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For Indian Millennials: Helpful Tips On Getting Hired, Managing Work Stress And More

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ILO logoEditor’s Note:With #FutureOfWork, the International Labour Organization India and Youth Ki Awaaz are coming together to explore the spectrum of issues that affect young people's careers and work lives. Join the conversation! 

India’s workforce comprises over 780 million individuals under the age of 35, a demographic that spends about one third of their lives at work. Yet, we rarely speak up about whether the work we do truly satisfies our aspirations, or the challenges we face. To nurture constructive conversations around decent working conditions, better opportunities for women as well as entrepreneurship, Youth Ki Awaaz co-hosted an #AwaazChat on Twitter along with the International Labour Organization India to talk about the #FutureOfWork. Here are the insightful and inspiring responses by our six amazing panelists!

 

On “ideal” workplaces

Jonas Prasanna
Social Media Recruitment Lead at CapGemini 

1. What do millennials consider important when seeking out “ideal” workplaces, today?

An ideal workplace facilitates conversations, nurtures positivity amongst the workforce & has free wifi. Recently as per a new french law, employees don’t need to check work based email at home. Strict enforcement of labour laws is the least we expect. situation only getting worse. needs to change. For millennials today respect is more important. Today egos must not get hurt. And equality must be there.

2. You hire without resumes. How does that work? Are resumes redundant?

Your online avatar is a beautiful tapestry of thoughts & expertise. Why limit it to a piece of paper? Throw open a hackathon challenge to evaluate idea to execution, team dynamics, leadership traits. Resume ? Social media has democratized creation, distribution & consumption of content, that’s how I recruit. Unfortunately, in our society degree is asked first before skill to perform.

On women in the workforce

Neha Bagaria
Founder – JobsForHer 

1. Tell us what led you to start your company JobsForHer?

Watching other qualified and experienced women, like me, lose their self-confidence after stepping away from illustrious careers, I vowed to help India’s women return to work in whatever way I could because we elevate the bottom-line for every company. Our experience and qualifications still matter, and don’t go to dust if we’re on a break. We come back better.


2. What can organisations do to encourage women to scale up in the career ladder?

Training and upskilling are necessary for every person to succeed in the workplace. We encourage every woman who joins our portal to do so. Women need more flexible working styles, telecommuting options,childcare and healthcare options.

On entrepreneurship and stress management

Ankur Warikoo
Co-founder of Nearbuy 

1. Entrepreneurship can be stressful. What has been your journey with aspects like stress, failure & mental health?

The ability to manage one’s own psychology is the hardest aspect of entrepreneurship. Self doubt, insecurity, fear are natural. How you manage them is the difference between success and submission. I am the biggest example of self-doubt. My first reaction to everything is – I fucked up! It’s taken a lot for me to make this approach work for me, than bring me down. Writing about it and being transparent (and thus vulnerable) has been the biggest way how.

 2. If a business does not work out, does it mean the entrepreneur has failed?

In whose eyes? We fear failure not because of failure, rather what will people think about it. We are so bogged down by the world’s definition of success and failure that we fail to define it for ourselves. Only you can call yourself a failure, should you want to. I know I have never failed in life. I have lost yes – several times – more than I wanted. But I have never failed. Failure to me is giving up the urge to learn and compete.

On sexual harassment at workplaces

Sonam Mittal
Founder of Azaadi

1. What inspired you to start your organisation Azaadi?  

I fought my case of workplace sexual harassment at @greenpeaceindia (GP) in 2015. Apathy, lack of due processes really shook me. GP’s response was ‘damage control’ not real support, just like many organisations. Anti harassment approach is reactive not proactive. Despite public scrutiny, GP HR said ‘victim wasn’t angel herself’ which was shocking from an NGO. No one has to go through this. Women in the workplace don’t have enough support, visibility, protection. I had to do something.

2. How are organisations responding to complaints by women who report sexual harassment?

Mixed = Some are supportive, some absolutely apathetic. More than orgs, dealing with colleagues is a massive challenge. Many org committees not aware of roles and duties. Confidentiality clause becomes a joke. Gossips and rumors. Career threats. Top management is all male. We are allowed to challenge CEO or MD? But victims don’t want this trouble. Changing jobs is easier!
Institution has to assert zero tolerance + walk the talk. Support from colleagues is a must. Many organisations also want to resolve issues instead of filing complaint. They insist apology should be enough. Not my #FutureofWork.

 On entrepreneurial challenges

Kalyani Khona
Founder of Inclov 

1. What were some of the top challenges you faced as an entrepreneur?

Hiring, setting the right culture and investment funding were key challenges.

2. What have been your experiences of starting an app, given your non-tech background?

Not having in-depth expertise means you have to get the right team onboard, trust them enough to deliver. Miss out on tech Research & Development. Investors may have an issue considering the plug of the machine is not in your hand. High employee turnover can become a problem.

On meaningful internships

Shadab Alam
Founding member of Internshala 

1. What are the top benefits of doing an internship in today’s economy?
1.It prepares you for real world and improves your job prospects.
2. Helps you discover your passion and learn new skills.
3. Earn a stipend – the feel of your first income can’t be described in words.

2. Some companies exploit interns. What are the red flags students must watch out for?

Yes, and it’s unfortunate. Things to watch out for:
1. No digital presence (website/founder LinkedIn profile etc.
2. Asking for a training fee or security deposit.
3. Trying to get free work done in name of hiring assessment.
4. Hiring without interview or assessment.
5. No formal offer letter and no clarity on stipend or role.
6. Poor experiences of previous interns – go through Internshala blog, Quora, or Google.

3. Thanks for the helpful pointers! What should students keep in mind in the search for “meaningful” internships?

A meaningful internship is the one that helps you advance your career. Before applying for an internship, check this list:
1. Will I be working on real projects (or just fetching coffees)?
2. What are the learning opportunities in this internship? 2. Will it help me learn new skills?
3. Will it help me identify if this career option is meant for me or not?
4. Will it help me build my profile for higher studies (if you’re planning so) and build my network for future jobs?

 

As the chat picked up, influential Twitterati including UN Women India, journalist Ammara Ahmed, and non-profit professional Sudeshna Mukherjee, also joined offering several diverse perspectives, elevating the conversation to a whole new level. We thank them and everyone else who joined in!


Dear millennial, we want to hear your story. Tell us about YOUR career aspirations, the struggles, discriminatory practices you want changed, your expectations from your workplace, skills mismatch and wage gaps, and your unique experiences in starting your own business. Start writing here (and don’t forget to include #FutureOfWork!)

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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