prevents us from sharing too much at work but sometimes these moments of informal interactions can lead to long lasting relationships at work.

Employee support groups

Allow people to share stories, struggles or sometimes just share moments of joy or grief. Eloise Bune, CEO of ScribbleChat, says the team makes a point to eat lunch together. This leads to really interesting conversations and creates a safe place to share and be heard.

If your company is bigger, creating an in-office support group or network for diverse employees can help them connect with others who share their experiences.

Identify and correct unconscious assumptions and bias

It is impossible to understand everybody’s context. We do not actively train ourselves and our coworkers to act negatively towards certain groups or types of people; these are unconscious biases and can be overcome. For example, in today’s workplaces working mothers might automatically get overlooked for a promotion, because bosses just assume they wouldn’t want the added workload. Leaders have to walk the talk and make sure they introspect and identify their bias and check it at the door.

Accept that people are equal but not the same

Women might need to travel during safer hours. While new parents should not be held back from promotions or bigger responsibility, accept that they are parents and might need to leave early once in a while to pick up their kids from daycare. You can still hold them to the same standard as the rest of the team. Inclusive leaders recognise that members of their team have different considerations.

An inclusive and diverse culture is a work in progress and organisations and leaders should revisit their policies often to make sure their employees feel comfortable and heard, and learn about other employees who are different from them.

How women can make an Oscar-style #PressForProgress

The Shape of Water may have taken home the Best Picture trophy, but the real winner at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony was diversity and inclusion. From statement lapel pins to powerful speeches that championed equality, the conversations that dominated the star-studded evening made it clear that the women – and men – of Hollywood have recognised that personal activism is the best way to #PressForProgress.

As the popular saying goes, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. To that end, here’s how this year’s Oscars can inspire you to take action for gender equality at work:

Time’s Up, so close the confidence gap
Several references were made to the “winds of change” blowing through Hollywood throughout the evening. But actresses Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek coming together to “salute those unstoppable spirits who broke through the biased perceptions against their gender, race and ethnicity to tell their stories” was a clear show of strength. The accompanying video, featuring actors, writers and filmmakers talking about the importance of equality, was a much-needed motivational boost for people in the audience and at home.

close the confidence gap

What you can do: Women tend to undervalue their strength, doubt themselves more and back themselves less than many men. It’s what behavioural experts call the ‘confidence gap’, which Judd cited as one of main reasons why it has taken so long for the women of Hollywood to “speak their truth”.

Closing this gap will take time, as it involves unlearning years of conditioning. But until you take the first step, it will never be bridged. Start by doing one difficult task every day. Action boosts confidence, which in turn inspires more action, and creates a positive cycle of growth. 

Fight for change as equals
The many brave and outspoken supporters of movements like #MeToo, and Time’s Up, weren’t just women. Actors Bradley Whitford, Justin Paul, Benjamin Bratt and The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro were all spotted on the Oscars red carpet wearing a signature pin to express solidarity with the Time’s Up movement. Host Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue referenced it first comedically, then seriously, when he said, “We can’t let this behaviour slide anymore”.

Oscar 2018 - Fight for change

What you can do: Women aren’t the only ones who believe that creating a safer, more inclusive and equal work environment is important. According to the Women of India Inc. Survey by as high as 40% women expressed that men fear being judged by their male peers and choose to support gender equality only in private. However, the good part is that 44% men confirm that they can be effective advocates for gender initiative programs at workplace. 

Men are your allies at work, but in the current scenario, they are unsure about how to engage or even express an opinion. Research by the Lean Inorganisation reveals that almost half of male managers feel uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman like mentoring, working alone, or socialising together after the #MeToo campaign went viral. 

Don’t penalise men for their gender. Talk to them about your experiences and challenges, and enlist their support.

Know that women are good for business
Wonder Woman didn’t receive any Oscar nominations, but it was one of the biggest talking points of the night. The critically-acclaimed film, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, became the highest-grossing superhero origin film of all time in 2017, and the box-office clout of women filmmakers and film goers was brought up by both presenters and winners. 

Oscar 2018 - Women are good for business

What you can do: Whether it’s to do with leadership styles, or the diverse viewpoint they bring in, all research points to the fact that women are good for business. Keeping that in mind, if you’re in a leadership position in your organisation, work towards creating a pipeline of female managers to follow your lead. 

Lift other women as you climb
While accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Allison Janney made it a point to thank yesteryear star Joanne Woodward, who had mentored her to pursue acting seriously. Later on in the ceremony, Best Actress winner Frances McDormand’s rousing speech where she called out for an inclusion rider – a legal clause that Hollywood actors can include in their contracts, to request “more diverse representation in background actors and extras” – was one of the biggest reveals of the night.

