Three simple parameters to choose the best job

Let’s start with the basics — Why do you need a job? Why does one need to work? Common responses would be money, learning, people, growth. Man can’t live without working. We either for ourselves, our farms or businesses or some of us get a job working for others(organizations or individuals). Most of us in today’s urban world need a job to survive.

So how does one decide on a job? The basics — the skills that you have and the skills you want to learn, things you can perform and want to perform, your focus area(s), the places you want to travel to or live in, your goals and ambitions and the money you want to make etc. There’s more. The 3 most important parameters I’d say.

Positive Contribution to the world

This is the first most important parameter to anyone considering a job. I’ve pinned this tweet on my twitter profile.

You’re never getting younger. You’re at the best of health. Stay fit. Stay focused. Keep up the pace & contribute positively to the world. Our time on this planet is short, we need to make the most of it, leave a positive mark behind.

I’m not asking you to take up a job in the social sector — to go work with a non profit in Africa or rural India, that would be much better though. Positive contribution in this context means something that’ll help make the planet a better place. If you’re building technology, build something that’ll make lives better or businesses work better. If you’re in marketing, do it for the right product or service. If you’re consulting, help companies do the right business.

I’ll give you an example. I once worked with a technology company that focused on banking products. I was mainly working with banks in south-east Asia and Africa, helping them run their business with better tech. There was good money in this job and I was contributing positively to the world. Later, I moved to another job, here I was helping my company sell their product to major outsourcing companies around the world. The problem was that the product wasn’t really good enough. We had to sell it with a hundred lies and I’m not really sure it helped these companies do business better. Here, I wasn’t contributing positively to the world.

It’s plain and simple. The jobs that contribute positively to the world will stay. Also, they give you better job satisfaction.

Working with the leaders

There are leaders within every industry. All of them need not be famous. But they lead in their own way. Some might have a technology vision, some might work in a different way, some of them might want to change the world or the way we do business etc. No matter how small or big, every leader makes an impact. Working with such leaders will help you learn a lot of things. It’ll help you gain expertise in your industry, get exposure to areas other than your job role and improve your habits and skills at a personal level.

Every boss or manager is not a leader. The store manager at the supermarket might not be a leader but a street vendor selling lemonades could be one. There’s no definition to identify the right leaders to work with; but you’ll know the difference when you start working with them. Leaders have big aspirations for themselves and their team members and they work hard to achieve these. The leaders inspire people who work with them. They influence your habits, thought process and lifestyle. Working with such leaders will help you become one.

Disruption

Disruption — one of the most overly abused words of this generation. Everyone talks about it; but few actually get it. Disruption in any industry is a process where a company uses new/different business models or products or services to meet the unmet needs of the market, thus hugely impacting the way entire business works. There are always examples of disruption in every industry. For example Netflix disrupted the movie rental industry; Apple disrupted personal computers and mobile phones; Uber(debatably) disrupted the taxi industry. The point is — you can build a better career working in a company/industry that’s disrupting than the ones that are getting disrupted.

In the early 2000s, technology started disrupting banking in India. The bank employees unions were against the computerization of the banks. They feared computers would take away their jobs. My father led one such union. In one of the meetings they had with the management, the General Manager of the bank explained it to them using the theory of ‘Paradigm shift’ saying – “If we don’t adapt, we won’t survive.” My father has been keen on me taking working with industries/companies leading such ‘Paradigm Shift’ ever since. I simply like to call it the Disruptors — the industries or organization leading the change.

I don’t need to say further on how this will help you build a better career. Your job might get disrupted or you might be on the forefront of the disruption. It’s up to you! But if you’re in an industry or company that’s leading the disruption, you will for sure have multiple opportunities to grow.

My current job doesn’t really fit in any of the three parameters plus there’s not much learning opportunity in my focus areas. The only good thing about this job — Money! I zeroed down on these parameters when I decided to start job hunting. It has just begun, let’s see how it ends.

Thanks for reading. Follow me on twitter for more interesting stories. 

Interest in Social Media

Communication began with sounds and symbols. Evolved to languages and scripts before we found out a lot more media to communicate and today we’ve reached till the internet. And as communication evolved, our needs for communications increased. Now that we’ve invented internet, it can fulfil most of our needs and let us communicate effectively.

I’ve always been really fascinated with the concept of advertising and creative communication. I always wondered if this communication ever reached the right people. I had seen ads on government schemes for farmers and ads by clothing and jewellery merchants from a far off place of the state. I always wondered why these people couldn’t target on specific people and locations and may be even pay less for it. Then after a few years when I got used to the internet, I learnt how internet spammers could fool people with ads. But recently, the Indian e-commerce sites started ads on facebook and contests on twitter. And they succeeded. They targeted specific type of people who lived in specific locations. Then I learnt a lot more about social media marketing from a lot of videos and other resources on the internet. I learnt the difference between internet marketing, email marketing and social media marketing. Right now, only a small share of the world’s population has access to the internet. But in someday, not very far in the future, most of the world’s population will have access to internet and the Social Networks and then, Social Media Marketing will have a huge impact.

