Inquisitive Interviews : Sangeeta Khiara – Freelance Photographer

Another Sunday, calls for another Inquisitive Interview. And you will love the interview this week, Sangeeta Khiara is really someone who should provide some sort of inspiration for all the women, being a freelancer in a predominantly Male dominated field which is just warming up to women, takes a lot of courage and hard work. I am sure most people with SLR’s these days think of themselves as some sort of professional photographers. But after reading this interview you guys will know it’s a lot more than just that.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[Q] Tell us something about yourself- where you live, work, your interests…?

I am a complete Dubai product, born and raised here. Originally from Mumbai, India but Dubai is first home to me. My Father used to be a photographer and spending so much time with him gave me the basic instincts to this field.
Since the past 2 years I have been functioning as a freelance photographer and this has been quite a long term dream to me. I think my interests have varied ever since I was young, I have always wanted to do everything quite possible. I do love music, dance, reading, adventure sports and most entertaining factors that come with life.

[Q] Is the job what you expected it to be ? And is the compensation good enough ?My job is like a new journey everyday, I meet different people some are difficult some are very easy going. When you work in a creative business one needs to come up with a lot of ideas and concepts that dont just come easily to you. Its not like a functional job where things have to go one particular way. 

As for compensation, No human is usually satisfied with their income. Compensations vary from clients/jobs as there is no fixed timing of work so no fixed incomes too. There are months when you are filled up with work and there are times when there is no work at all.

[Q] What is your average day like at work? If possible a recent project or work that excited you enough as part of your job?

Everyday is a new day at work. New work place, new people and concepts. I usually have my R&D done about my upcoming project a day or two earlier and discussed them with my client so I don’t have any issues post shoots. So on the D day its just pack the equipments required and reach the location. Do some basic discussions with the client about how we want the day to be planned, talk to the model (if a model related shoot) or have a good look at the products/area that has to be shot. Once all set I am just clicking away to glory. I enjoy keeping a light atmosphere at the shoot so that the everybody is relaxed and spontaneous.

[Q] Is this job what you had pictured to be? If yes, then how long did you take to get here?

I did picture this job very easy going when I was initially stepping into it but as time passed its been getting tougher. People think just because you are a photographer you just meet cool people and do some point and shoot and that’s it you get paid for making people look good. It takes a lot of hard work and knowledge to get into any profession, and photography also has its creative and technical aspects which make work so much more detailed than ever before.

I did take 2 years to get here, within where I was working at a branding company and would save the cost of a photographer and do it myself for the clients, then I trained, assisted, and now a few people know me by my name and work. Still a long way to get where I want to.

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job? Do you get bored at your workplace?

I love networking, I think people make you what you are and its very important to keep a network and communicate. We are lucky to reside in a multi-cultural region like Dubai where we get to meet people from all ends. My job has a new flavor to it everyday which makes it exciting. I dont think I could do an 8-5 job where I have to perform the same task everyday. Its never boring if you got new challenges everyday at various places with varied people.

[Q] What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Expectations are challenging. Clients believe that you would make them or their project look outstanding. Fashion has reached to such a height that regular people are portrayed flawless and when your client expects you to make them look like a different person it becomes a difficult job. I love capturing people but in their own skin and not make them look like they never do, but this is what most people don’t want. Its same in terms of products or events, but that is acceptable because those subjects have a selling point attached to them.

[Q] Do you report to someone? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job?

I am self employed and work as a freelancer. Thus I dont report to anyone.

[Q] Whats your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

School : The Indian High School, Dubai
Pre University :
Bachelors Degree: B.A. Media and Communication specializing in Advertising and PR
Masters Degree :

[Q] Do you use skills that you learnt in school /college? Did you take up any specific training or courses?

I did have basic training in photography,video as well as post production as my course involved me to have them. Post university I worked for a bit and joined many workshops and courses available in Dubai to get more professional training. Unfortunately in Dubai there is no academy offering a full- fledged degree in photography specifically. So, I had to take up varied courses at different institutes to complete my training. I have done courses in Digital photography, Studio photography, Portrait photography and fashion photography. I would love to keep learning but I am out of any more courses available in Dubai.

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry? Meaning what are the limitations/ drawbacks of the industry?

Well when you’re young you are very vulnerable and tend to get into many decisions without knowing the drawbacks about them. I wont advice someone to take up photography in general as its ones own choice but creativity has no end and the world needs more people with fresh minds. Take time to realize what is it that you could do everyday of your life and never get frustrated of. (No that dosent include playing PSP or surfing on you tube) Once you have sorted out your inner behavior, you would know when reality is far more better than just dreaming.

Limitations and Drawbacks come with everything that you do. Life was never a cake walk. Photography as a profession has its limitations where you have to work for your client and how they want it, dosent matter if you like the images. They like it they pay you. That’s the commercial side of it. People are going to question your talent, one just needs to be patient and constantly improve on oneself.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry? And what do they need to watch out for ?

First thing first walk in and out with your camera everywhere when you’re starting off. That will make people know where your passion lies. Make sure all your family and friends are aware of what you want to do as they come the most in handy while getting one of your first assignments. Use the web to show people your work, Facebook works more than a personal website these days. Those are just formalities. Keep updating your images and yourself this will make people realize that you want to work.

Watch out for agencies that want to hire new photographers and artists and then grab 60% of your earnings off on every job and yearly fee to be associated with them because they provide you with jobs.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers?

Being a photographer you get many questions raised at you asking what sort of profession is that and is it really going to make you earn anything at all. Because I am a female, these questions are raised at double impact to me. I have always told everyone to follow their best quality and use it in their profession. Parents need to let their children realize their quality, job satisfaction is more important than monetary satisfaction in the long run.

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession? In terms of General reading as well as Job Searches?

For some basic knowledge and amazing examples visit
http://www.thephotoargus.com/

For regular tips and updates you can visit
http://www.shariblog.com/

As I said networking is very important whether is personally or on the internet. Social networking websites like LinkedIn provide many job opportunities and UAE based Dubbizle also has a vast network.

Anywhere else the readers can get in touch with you ? LinkedIN ? Twitter ? Google + ? Personal Website ?
Facebook Page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sangeeta-Khiara-Photography/
Twitter@sanguB
LinkedINSangeeta Khiara

A big thanks to Sangeeta for a really inquisitive interview, a lot more of an insight into being a freelance photographer in Dubai. More importantly, a budding young photographer. Wishing her all the best in the coming weeks ahead and moving on, Be Inquisitive.