Oscar 2018 - Lift other women

What you can do: Don’t pull others down to prop yourself up. Instead, women need to start looking out for one another more. Start by listing down a handful of women in your immediate network and think of how you can support them in some way. Make an introduction, volunteer to share a useful resource, share a few words of encouragement over a cup of coffee or praise them in the presence of a decision maker.

Looking for more tips on how women can get ahead at work? Find them here.

5 tips to ensure you’re paid equal

5 tips to ensure you are paid equal

Looking forward to that day when men and women are paid equally at work? You may be waiting a while. 

According to reports, no country in the world has closed the gender gap when it comes to salary. In India, the Monster Salary Index (MSI) on gender for 2017 revealed that women in India earn 20% less than men. The gap has narrowed by about 5% points from 24.8% in 2016; however the gender pay gap widens with experience and is highest at 25% for talent with 11 and more years of experience. As many as 69% women at Indian workplaces feel the management needs to “walk to talk” when it comes to gender parity. 

Instead of stewing in the unfairness of it all, or waiting for organizations to catch up with the times, here are five things you can do to get even:

  1. Choose a male-dominated career
    The choice of career may have far-reaching implications on your salary. If you choose a traditional female occupation, chances are that you start off on a lower salary rung. Helen Russell, associate research professor at Economic and Social Research Institute, says: “International research shows that female-type occupations tend to pay less and have lower status [than male-dominated occupations]…There is a strong argument that jobs involving care work have been systematically devalued.” 

    Over the years, teaching and nursing have become female-dominated professions while engineering and software development tend to be male-dominated. So choosing a career in software is sure to get you started on a higher salary than teaching kindergarten. Harvard labor economist Claudia Goldin has found that college grads moving into such professions can eliminate an average 30-35% of the wage gap.

  2. Negotiate from the start
    According to a study at Carnegie Mellon University, only 7% of women negotiate their first salary. Compare that to the 57% of men who make a case for better pay, and you see why women set themselves up for lower salaries and lower salary bumps through their work life. “A lot of getting ahead in the workplace has to do with being willing to raise your hand… If we as women don’t raise our hands in the workplace, we’re not going to get the same opportunities men do. Because men keep their hands up,” says Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, in Mika Brzezinski’s book, Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth. 

    Failing to negotiate your salary from the start is a mistake that will follow you and be compounded over the years. So do your research to figure out what you are worth and make your ask. 

  3. Make it a point to negotiate smarter
    In her 2012 book, Pushback: How Smart Women Ask — And Stand Up — For What They Want, top leadership consultant Selena Rezvani discusses how women miss promotion opportunities, plum assignments, and higher pay by not negotiating. She says men not only initiate negotiations four times more often than women, they also set higher targets, and so benefit in the long run. “So while women attempt to negotiate equitably — so that the pie is split in half — men tend to ask for a larger part of the pie,” she says. It’s a fact that women find it tough to negotiate aggressively. When they do, it often tends to be held against them. Try being collaborative; using words like “we” and “our”, and trying to take the company’s perspective is often more effective to get yourself a pay raise

  4. Make a push for promotions 
    Early-career promotions are important to put women on the growth track, but women at entry level tend to be more likely than men to spend more than five years in the same role. PayScale, a website that provides information about salary, benefits and compensation information, states that women’s pay growth “stops outpacing men’s at around age 30, which is when college-educated women typically start having children”. So it makes sense for women to try and scale the corporate ladder before they start their family. Speaker, trainer and career consultant Emilie Aries advises painting a clear picture of what the future could hold for the company if you got the promotion. “Why would everyone’s lives be better if you got your promotion? Seriously, make the case for how you would be better equipped to do more for them,” she writes in an article. Ask for your supervisor’s time, make your case, and present it to the best of your ability. 

  5. Blow your own horn
    Women and tooting their own horn doesn’t go hand in hand. But, it’s imperative to get ahead. Peggy Klaus, a business coach and author of BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, says: “Bragging is something that everyone needs to do.” A study at Northwestern University revealed that women’s tendency to downplay their successes at work may hold them back. Paola Sapienza, co-author of the study and a professor of finance at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, writes: “Men tend to overstate how well they do relative to women. And the people who are making decisions after hearing everyone speak tended to take most people’s statements at face value. You’d think that people would discount what men say somewhat and inflate what women say about themselves. But in reality, they didn’t do that.” If you don’t want to just brag, take along a self-evaluation that spotlights your skills, achievements, and reveals how your performance has benefited the organization’s bottom line.