I’m also amazed by the amount of information, pictures shared on social media. The reach of social media can be wide or narrow; however you want it to be. And this has impact on everything. From art, design to videos to politics and news, everything gets influenced by social media. Especially in politics, it’s a big game changer. Social Media marketing is strategic. It needs creativity. It needs talent to attract viewers using the limited characters on twitter. It also requires art and content creation skills. With right content shared with right people, or good ads put forward to potential customers can impact a lot.

It is the impact, the power and the reach of social media that interests me and inspires me to take it up as a career.

Well, I had applied for a job at a Social Media Firm and the person who was taking my interview checked my twitter profile which led him to my blog and read this story. He was like “You’d have realized this now or may be 6 months back, I realized this 2 years back and started this company”.

I got through. But like I always do, I ditched the offer.  

Why Bangalore Needs You?

Sometimes when I visit places, I feel I’m lucky I don’t live there. But what about people who have no other place to go? I’d never given a deep thought about that. But today, while on a site visit from BNY, I got to see some worst parts of the city. I’ve always tried speaking to random people at the smoke shop or the roadside eatery. I’ve had talks with unknown people from various places on politics, public issues, business and movies. I’d seen places, people in trouble, people with no basic amenities. I’d never done a complete survey. And I had never understood the complexity of this kind of a problem.

Bengaluru Needs You or BNY is a movement led by Prof Rajeev Gowda, is an Indian politician and academic. He is a professor of Economics and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a national spokesperson for the Indian National Congress. He is a Director at the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India and former Chairperson of the Centre for Public Policy. I’m currently interning at BNY under the urban action internship, where I’m taking part in Urban Governance. There’s another group taking part in Urban Design. Both groups look at issues and discuss solutions in their respective field. There was a field visit today to the Byatarayanapura ward, basically to collect data, to try and understand the problems people are facing there.

We headed down to Sanjeevini Nagar, an area with majority population being lower middleclass. The major issue we saw at this place was the leakage of a sewage pipe to the road. It was terrible. There was sewage water all over the road, in front of a house. It almost blocked the entrance of the house. It was stinking like dead rats. We spoke to the locals, told them we were from an organization and we’re here to help. I initially went along with what people told us and thought the politicians are to be blamed. Then when we spoke to more people and realized the actual problem. My views changed.

The BWSSB or the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage board, has laid underground sewage pipes in most of the area except for this road. This road was left over because there’s an issue over the ownership of the land the road is on. There’s army land adjacent to the road and army has claims over half of the road. And government can’t work on this particular issue until the city corporation or BBMP gets ownership of this road. That is why BWSSB or the Corporation can’t take direct action on the sewage problem. It’s a deadlock situation. It seems, until a few years back all the sewage water was let into a sewage pit inside the army area. Army didn’t have a problem with this because they had a diary there and the sewage helped the growth of cattle feed. But recently, the diary was shifted and the army started building houses for the ‘Married Accommodation Project’ and blocked the sewage line. Now, all the sewage settles on the road. And when it rains, it enters houses. When complained, the corporation sends a sanitary cleaning truck and clears some amount of sewage. It’s not easy for them to clear all of it. And it builds up again in a few days. There have been reported cases of Dengue and Dysentery. The worst part is that the drinking water pipes are laid underground and wherever there’s a damage or a leakage, the sewage gets into the system. People who stay here, can’t use the drinking water they get. These people can’t afford to buy drinking water also. There are children living there. The people here have lost hopes. They say that media has covered this, politicians have come and gone and left their false promises. But most people wouldn’t have understood the deadlock situation here.

How would you feel if sewage from half the city ended up at your doorstep? It gets even worse in the monsoons because the sewage and rainwater flood the rads and houses here.

How would you feel if sewage from half the city ended up at your doorstep? It gets even worse in the monsoons because the sewage and rainwater flood the roads and houses here.

A little while later we learnt that the local MLA was at Delhi to get this issue fixed. And it is not that easy because Army is not an easy agency to deal with on such issues. What looks like a simple issue, is actually more complicated. It looks like some grant of money by the government can solve this. It looks like the area is being neglected. But no. It’s the issue that’s complicated. And at times, no matter how hard our leaders work, it’s not easy. This issue has to go through a lot of people and agencies to be solved.

A friend of mine encountered a similar situation in another part of the ward. Here, about 500 houses of Bengali speaking immigrants, mostly construction workers live in a slum like area. They’ve been here for the past 20 years but they do not have electricity. They pay rent for the land where they live but have no papers for their houses and hence can’t get an electricity connection. Imagine, these people, construction workers have to pay 5 bucks for getting their phones charged. And this phone is everything for them from torch to a communicating device to a source of entertainment. This again is a complicated situation because the land they live on belongs to someone else and that person won’t be ready to give papers or any right to these people on his land. And it is not very easy to relocate such a big slum. There are issues like this everywhere and they’re not as simple as they seem to be. With some time and right leaders, everything can be solved.