Lessons from Google – 10 things

Google is one of the most recognized names on the internet and the doorway to the internet for most of the world. There are things that we can learn from Google based on their business sense and this is the best time to learn it, considering that there is a looming web app boom which might burst in the not so near future. Until then economies will continue to rise over this boom creating ample opportunities for all to make a good buck and a good living. If the growth is not a bubble all the more better considering that we will have a good basis to learn from. In fact these 10 things come from the largest Online company Google themselves. Here is what they want to say are the best 10 things they do to be who they are :

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.

Or as it is commonly known in India, Customer is King. By tracking user browsing history, cookies and other personal data tracking (which is a privacy concern anyway) they have managed to keep the user at the centre of the operations, so that users will return for maximum value. The first and foremost step to take for me while working with some of my customers is also to track them. Be it through feedback forms, market research or other ways. You need to know what your customers want and give them that. You then have a winning business.

2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

Although we know Google does not just do one thing, they focus most of their energy on the one thing they do arguably better than anyone else. Catalog, Index and search the internet. We do know that their remaining products form the rest of the ecosystem around search. It is not a coincidence that most of their revenue comes through the ads on this channel.  All big companies who are successful follow a similar policy. Like reliance they are not just building one product but building a whole ecosystem around that product. Not only do they Make Vimal Fabrics, they make the factories that make the yarn and the fibre for the fabrics.

3. Fast is better than slow.

Case in point Google Instant. I mean it has transformed the search experience 4 fold by adding this feature into browsers, mobiles and now smart TV’s. Although the speed of Instant means that you do not get the right result you are looking for first time straight, but it learns what else you are typing and provides results accordingly. It just means that it is better to be proactive than reactive. We might get a few things wrong by bring proactive, but we can make up the rework because we were faster to make that mistake than everyone else. Gives you the additional time for rework.

4. Democracy on the web works. (or anywhere else for that matter)

Google has been a company that is driven a lot of the choice of its users. Unlike Facebook who is driven out of what they want to do and let users adapt. Democracy ! In business as well as on the web this is important. A boss who does not pay attention to the needs and voice of his employees and customers, will soon find out that he does not have much to boss over. This also means that anyone can become a competitor anytime, a former employee, a loyal customer anyone has the freedom to start something to compete with, but that is where point No 2 comes in. No matter how well they do one product, they will not have the ecosystem goodies that make that product the best.

5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

The world is changing and business is growing mobile. More and more people are now looking at mobile apps and the internet on the go. With devices like the iPad, iPhone, Androids and the Blackberry. Smartphones are getting more and more accessible. What this means to business is that we all need to catch up, have a mobile enabled website, have your teams work across the internet for more flexibility. Business can very well benefit from the mobile revolution that is currently happening around us. We just need to figure things out correctly.

6. You can make money without doing evil.

Although Google tracking users is considered evil by many, the fact that they are able to provide relevant ads that fuel innovation from Google as well as free applications for all of to use just means that the fact that they do not do evil is highlighted. Until now they are not selling our personal information to others, and they will not do that in the near future. Businesses can learn from this, by giving back something to society and the customers businesses will be able to retain them for longer and thrive. You don’t need to pay bribes, just make their experience better.

7. There’s always more information out there.

When Google says something like that it seems very inappropriate, cos we usually go to Google to get answers for all our questions. But this just means that they are willing to believe that they have not yet achieved everything. Businesses no matter how big should realize that there is more out there that they can do, be it doing social good or just working with their competitors, there is more that can be offered to your customers with no additional cost. Its a question of the effort and the mind set to be able to do so.

8. The need for information crosses all borders.

The main catch word in this sentence would be borders. The global village as the world is now being referred to is a huge resource that people fail to tap extensively. From sourcing, to new customer bases from outsourcing to re engineering, businesses should not be stopped by the need to have new resources that are available only half way across the globe. Technologies enable us to get across borders now and we need to go around these borders to be able to make the best use of what is available.

9. You can be serious without a suit.

This is true and the world is warming up to this, but there are still traditional companies who are driven out of the fact that looks matter. Pleasantries included. If you achieve perfection it will be evident that looks are deceptive, what lasts longer is the quality of work and the quality of our products and services. Being serious at work is a mental thing and not a physical thing. I don’t believe the age old statement “dress for your next job” applies any more. But again the east is still to catch up on it, unlike the west.

10. Great just isn’t good enough.

Perfection. I don’t really think, the above sentence can be summarised better. If all of us aim for perfection in all the small activities we do no matter how large or small, we are for sure going to be successful. We will use less time to achieve the same task (no rework), have more content customers and employees. All in all makes for a better work environment along with having the best product. A business no matter how large can look at itself every few months to make things better. Just because it is done in a certain way is not the best way to do it, that’s what we need to have as our operations motto.

Inquisitive Interviews : Priya Sethumadhavan – Physiotherapist (Freelance)

To all the folks following Inquisitive Interviews, apologies for the missed post last week. I just got back from my vacation and had a tough time getting the post additionally I have not really been scouting for new interviews. Anyway this week I present somewhat of an interesting profile of Priya, a good friend again but someone who is working as a freelance physiotherapist. Interested to learn more ? Read on.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

Hi I’m Priya,Indian in every aspect but born and brought in Dubai, I love yapping so thank you Melvin to giving me the opportunity to yap on his blog:) I hope through this interview i would be able to give a clear insight to what physiotherapy is all about.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I’m a Physiotherapist, freelancing handling children with special needs.

[ Q ] Is your job what you expected it to be ?

I was a person who always wanted to do everything in a different way.Having taken science in 11th and 12th, I had people branding me as the next doctor and engineer or even dentist, but i wanted to do something different.While I was studying my grandma had a hip fracture and my home town being a small one she had to travel 80 kms to the closest city to get her treatment done, but she would never miss it cause the relief she felt was very nice,so that inspired me why not study physiotherapy and then be of use to people, cause pain is to be gotten rid of and not sustained.Finished college and like all fresh graduates expecting a job to be on a platter,but soon realized your either not qualified enough to get into big hospitals and the rules in this part of the world is very strict when it comes to the medical field.A couple months of frustration down the line I got an opportunity to work for special needs school, I was heart-broken when i got through the interview,coz it definitely wasnt my field of choice. Initially I dint enjoy it, but then my attachment with special needs kids grew and I learnt to appreciate so many trivial things in life thanks to all these kids that today I would proudly say im doing my dream job

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

I doubt if there would be anyone who would be completely satisfied with their salary and not seek for more :) When I worked in the special needs center the salary was literally peanuts,but ever since I have started freelancing I think I make enough to suffice my needs for daily living.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

my average day starts with worshipping God followed by my stomach, then the start of my sessions.The schedules of my sessions are subject to change since I deal with kids.I usually drive about 200 kms in a day going from one point to the other,but since the destination is what I look forward to the drive is enjoyable and the day ends with an awesome time with my friends either having chai or playing badminton!