6 reasons why working mothers are great role models

6 reasons why working mothers are great role models

Time was when little boys dreamt of becoming engineers and astronauts while little girls dreamt of being secretaries and health aides. But a study published by Fatherly in2017 showed that while little boys continue to dream about becoming athletes and firefighters, the girls have moved on from nurses and flight attendants; they now dream of becoming scientists or doctors.

Experts believe that the single-most factor that may have led to this change is the presence of working mothers in family setups. In Kids Benefit from Having a Working Mom, an article published in Harvard Business Review (HBR), author Carmen Nobel writes about a “positive correlation between working mothers and the future success of their daughters in the workplace and their sons on the home front”. 

The research behind the article was conducted in 2015 by Kathleen L McGinn, the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School (HBS); Mayra Ruiz Castro, a researcher at HBS; and Elizabeth Long Lingo, an embedded practitioner at Mt. Holyoke College; showed: “There are very few things, that we know of, that have such a clear effect on gender inequality as being raised by a working mother.”

The HBS study, which holds true across 24 countries, states that women whose mothers worked outside the home are “more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time”. 

Here’s a look at how working mothers set their kids up for success at the workplace: 

They instill a strong work ethic in their
When children see both parents work hard at home and then head to office to provide for the family, they learn that nothing comes easy. A working mother’s daily commitment and shouldering of workplace responsibilities lays the foundation for the next generation to emulate the same.

They teach their kids to be adaptable 
Every working mother knows the importance of learning to expect the unexpected. Children can fall sick, the maid may not turn up, and babysitters can take leave. A working mother’s child learns to adapt from an early age – a quality that stands him or her well as they grow into adults who must navigate shifting work/home scenarios.

They show children how they can manage time better 
In her book, Working Mom’s 411: How to Manage Kids, Career & Home, Michelle LaRowe writes that many mothers with full-time jobs are left with about 40 hours a week to get things such as cleaning, errands, spending time with family and friends, grocery shopping, and pursuing personal interests. Kids learn time organisation skills seeing their moms successfully manage their work and home life.

They showcase the value of
Every working woman with children knows that her career is possible only because of a certain give and take with her support system. Be it a partner, parents, family members or caregivers, she needs to work with them as a team to ensure that both work and home fronts thrive. Seeing the people who care for him/her adapt, help out and support each other shows a child the importance of teamwork from a young age.

They make their children more responsible
Women who balance work and home need to take care of zillions of activities every week. And with both parents working, every family member needs to play an important role to ensure that the functioning of day-to-day life is smooth. Children who grow up in such circumstances turn out to be more independent and responsible individuals.

They raise more empathetic and caring sons
While the presence of a working mom at home showed no effect at all on sons’ employment, research done by Harvard Business School showed that boys with working mothers are “more likely to contribute to work around the house as adults and to spend more time caring for children and family”.

Having a career can benefit you and your family in more ways than one. So get started today by signing up here.

10 things you need to know about Arunachalam Muruganantham

Arunachalam Muruganantham is one of the mentors on MakeIndiaWork – the startup ecosystem by to support and encourage startups. This is an interesting article about ten things about Arunachalam which everyone needs to know.

Known by names like ‘Menstrual Man’ and ‘Tampon King’, Arunachalam Muruganantham is a social entrepreneur from rural Coimbatore who is changing the way rural women perceive menstrual health and has employed a million women along the way.

  1. He left school at the age of 14 as he lost his father and had to help his mother support the family. Not going to high school made him more curious about everything around him.
  2. He first thought of making a budget sanitary pad when he saw his wife using rags during menstruation. He was shocked that the sanitary pads cost Rs. 4 in 1998 when the same amount of cotton only cost 10 paise.
  3. When he launched his mission to produce a sanitary pad that was affordable, he was left all alone on his journey. His wife and mother left him and his village ostracized him thinking he was going mad.
  4. When he discovered that multinational corporations used machines that cost millions, he resolved to make an economical machine of his own to make sanitary towels.
  5. In 2011, AC Nielson’s survey that was commissioned by government of India found that only 12% of Indian women used sanitary napkins. Muruganantham was taken aback to learn that these numbers were even lower for women in rural areas and these women didn’t only use rags but also other unhygienic substances such as sand, sawdust, leaves and even ash.
  6. His mission is not just to increase the use of sanitary pads but also to increase employment for women in rural areas. His mother suffered after his father’s death when she had to sell everything they owned and work as a labourer to support her 4 children. Muruganantham wants women to be self-dependent.
  7. He first launched his product in Bihar and felt if he could change mindsets there, he could succeed anywhere.
  8. Today he wants to spread his product’s reach to 106 countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, Philippines and Bangladesh.
  9. He has installed his machines in villages and in schools so girls don’t need to drop-out from school anymore. His best moment wasn’t when he received an award from the president of India but when a woman called from a remote village of Uttarakhand where nobody had sent children to school for generations but this woman had called to say her daughter now went to school.
  10. Muruganantham says, “Where Nehru failed, one machine succeeded.”