These people who live in this kind of areas mostly are drivers, security guards, housekeeping staff. They’re an essential part of the urban economy. We can’t imagine a day without this class of people. Their issues are very important for a safe and healthy urban economy. And with movements like BNY, such issues can be analysed and reported. The gap between policy makers and the people can be bridged. More important, people like me can learn and understand the complexity of such issues before we blame the politicians or policy makers.

To me it was a great experience. It helped me understand a lot of things better and inspired me to do more social work.

Huduku – The Lost Project

About two years back, when I was in the third year of college, Samsung had conducted a mobile app designing contest in our college. We were put into groups and were asked to come up with our own app idea, design it and build it. We were told that Engineers from Samsung would come and guide us and there would be chances of getting an internship. Samsung was doing this to attract more developers to their Bada platform. It was something new and a great opportunity to learn. We were all curious and excited at the same time. The teams, though a few members were in different classes and had different time tables, met frequently, discussed, planned and presented the Idea. We all submitted the ideas to Samsung. Then the Development Started and didn’t go that well and the entire program was cancelled. We were all sad that we couldn’t complete it but no one of us ever thought how much we learned from this project.

Just today, while searching some old documents, I found the presentation we had made. But now, looking back at things, connecting the dots, I feel it was of great help back then. In the process of just designing and presenting the app, we had learnt a lot of useful stuff. We understood the possibilities, complexities and the limitations of mobile apps on various platforms. We designed the UI, planned an entire app explored ways for development. There was also Business plan and Presentations were involved. It changed the way we looked at the mobile app world. We could understand things in a better way after the program. It was great altogether. May be someday when I want to join a design school, or a business school, these skills would help me.

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The Day at Jaaga

Jaaga is a creative community space in Bangalore. ‘Jaaga’ in Kannada means space. And the people at Jaaga are creating spaces for, connecting and supporting Entrepreneurs, Artists and Students. I had heard a lot about them from a lot of friends but never been to the place or met anyone. I was following them on the Social Media and someday I saw their post on ‘Jaaga Study’. Jaaga study is supposed to be a one year, open source learning project which focuses on web and mobile technologies and emphasizes on using the internet to learn and earn. Here, students learn various technologies and execute a projects and are guided by mentors. It is an Open source learning project and a residential program where the students stay on a farm and work from there. This is the best possible explanation I have based on my understanding of the study program. I’d heard of something like this for the first time. I applied and was selected for the program. I haven’t decided firmly if I should join or not, but I have a good feeling about this. I was invited for a picnic to the Jaaga farm today and it went great.

The location on the farm where the Jaaga living building will be reconstructed.

The location on the farm where the Jaaga living building will be reconstructed.

Jaaga, originally worked out of the little space at Courtyard cafe on K H road or most popularly known as the Double Road. But now, due to some issues, they’re moving out to the farm. They’ll also have a penthouse co working space in the city on Residency road. The current Jaaga Living building made of a palette rack structure will be reconstructed at the farm. May be I’m too late to say but the present living building is beautiful. And the location on the farm, where it’ll be reconstructed is great. It has a view of the valley behind it. It’d be great to work there. There’s also a small hill next to it. It’s a fun short trek up the hill and there’s a pool with a view. From up here, One can see the Savanduga hill during the day, beautiful sunset in the evening and the lights on Wonder La’s Giant Wheel and Nice road at the night. It is peaceful up there. The farm has been beautifully landscaped and has a green cover. There are just a few buildings, which also will be used for the Jaaga study program. There is a lake just 10 minutes walk away. They also have a friendly dog at the farm.

Sunset!

Sunset!

The Lake

The Lake

It’s perfect. It’s the kind of place anyone would want to be. It’d be great to study/work from there. There’s everything. They have internet, a nice team, farm, a dog and nice sunset. It is the most suited environment for a study program like this one.

Then there is the confusion in life. I know I’ll make the right decision. I like to stay clueless about what I’m doing in my life. It helps me concentrate on everything I do.

I also met a lot of great people today. New people, new ideas and a lot of new things to learn. The Day at Jaaga was a memorable one. And thank you Jaaga for the picnic, for the great food and for everything.

#jaaga is #awesome. 😊 I'm excited that someday I might live here 😊

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Love!

Here’s something I read about love in a book.

We have this idea that love is supposed to last forever. But love isn’t like that. It’s a free-flowing energy that comes and goes when it pleases. Sometimes it stays for life; other times it stays for a second, a day, a month, or a year. So don’t fear love when it comes simply because it makes you vulnerable. But don’t be surprised when it leaves, either. Just be glad you had the opportunity to experience it.