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

My kiddies, its amazing to hear their talks its amazing the see how a teeny weeny progress in them gives immense joy to the parents and sense of achievement to oneself. my job teaches me to find joy in the silliest of things and feel blessed everyday.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Handling the emotions, of the parents, the kids i see and myself when u get stuck with the progress and then don’t know what you should be doing next.Emotions need not be the sentimental stuff,even sometimes you need to control your anger when your handling paranoid parents.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

When the kids take a break from therapy, it could be due to illness, school exams,functions, a break of just 1 weeke is more than enough for them to regress back, so then it irritates.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

NEVER, I have lots of workplaces:) i go to the child’s house and offer therapy in the home surroundings, so in a day i kind of visit 5-6 houses :)

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

I report to the kids I treat, they are my boss. They have a huge impact on the job, coz if they decide not to cooperate there is nothing much I can do.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Physiotherapy treatments for children with special needs evolves everyday. We need to be as creative as possible to achieve our targets.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Grammar school Dubai, Our Own English high School,Dubai

Pre University               : Our own English high School,Dubai

Bachelor’s Degree        : Laxmi Memorial College of Physiotherapy,Mangalore

 

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

definitely, you may or may not make much money, but you definitely will feel nice about yourself when you turn out to be a vital part of society.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

Work hard, have a lot of patience, nothing is easy in this world. But your hard work and sincerity will definitely pay off and the satisfaction achieved is here to stay!

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Enjoy life, always take up a career only what you enjoy doing not what you have been forced upon! Once in your lifetime spend a day with a special needs and feel how blessed you are!

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Physiotherapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.physioguru.com/

You can get in touch with Priya at the link below :

On Facebook : Priya Sethumadhavan

I would like to thank Priya for some very good advice and some interesting insight into being a freelance Physiotherapist. For the time being this is Priya and Me signing off, and as always Be Inquisitive.

Wordless Thursday – Women in Business

Its long been professed that women make lesser money than men in work atmospheres, however recently women are taking on men and doing a good job at beating them at their game. I am sure its gonna be a while before that happens in the construction industry though. In the mean time, the Infographic of the week at this week’s wordless thursday is a cool comparison chart for the same.

However it would have been cooler if the Infographic looked more at other countries than just the US and Europe.

Inquisitive Interviews : Adithya Suvarna – Advertising

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

My name is Adhitya Suvarna.  I have been working for over 10 years in the mass communications field, namely TV, Online News, Corporate Documentary Film making and Advertising.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I live in Dubai and work in a mid-level advertising agency.

[ Q ] Is your job what you expected it to be ?

Yes and no. Yes in terms of the industry I wanted to be in (media) and no in terms of seniority and responsibility that I currently have. Yes in terms of a wonderful office environment with lots of freedom and comfortable working relationships built over the last 5 years. No in terms of almost reaching a point of stagnation and the dreaded blank wall.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

The honest answer is no. But that would be a blinkered vision. I did not get a good start in terms of salary since passing out of my masters programme. I never fought for ensuring i get paid for what I am worth. Now, I earn a decent income but it could have been really comfortable if in the initial years of my career, I had stood my ground and been a little more informed.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

Office begins with checking emails that my client would have sent the previous evening as I leave office earlier than they do. Then briefing the creative department for new jobs or designs that the client wanted. I also follow up with artworkers in the studio for jobs undergoing minor revisions and sending the same to the client.  Meanwhile, client’s call up to check on jobs status, discuss new jobs or request media plans or rates and other sundry items. I also sit with my junior to discuss jobs that I have handed over to him to do.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Thinking of new and innovative ways to communicate the same message in a new way to the audience. Also, no day is the same as the other as the adverts, the communications differ each day.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Trying to understand what the client  actually means in their vague emails or telephone conversations. Also to try and coordinate with suppliers to meet with the really tough deadlines for delivery of jobs for the clients.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

When after days and months of us doing a lot of work to create something, it is dismissed in one email by the client as not required.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Yes and it is normal for when you are bored, the really rush days look very interesting and exiting.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

I report to my Senior Account Director and the Managing Director. Both have direct and tremendous impact on my job since the amount of freedom and trust they place on me helps me do my job better and more professionally.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

I use some of the skills I picked up in my masters programme. The rest of the skills have been on the job. I did not pick up anything in my college or school that is has helped or is helping in my career in any point of time.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Bangalore, Panjim, Cuttack, Patna and Kolkatta

Pre University               : R S Krishnan, Trichy

Bachelor’s Degree        : Canara College

Master’s Degree           :  Manipal Institute of Communication

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Absolutely. There is no better reward than promoting a brand and making sure people know about it and in the right way. It is also a great field for learning a lot about every other industry without actually having to be in that field.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

My advice to the young crowd is to join when you are young and not wait for a masters degree. Get the hang of the advertising world and after a couple of years, you will be ready to know whether you want to stick around or continue and if the latter, then you will also know exactly which masters programme to do. This industry requires a lot of passion for what you do, whether creative or servicing clients. The rewards come only after a couple of years, so don’t expect to be greatly rewarded on joining. Also, when joining an ad world, try and join a very reputed one, preferably the top 20 agencies that have tied up in your home country. Make sure when you join, you are working for a known brand. That helps lay the foundation, so even after a few years you get an unknown brand, you will be in a position to take charge and give the best to make that brand know.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Always remember to try and chart where you want to be in 10 years time. It is difficult, but a vague idea really helps. In the first few years of your career, don’t stick to a job that does not make you happy doing it or if it is underpaying you. Once you have a few years as a work experience, then try and stick on in jobs for at least a couple of years before leaving as the older you get the more stable your CV should look. Employers won;t look at CV’s that look like you have been hopping more than a rabbit.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

www.adsoftheworld.com

www.ihaveanidea.org

www.adage.com

You can get in touch with Adithya at the link below :

On LinkedIn    : http://ae.linkedin.com/pub/adhitya-suvarna/7/87/9a4

On Twitter        : www.twitter.com/adkutz

As always I would like to thank Adithya for some very good advice and some interesting insight into the career of Advertising. So next time you have an innovative idea to implement you might want to run it through someone like Adithya just to make sure its not been over used. For the time being this is Adithya and Me signing off, and as always Be Inquisitive.