This article was originally published on 

Flexible work options for good work-life balance

Women on the go have to carefully balance work demands versus home demands. Flexible work options make this balancing act less tedious, which is now possible with contract jobs. Contract jobs offer a good work-life balance and career opportunities that recognize working women’s multiple responsibilities.  

Contract Jobs with the following key characteristics make an ideal career option for fleximoms:

Well Paid: Many contract jobs pay better – some more than 20 per cent better – than full-time jobs, primarily because they demand highly specialized skills.

Flexible work options: Go for a contract job that offers a significant acceptance of flexible work options and allows excellent work-life balance. It should let you feel you’re accomplishing a lot in the day and not just earning a paycheck. 

Ability to work from home: The ability to work when your kid is in school or simply from home is an added advantage.

Good daycare benefits: A few companies even have onsite daycare facilities, a luxury for new moms who don’t want their career to take a back seat after kids. 

These options could help you find success, both in the workplace and in spending quality time with your family.

Tips to find and thrive in a contract job

Determine Your Needs: Always evaluate your needs before searching or applying for the contract jobs. It’s important to focus on what is right for you and your family. 

Shop for Benefits Early: Settle for positions in companies offering progressive benefits.

Stay Connected: Join industry and professional associations to stay in step with the latest employment trends. Professional networking is the key. It is good to connect with your peers, ex-colleagues, seniors, and recruiters. You may also make a list of companies you intend to join, and follow recruiters and professional from these companies.

How to grow your career like Priyanka Chopra

Success has never deterred Priyanka Chopra from seeking new challenges. In an interview accompanying Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People edition, she said, “I don’t want to have a label. I want to have a legacy.”  

The actress has been building that legacy since her Miss World win back in 2000. A Bollywood box-office favorite, she is now shooting the second season of popular US TV series Quantico and will soon be seen in the Baywatch movie. Along the way, she’s bagged two National Awards, a People’s Choice Award, the Padma Shri and a Time magazine cover. Did we mention there’s also a hit music album?

Priyanka Chopra

It’s taken Priyanka far more than her extraordinary talent to achieve all of this. Her rise to fame and success offers valuable lessons.

Here’s what we can learn from her about growing our career:

Always seize a good opportunity if it comes your way
“America came to me with an opportunity,” Priyanka told The Guardian newspaper recently. A massive star in India, she didn’t have to take it. But she did, choosing an opportunity for self-development over complacency.

The lesson: To succeed and grow as an individual, your perspective and experience must continue to expand.

Priyanka Chopra Oscars

Set personal goals and work towards achieving them

“I want to be known as someone who has goals and achieves them,” Priyanka said in her Time magazine interview. From the moment she set foot in the Hindi film industry, she has consciously worked towards achieving her highest potential. To fulfill her goals, she has taken risks such as acting in the movie Fashion. People were skeptical because it was a woman-centric film with no male lead, but it went on to achieve box-office success (and won her a National Award). She’s also been open to venturing into new territories and contexts (US show Quantico is her first TV stint) to realize her ambitions.

The lesson: Goal setting is the first step towards success. Without goals, you’ll be unable to achieve anything for yourself.

It is important to have a Plan B
At the beginning of her career, Priyanka gave herself a year-and-a-half to succeed in the Hindi film industry. If things didn’t work, she planned to head back to college. Today, she advises others to “find what you do best and just keep moving”.

The lesson: Successful people always have something to fall back on (a Plan B) when things go wrong or opportunities don’t pan out. Tenacity is essential if you want to lead.

Success comes from hard work 
Priyanka’s Baywatch co-star Dwayne Johnson says, “She knows there’s no substitute for hard work.” The actress, who works 16 hours a day, said in an interview to NDTV, “I have made sure that whatever opportunity comes my way, I give my heart and soul to it.” 

The lesson: Hard work has always been the key to success. But it’s important you love what you do and success will follow.

Stay grounded
Johnson says Priyanka “wears her success like a T-shirt, not like a tuxedo”. A big global star, her popularity is attributed to how relatable she is. 
The lesson: Preserving your authenticity is important if you want to get ahead. Staying grounded is the only way to maintain a sense of equilibrium, and remain a steady and confident presence.

The lesson: Preserving your authenticity is important if you want to get ahead. Staying grounded is the only way to maintain a sense of equilibrium, and keep a steady and confident presence.

Inspired by Priyanka Chopra? Scale new heights in your career with our expert advice

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