Inquisitive Interviews : Sinatra Menezes – Brand Manager

More Interviews from the creative side of work. This week we talk to the Brand Manager for one of the most famous brands, Ponds. Here is my interview with Sinatra about her work and career. Please let me know what you guys think of the interview, add to it, please drop in requests of Interviews if you want to see some specific ones.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

I’m Sinatra, a second generation Indian, born and brought up in Dubai. I completed high school from The Indian High School. Post 10th grade I was faced with a life altering decision, would I opt for Science or Commerce. Finally I choose Commerce with Mathematics, thinking that it would allow me a wider range of job options. One semester through the first year, I realized that Math just wasn’t for me, and was shoved into commerce with Marketing. And this Ladies and Gentlemen, was the best thing that ever happened for my career!! I absolutely loved it and knew that i finally found an area that i could relate to and my gut feeling told me that I’d be good at it.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

Ponds Brand Manager, Unilever Gulf

[ Q ] Is your job what you expected it to be ?

Everything and more!! I could live and breathe Brand Building for long time to come….the bit that keeps me going is that I’m part of this big project, big idea right from inception till it reaches the hands of consumers.I’m not the best with rountine work, I need something different and challenging happening at all times, to be able to keep my interest levels up.It’s been 8 months since I’ve joined the company, and i can surely say that no two days have been alike.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

I know that I’d get paid a lot more in another company. However the stuff that I learn here is invaluable. It’s like my Marketing Director mentioned to me, “if a single month goes by when you can’t add a new line to your resume, that means you are not learning anything new, it’s time to move!”. Unilever is my dream company, and I am very happy to be working here. Every time i walk into the office I can’t help but smile, cuz not too long ago i used to drive by the building wondering if i’d ever get the chance.

 

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

At any given time I would be working on 5-6 different projects, in addition to ensuring that everyone else does their bit when it comes to the brand Pond’s. Reason being that as Brand Manager, I am responsible for delivering sales numbers, profitability and share growth versus competition. And hence every department needs to be aligned.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

The amount of resources that I have on hand! When working on a project, be it the launch of a new product, planning a customer event, or even a press event, I have access to people with specialized skills in various fields. Hence I don’t have to do it myself, I just need to get the work done.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

The amount of resources that I have on hand! Like my boss says, think of the company as a ship, you turn the wheel and only 10 minutes later will you see the impact. Similarly when you work with a big company with many people, it takes a long time to ensure that all elements of your plan are aligned.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Updating various softwares that are in place, and any job that involves manual data entry……..(hate, hate, hate).

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

as of now the only thing that gets be bored is useless meetings. Especially when there is no clear agenda, or no outcome, or even worse, neither of the two!

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

I report to the Marketing Manager of Face category. The direct boss has a lot of impact on me. Right from the time you join the company, this person takes you through your first induction course, to your first project and then yes, the all important Performance appraisal at year end. As they say people change jobs, not because of the company, but due to the boss.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Everything you learn in school comes to use. Even the subjects that you hate. Personally, I hated statistics (high school, college and even during university), but guess what I NEED it at work. I would say that most of the skills that I picked up during my Masters and my work experience have helped shape me as a marketer.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : The Indian High School, Dubai

Pre University               : The Indian High School, Dubai

Bachelor’s Degree        : Pondicherry University

Master’s Degree           :  University of Southern Queensland, Australia

 

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Yes, for sure. If you have a natural tendency to observe and analyze people, the constant need to know what makes people ‘tick’, then this industry is for you. That put together with making products to meet the needs of these people / consumers, gives you perfect training on starting your own business sometime down the lane.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

Start young! It helps to know what you are good at and what your natural strengths are. Nothing like getting a head start in this really rigorous race.

You can get in touch with Sinatra at the link below :

On Facebook    : www.facebook.com/sinatracarneiro

Sinatra has been more than helpful with this initiative referring some friends as well. We will have mor interviews from the creative side in the coming few weeks. Your views as always are greatly appreciated. A big thanks to Sinatra for her insights and her time for the interview.

Inquisitive Interviews : Jobby Mathews Rajan – Market Research Manager

First of all thanks a lot for the overwhelming response to the feature Inquisitive Interviews. I am attempting to bring as many different professions into the interviews to give a better idea of what the jobs are like and if you would be able to work in that field, an interesting person to talk to. This week is the Interview of a person who is well known in Dubai, however his profession isn’t, today we talk to a Market Research Manager.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

Yello Peeps, My name is Jobby Mathews Rajan, been converting sweat into money for 7+ years. Typically a Dubai boy and not at all confused about my Indian roots-actually I am so proud of it!! When I saw the first interview for the initiative been taken by Melvin to be able to guide the younger generation to a path less thorny, I was quite impressed. But not in a hundred years did I think I would in anyway be able to help, or to put it in a better way, never thought that I would be interviewed by this inquisitive lad. Anyways, here is a disclaimer: Anything mentioned here if by chance offends anybody, it was done with pure intentions in mind or intentionally. :P.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I work as the Market Research Manager for Gulf Warranties.

[ Q ] Is your job what you expected it to be ?

To be frank, I was just about confused like any other “normal” kid on what to do with my life after school. While there were the “ultra normal’ ones who used to start coaching themselves for the various entrance exams from 8th grade, unbelievable huh!!. However, since i had these complete set of ‘ultra normal’ friends and they knew what they wanted, I followed suit and decided to try my hand in Engineering. Days to months to years and I just saw myself such a misfit to the hard core techy side of things. I knew i had the caliber to speak and think out of the box, but not necessarily design a nuclear plant! To cut a long story short, I stumbled onto research and never looked back, and till this day hold no regret for change!

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

Initially it is not the salary that drives you to a certain profession; it is the challenge that is right around the corner of the profession that pumps the adrenaline in you. But seriously, how many of us follow that, unfortunately not many. If you get into a job that is satisfying mentally you eventually end up acing at it, which follows up with the right remuneration. On the other hand you take a job just looking at the remuneration, I can guarantee it would not take much time for you to lose interest and finally suffer at work. And the answer to the question is ‘Yes’!

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

Average day at work, would include drinking tons of tea, responding to emails based on priority and definitely catching up with my colleagues on “what’s up” in their lives. Did I hear a smirk, seriously if you do not know your colleagues there is no way you could work under the same roof. You could be the head of the company but having a personal interface with each of the staff is a quality acquired by the greatest of leaders. However a cautionary warning, out of the supposedly 8 hour work regulation an hour to catch up is good enough. Anything more than that, you should try just sitting at home.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

I handle the non-warranty side of the business for the company, which includes markets research, mystery shopping, brand awareness, customer satisfaction surveys etc. Majority of the work other than client servicing is recruiting serious mystery shoppers that too around 29 cities across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. My team and I are quite trained now to gauge which shoppers would meet our client requirement from the onset of our conversation. So in effect, you need to be as talkative as possible; if you need to fit into this role…Yea people do usually say I got a BIG mouth-in the positive sense.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Since we work across countries and various nationalities during the course of the work, it is difficult to keep a track on what exactly is going around in their particular city. For example, if my client has an urgent requirement on 1st of May, since UAE does not follow it, we end up working on the day, but other markets especially in Africa and Asia, they remain closed. Thus, not being able to deliver based on our client needs. And of course there are other common challenges like trying to ensure the budget never gets overshot, overwork with limited resources, come in on time yet leave late!!

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

I still remember my folks working a straight 8 hour shift and then they have enough time to be back with family. However, nowadays the competition is so stiff, that if an employee does not put in at least 15+ hours a day (keep in mind no-overtime!) they might just not impress the management. And our social networking sites definitely help us in ensuring we work 15+ hours everyday, Right? I hate it, when certain people thing, a person who puts more than 8 hours of work is far more productive. I would say unless you are under resourced (which the management can see clearly), 8 hours is way enough if you plan your work schedule. Distractions like FB, Twitter, personal mails etc. are definitely deterrents that stops you from working within those 8 hours. FYI, I do work more than 8 hours, but I would blame it on being under resourced.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Humm, very rarely, that is when work is less. However, I am in love with Google, and would not know what to do, if it was not invented. A research person’s bible is the Google. For anything and everything we head to Google, to keep us updated on any new methodology, analysis, sourcing of facts and figures. As long as Google is around, there is no chance in the world anybody would be bored.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

I report to the GM of the company. The GM is there to ensure I do not cross the budget allocated and stick to my budget commitments for the year.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

I would say 40% of the skills sets are picked up in Schools and Colleges which is related to Academia.  While 30% would be skill sets picked with your interaction with people around you and finally the rest 30% within your work atmosphere. No one is born with skills, you hone it as you grow.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : The Indian High School, Dubai

Pre University               : The Indian High School, Dubai

Bachelor’s Degree        : Bachelor of Engg. (Electronics & Comm) Banagalore University, Bangalore, Karnataka

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Definitely, it is an industry, that makes all other industry stop and listen to you. It requires an analytical head and enough creative juices to think out of the box. MR(Market Research) is the base for anything that exist in this world. Without proper research, no new product would be launched, no one would understand the feasibility of any service, basically only people who are ignorant would not undertake MR before commencing with any decision that requires investment.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

A basic commerce or business degree would suffice to start with. Market research can only be learnt and understood in detail once you work with a reputable MR agency. Reading from books and online sites holds good when you can implement what you did academically on to the real world.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Google is your bible and Wikipedia your cheat sheet, use it extensively. It might be simple, but if you can master the art of searching on Google, you have completed 50% of your skills sets. The only time I have taken a pen in my hand is for signatures, therefore being computer literate especially MS-office literate is quite important, if you ace in it, you have crossed another 25%. A good active lifestyle and eagerness to learn and know more would have just topped you into a 100% MR person.  All the best and do contact me for any consultation.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_research

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_shopping

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_research

(this details the different kind of methodologies in MR)

You can get in touch with Jobby at the link below :

On Linked In    : http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=44939812&trk=tab_pro

A big thanks to Jobby for this interview. I have to let you in on a secret, ever since this section has started, Jobby’s interview has been requested by a few readers. So well this is for all you guys, you know who you are.

Guest Post – The Risk of delaying Financial Decisions

Is lack of time making you go crazy in your attempt to plan your finance? Does your busy professional schedule offer you time to monitor your personal finance?

Balaji is working for an MNC. Today he has got a deadline for a particular assignment. His day is fully packed. First thing in the morning, he receives a mail from his HR Dept stating that today is the last date for producing proofs for tax saving investments; otherwise a huge amount will be deducted from his salary as tax. He wanted to do some tax saving investments urgently and submit the proof on or before end of the day.

Mahesh is an NRI, working for a software company in US. He has got a couple of crores in his overseas fixed deposits giving a return of 1.50% p.a. Returns are taxable. At times, he thinks that the return what he getting is very low.  He wanted to check up with a professional financial planner in India. He thinks he will contact as soon as his present project gets completed. Like this he has not contacted any financial consultant for the last 3years because of some reason or the other.

Most of the investment decisions are either taken because of some compulsion or urgency or postponed because of compulsion or urgency in some other area of life. This is because we want to complete the urgent thing first not the most important thing. Many important things that contribute to our overall financial objectives and give richness don’t tend to give any pressure on us. Though they may not be urgent, they are the things that we must give importance and carry out immediately.

We act upon things like pressing problems, deadline-driven projects, and official meetings. We don’t give importance to

  • prepare for a meeting with a financial planner;  appraising a financial planner before making investments
  • planning activities like budgeting, children’s future planning, retirement planning;
  • protective activities like taking a term insurance, house holder policy, health insurance;
  • empowering ourselves by upgrading our knowledge with reference to investments

Why we are not able spend time on important things and spend most of our time on urgent things?  Because, we are following a way that focuses on how fast or efficiently we are getting things done. We are not following a way that focuses on why we are doing things.

Take the case of Mr.Balaji. Why didn’t he do his tax planning during the beginning of the financial year itself? Why is he chasing at the last minute? Balaji is much worried about his deadline for assignment than tax planning. As he is making investment urgently, it is difficult for him to choose the right financial advisor and also difficult to judge which one would be the best tax saving option for him. He will be investing with an advisor who can get the investment proof on the same day.

Is this the basis on which we select an investment advisor? Will the relationship of Mahesh and this advisor be a long term one? Will this investment is going to be of any help to Balaji in meeting the higher education expenses of his son after 15 years? Coming to the case of Mr. Mahesh, he had couple of crores at 1.5% pre-tax return. He could have tripled his returns by investing in an Indian liquid fund which is very safe.  There are far better investment options available for him to choose. But he has settled for 1.5%.

If he could have spent a day or two in carefully choosing the right financial advisor and investment product he could have earned more. The earning opportunity which he missed with his investments might equal to his 6 months or 1 year salary. He could have generated that passive income equivalent to 6 month or 1 year salary without any pressure from the top management; without meeting any deadlines by just spending a day or two. We are all working hard for money. Is our hard earned money is working for us or lying in our SB a/c or really growing?

We find a ladder and see there are so many people trying to reach the top of the ladder faster.  Then we also follow the group, deadlines to be met in each and every step; focusing more on reaching the top and finally reached the top. Only after reaching the top, we realize that we have come to a very wrong place or a place which is not worth missing so many things and opportunities in life. This is how the today’s world is. Nothing wrong in working harder or focusing more on completing the assignment or spending more time on finishing the project  on deadline. These are all good thing to do. But always remember, there are better and best things to do. We keep too many good things ahead of a few best things.

Setting up financial goals; working out a plan for achieving those goals; and implementing those plans are all best things to do in life. You know in advance where you want to reach exactly, by doing this exercise. As we progress, we enjoy the journey. As we reach the place, we really feel happy and we have not missed any important thing on the way. Procrastination and not giving priority to financial goals and investment plans are costliest mistake one can take. So let us stop procrastinating and give priority to our financial goal setting and investment planning. Then life will be really so beautiful.


The author is Ramalingam K, an MBA (Finance) and Certified Financial Planner. He is the Founder and Director of Holistic Investment Planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in.

 

Inquisitive Interviews : Megha Abraham – Writer

Another Edition of the Inquisitive Interviews is due today and this time we have a really creative person in the field of Advertising, PR and creative writing. The response on the previous 3 Interviews has been overwhelming and I thank all the readers who are making this an interesting segment to read through.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

My name is Megha Abraham and I have been working for over 10 years in corporate communications, advertising, PR and now writing.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

Currently I live and work in Dubai and am a senior writer with a magazine.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

Writing jobs don’t really tend to pay much, unless you get to the senior management level. Alternatively, if you’ve specialised in reporting or writing from University, and you score a job with a reputed publishing company / title, then there is a difference. But when starting out, it’s always good to keep a realistic expectation of what to expect when it comes to money versus experience. For me, the salary is a nosedive from what I was earning before, but my priorities and present lifestyle allows me to accomodate a lower paying job. So, I wasn’t surprised. Is it what I expected? Hell no! But I roll with it.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

It starts out with an hour’s drive to work, since the office is pretty far from where I live. Once in, I check my line-up for the month and start work on either the stories I have assigned or chalked out for myself. In addition we get a lot of PR material, which we use for our compilation pages. Getting that sorted during the first half of the delivery timeline is what I focus on most. Once done, I then focus all my energy on the features or articles. In between the week, some events or conferences might need attending, so we plan those in and attend them.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Definitely the varied subjects, information and types of people one meets. Otherwise writing can be quite mundane, unless you really love it so much, that you’re willing to schlep a bit and do meaningless work until the right gig comes up.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Sometimes the compromises you have make. Especially when you’re working in an organisation, where sales and ad revenue mean keeping a magazine alive. If you’re working for certain titles who really don’t care, that’s a whole different ballgame. It’s important to know what you want, where you are when it comes to life and circumstances and what you want your career to do for or for itself. Some days time management and on others lack of response. Especially in this part of the world, response rates can be quite infuriating.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Routine. I’m not a routine person. Although sometimes one does crave it when you’re not up to it on somedays and just need the comfort of the familiar. I also don’t like beting jolted out my cruise control and like to plan ahead. Sometimes, being a writer for a publication can spring a few surprises on you because at the end of the day you’re working with people, and we aren’t a homogenous group when it comes to habits, work ethic or time management. So that part of it annoys me sometimes. Another thing I don’t like is meaningless work, which sometimes you have to do, it’s part of the process. But you asked what I don’t like, so yeah, I don’t like it, but I get it out the way, when I have to.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Sometimes, it’s natural. I work in an office which isn’t very big, it doesn’t have a huge team and we sit in office that is almost cut off from the rest of the city for an average of 8 hours. So, the office is all you get. If you need to go out somewhere that’s half an hour at least and unless you have an event to go to, or an interview to get done, you don’t step out, because if you do, you won’t be coming back, so again, time management is key here.

Sometimes research on silly/mundane/inconsequential topics (yes, you will get your fair share when writing for a mass reading target group) is extremely boring, and I do go cross-eyed when faced with the inevitable task of looking up colour swatches for a decor story or finding the latest updates from the celebrity world. Boring.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes, I report to the Editor of the magazine in terms of hierchy. The impact is pretty straightforward, she/he runs the magazine and we ensure that there is relevant and enough content to go in. The editor oversees the entire outlook and the way the magazine is run and sometimes does oversee the content direction. So the impact is pretty meaingful.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Yes, I do, I specialised in communications, which also involved a course in writing. However, some of the most successful writers come from varied backgrounds as well, which means you need to really like writing or have some sort of specialisation that you can write about. I picked up my skills with practice and pure interest in as well. I’ve always loved books, writing and anything to do with the written word so that helps.

It depends on what kind of writer you want to be really, there are several types: technical, features, copy, novelist, blogger, freelance, project, and many more. So your background no matter what it is can be turned into a writing gig, if you have the interest and the wherewithal to get into it part or full time.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Bangalore, India

Pre University               : Bangalore, India

Bachelor’s Degree        : Bangalore, India

Master’s Degree           :  Manipal, India

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Sure, if they love it, and know it in their gut then, yes. I would also advise this, that if you’re getting into it for the money, then don’t bother. The money comes much later. Much, much later. You definitely need to like it, like a little bit (or a lot of, depending on where you start your writing career) of imbalance when it comes to timing, money, schedules and fulfillment. It comes and goes like waves, once you master that rhythm you’ll be fine.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

If you’re already working or interning somewhere, try and freelance or send in work to magazines, newspapers, websites who commission work. See what the response is like from the editors or writers and keep practicing as much as you can. The more you write, the better you get at it. Also read up a lot, it helps with vocabulary, knowledge, other points of view and writing styles. Keep yourself updated as much as possible, it helps.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

If you’re young, try everything you can before you choose a career or a way of making a living. A lot of people will have opinions on what is good and what isn’t. I personally think it’s important to make your mind up for yourself.

If you’re mid-career and still not sure what you want to do and writing comes up as an option, try it while you’re still working and see if you like it. Weekends, free time, or a break from work can help you get started, and if you do and it’s what you’ve been looking for, then sure, quit and take it up. If it isn’t writing, then what ever else seems to be playing in your mind, try it first and see what it makes you feel like – happy, curious, maybe skeptical; it doesn’t matter – the thing is to try. Forget what the folks / peers / industry / general viewpoints said. It’s hard, yes. But if you do try, it works wonders.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

I don’t have any online resources that I could recommend. However, I used to actively contribute to www.wordquotient.com who are always on the lookout for writers for varied feilds (if you’re a subject expert, freelance enthusiast, or want to find out where to start).

Otherwise, the really effective way is to do your own research, that’s when you find what you’re looking for.

You can get in touch with Megha at the link below :

On Linked In    : http://ae.linkedin.com/in/meghaabraham

A big thanks to Megha for this insight into what a writer at a magazine would actually be working on. I am sure we will read more of what she writes in the future. Hope this interview is as useful to all the students reading this.

Inquisitive Interview : Sagar Sen – Scientist / Faculty

Its again that time of the week when I feature an Inquisitive Interview on the blog, and this week its someone that I have knows for close to 10 years now. A college friend who is now a faculty / scientist in France. Yes I know it is still an engineering field like the one for the Marketing Engineer, but as you will see in the series there are many things that an engineer ends up working on, varied and vast in its approach. If you want to keep track of the interviews only please look at his page: http://blog.melvinpereira.com/inquisitive-interviews/

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

I am Sagar Sen, 28 years old. I am Computer Scientist at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis, France which is close to the beautiful city of Nice in Cote d’Azur. My  career goal is to find a perfect balance between  top-level research in computer science (more info here http://web.me.com/sagarsen) and high-performance sports notably rowing. Finding my mental and physical limits and stretching them everyday is what drives me.

Don’t be frightened! I also enjoy a lot of other activities. I have an inclination to be spiritual with a regular practice of Yoga. I love making friends and turning them into good , and eventually great friends pretty quickly. I have tried my hand at every sport I could including the traditional soccer/cricket ,ping-pong, fin swimming, rock climbing, roller blades, etc. etc. but I stay Fidel to rowing. I not very patient with art in this fast-paced world but I have extrapolated my prior interest in painting to learning to play the piano. This helps me appreciate ambiguity and uncertainty.  I adore family values and have great respect for my parents, family, and my teachers in life.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I am Computer Scientist working at Sophia-Antipolos, France

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

Yes. The salary is just right to strike a sweet balance between work and life.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

I wake up anywhere between 6 am and 7 am. Depending on my training schedule I either go to the rowing club to row for about 12-15 kms, or cycle down to work from Nice to Sophia-Antipolis (22 km), or do a 1 hour session of Ashtanga Yoga. I am at work at around 10 am at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis. I spend a lot of time discussing with students and engineers on our collaborative projects. We make collective decisions about what to do such as for software projects or performing experiments. I spend a lot of time writing research articles and send them for publication in conferences, journals or magazines. I come back home by 7 pm. I spend some time playing the piano, chatting with roomates or go through a second session of training: rowing, circuit training, running/roller-blading,  or power yoga. At night, on some occasions I go out to meet friends for a drink or a stroll by the sea thinking and clarifying my thoughts. I often have a deep sleep.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

The most interesting part in my job is the interaction with my colleagues and synthesis of ideas from start to finish. A byproduct of this process is witnessing the maturation of a young student into a full-fledged researcher ready to better understand the world and bring order out of chaos.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

The most challenging part of the job is to keep students motivated, focused, and constantly keep a positive atmosphere in the work environment.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

There are only a few things. Improving communication on some occasions can always be a good thing.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Sometimes. However, in research your workplace is everywhere, the kitchen, outside, or on the sea. Most work is mental which is realized quickly when clarity is achieved and decisions are made.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes. At times I report to a senior member in the research team about the ongoing work. However, my workplace is more or less flat. If you are motivated then you can collaboratively make your idea happen without much intervention due to hierarchy.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Yes. I am glad I learnt a multitude of skills in school. At first I was apprehensive about the different text books I used to read and experiments we conducted in school/college. But today those pieces of information come back to me in new light that helps me integrate ideas to solve real problems.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Kendriya Vidyalaya Indian Institute of Science

Pre University               : Kendriya Vidyalaya Indian Institute of Science

Bachelor’s Degree        : Bangalore University

Master’s Degree           :  McGill University, Canada

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Yes. Of course. I am living a great life and creating value. Why not you? Feel free to contact me.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

I would suggest reading, thinking, and identifying exactly what direction you want to head to in the next 3-4 years. You should be happy with your decision as research involves dedication to a problem or related problems for a few years.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Give equal importance to all aspects of personal development. Try to create equal opportunity for others when you are in the right position in future.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

 

You can get in touch with Sagar at the links below :

On Facebook    : http://www.facebook.com/#!/sagarsen
On Linked In    : http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=114232733

Thanks Sagar, for all your help and support, I am sure the readers like me would learn something new with this interview. Am sure the most intelligent among us readers would be keen to contact you for some guidance.

Inquisitive Interviews : Ruth Pereira – Cabin Crew

Back again this week with Inquisitive Interviews, after the really good response this week for the feature as well as the comments received for Jason for the Interview, this week I would like to feature another Pereira, Ruth. Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier. Without further delay I present to you Ruth, and here she is in her own words.

Good Morning Ladies and Gentleman, My name is Ruth Aurelia Pereira, and I have the pleasure of welcoming you onboard Melvin’s Inquisitive Mind! 😀

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

Born in Mangalore , INDIA. Raised and studied partly in Muscat, Oman but mostly in Mangalore, completed my Graduation in Travel n Tourism certified by the Delhi board and Diploma in IATA certified from Montreal, Canada and moved back to the Middle East, this time to Dubai. Been here 5 years and going strong.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I am working for Emirates Airline as a cabin crew based in Dubai.

[ Q ] Is the job what you had pictured it to be ?

Yes & No. Yes to a point that I knew what my job profile would hold and the perks that came along with it. No, because like many others I misconceived it to be a job that mainly involved hospitality.

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

It was. But i was surprised to know that there are many other industries that pay much better, for example, media industry.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

Every day is different, be it at work or on a day off and that’s what keeps me going. I have tried a 9 -5 job on field and at desk. I couldn’t live the monotonous life, even though I knew the one thing I would have to give up was a good night’s sleep.

On a day off, I would try and spend most of my time catching up on my sleep lost over a long night’s flight, especially one of those deadly departures that leave at 3.00 am in the morning! If not sleep, then run errands for groceries (well I rarely cook so that’s out), drive around, meet my friends during the day – subject to their day off, go shopping(home n decor) something I can do for hours, watch a movie (never alone) or just laze at home and order in.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Layovers! To those who do not know the airline lingo, layovers are those flights that we stay 24 hours or over / under at a destination.

Yes, not every destination we stay at is exotic, but I have seen places I would otherwise never go on a holiday to. I would rather spend my money going to more exotic and popular places than go to remote destinations like Dhaka, Entebbe, Accra, Dakar etc… so it’s good that I got to see these places and the life out there with this job and I didn’t even have to pay for it!

Apart from the perks that we get offered as a part of our contract, I enjoy the benefits I discovered later with this job. Special rates for stay at hotels worldwide, our Airline has a club called the FACE club and the activities that are organised and discounts we get at restaurants, spa & salons and shopping are pretty awesome.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

I have a few to list. Firstly, as I reiterate the 3.00 am turnaround flights! Explaining the term ‘turnarounds’ are those flights where we do not stay at a particular destination, instead do a quick turn back bringing the next set of passengers, giving an hour or sometimes more on ground for caterers, cleaners and refuelling. It is challenging because if we look at how our sleep pattern works the level of sleep one reaches at 3 am apprx is at its peak, while I have to push myself and stay alert for the critical phases (take off and landing) of the flight at that hour!

Secondly would be a fire situation while on cruise. I know this should top my list of challenges, but how any fires have I fought against the early morning departures I have done? Coming back to fire threatened situations we are taught how to fight a fire, be it a lavatory, galley, ovens, toxic liquid spillages and many more. So, on a tough flight I still “have to have” a presence of mind to act accordingly and not use an oxygen bottle instead of a halon to extinguish the fire! Or use water on classified dangerous fumes!

Thirdly to clear one of the major misconceptions, flight attendant’s main responsibility is the safety of everyone on that flight. Serving food and drinks to the passengers is just an added bonus for the passengers. If safety was not a big issue or concern, there wouldn’t be many of us on flights. So during our intensive training for this job what we learn most is the safety of the aircraft and passengers, rendering First Aid and then comes service. So on a flight what challenges me is having a First Aid situation, be it hypo/hyperglycaemia, Angina, cardiac arrest, Birth on board ( yes we even know that), CPR, trauma, the list is endless. We have to know each of its signs and symptoms and treat the casualty accordingly.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Working in the First class cabin I love my job! This is why I have delayed my upgrade for a senior post. Which is wrong, I agree. This job is pretty challenging as it is, and being a senior means handling the crew, passengers, service and being responsible for something that wouldn’t even be my mistake perhaps. Yes, what I would love to hate is the standby month we have once in 7 months (which is coming up next month)! I detest them! Everyone does! The wait for that one phone call to know where I am off to could be quite an ordeal. Or wait for hours in the standby lounge to get pulled out when some crew rostered for that flight calls in sick or other reasons. They are not bad, sometimes one can be pleasantly surprised to get pulled out to their favourite destination or perhaps even their hometown! It’s just that I love being mentally prepared for a flight and not get last minute surprises.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Never! My office is my aircraft and every flight is a different aircraft, sometimes I fly on the airbus and other times the Boeing Which I love flying on. Like they say, I aint going if it aint Boeing!

Every crew is rostered for a flight and its always new faces I see when I sign in for the flight. In general, we very rarely fly with the same crew any given time. It’s all about meeting new people, making friends, sometimes we get along exceptionally well, and sometimes the mindset is a far cry from. Once we reach a destination there is always something different to do.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes, we follow a chain of command when onboard a flight. The Captain heads the team, followed by the First officer, the Purser whom I directly report to and the two Senior Flight steward/stewardess each one in charge of business class and economy class respectively.

When we are on ground we have our cabin crew managers who, when needed we report to. Mostly for me I liaise with my manager only through emails.

Otherwise the good thing of this job is, once you have finished your flight and signed out you go home! If you don’t like the senior or another crewmember you worked with, chances are you might never see them again. If you do, there is always another flight you can swap it for! No back logs or no reporting to after flights to anyone. I love that!

[ Q ] What would you say are the growth aspects in this Industry are like ?

Initial growth is slow. But once you gain like 10 years of experience, you are king! You can command whatever you want with respect! But of course, it is hard to generalize. It differs from industry to industry.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

I have picked up my skills along the way. In the Customer service industry, all you need are good social skills and an ability to maintain a calm state of mind, no matter who you’re dealing with.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Indian High School, Muscat

Pre University               : St. Agnes College, Mangalore

Bachelor’s Degree        : St. Aloysius College, Mangalore

Master’s Degree           :  –

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

I wouldn’t push anyone to pursue this as a career, but if you want to explore the world in $0.00 this is the best way to do it! If you like what you’re doing stick on as long as you like or you must take another career path before it gets too late to change careers. And another advantage of being in this job is you can simultaneously do your higher studies.  For one, Emirates has its own aviation college and we get good benefits being a part of the group.

Of course so with any other job, but the time you would have here and the freedom to travel is pretty awesome!

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

You don’t have to be a genius to get here. Just be wise! And never let that smile on your face diminish even on a difficult day or because of a harrowing customer. That is the first impression you create, and trust me the smile is the weapon I arm myself with when I have to face a sticky wicket. Do good researches before you get into the airline of your preference. So far hands down Emirates Airline is the best 😀

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Flying is not all about service; remember it’s just an add-on frill. Safety & security is our priority. To those who preconceive cabin crew to be all about chicken or beef, or double ending trolleys, because that is the only thing you see once you are on board, you will be pleasantly shocked and at ease to know that you are in safe hands with the amount of knowledge we have on each of the aircraft type we own, its survival & rescue, restraining a disruptive passenger, being First responders to a medical situation so on and so forth! You can breathe a sigh of relief now 😀

Secondly, do keep logging into Melvin’s blog and even bookmark it! You would be amazed how much knowledge you will gain out of here!

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

If you do find online computer based courses on customer skills you should do them. Apart from that you do not need to join any of the many Institutes that offer cabin crew training. But if you feel that it can help you in any way, by all means do it. I applied directly on the company’s website and on joining I went through an intense training for 5 weeks. And time to time we are given online courses to complete pertaining to our job.

You can get in touch with Ruth here :

On Facebook    : http://www.facebook.com/AureliaRuth
On Linked In    : http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=114232733

Thanks Ruth, for all your help and support, I am sure the readers like me would learn something new with this interview. And yes I was surprised to know that the Cabin crew on flights are not just there to look pretty, although it does help. :)