Business and Career

TIPS FROM A SERVER

It’s my day off. I’m drinking a glass of cheap gas station wine in my pajamas at 2 p.m. If this isn’t the ideal writing environment, I don’t know what is. Well, I suppose a beach, some sunshine and a bougie bottle of champagne might top this, but that’s beside the point. There’s a point, you ask? Well, yes. Sort of. Hopefully. I’ve been a lot of things professionally, but for the most part, the majority of my adulthood bills have been paid via my serving or bar tending jobs — hence the cheap gas station wine, ha! As I begin to enter the next phase of my professional journey, I’ve had time to reflect on the life lessons I have absorbed while serving others. When I was 14 I started working at a greasy, hole in the wall diner. By the time I was 17, I’d upgraded to a swanky five star establish...

3 WAYS TO KNOW IF YOU’RE WORKING HARD ENOUGH

You are a new entrepreneur and loving the flexibility, answering to yourself and being able to work at 2 a.m., which happens to be your peak productivity time. Really, you’d be hard pressed to find these perks in a corporate office. But corporate does have its own set of perks, including knowing the exact amount that will be deposited into your checking account on Friday and having a good sense of if you are working hard enough. When I first left my corporate job and started my own business there was a ton to do and even though I worked (work!) almost every day, I had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t working hard enough. After more than two decades of working in corporate and delivering on management’s objectives, working with tight deadlines and looming performance reviews, I had a good...

5 STEPS TO TAKE TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE

At this time of year, many parents start scratching their heads and turn to their keyboards to search for answers to their pressing financial questions.  Parents, reeling from the sticker shock caused by their son or daughter’s college acceptance and award letter are trying to figure out how to pay for college. Students are asking questions about credit, many for the first time.  Want to guess the financial question Google gets asked the most?  It is “how do student loans work?”  No wonder.  According to a recent Marketwatch article, Americans are trying to figure out how to deal with $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.  A study conducted by Liberty Bank for Savings found Google gets an average of 2.4 million searches per month from folks looking for the answer to this question. Unfortunat...

THE ONLY THING YOU CAN BE IS YOUR TRUTH

For me, writing was always like breathing. It was just something I always did, natural and necessary, ever since I can remember. By the time I was 21, I was pretty dead set. I was going to write a novel, I was going to take all the years of daydreaming and soap-opera-watching and turn it all into my own real living page-turning tale. I am 29 now and my first novel, “Heartsand” has been published for two years and it’s something I have to keep reminding myself of. I did that? Really? But rewind to the years in between. Back then, in my early twenties, it didn’t matter that I had no idea what I was doing, I just did it anyway. That summer, after graduating from my English Lit program at university, I wrote the first draft in between shifts at a hardware store, volunteering at a l...

5 TIPS TO TACKLE BIAS IN THE WORKPLACE

Start with hiring – change the makeup of the “in-group” to both (a) reach a “critical mass” to reduce discrimination and bias caused by perceiving underrepresented groups   as “other” and (b) improve the business (diversity leads to more creativity and stronger bottom line) Use structured interviews – unstructured interviews are useless for evaluation, and allow bias to creep in Blind resumes before reviewing them (try Applied, GapJumpers, and Unitive) – learn from orchestras who use blind auditions behind a screen to eliminate gender bias and drastically increase number of women. The number of women in orchestras only grew massively once auditions were conducted behind a curtain. In 1970, less than 5% of the five orchestras were made up of women. Now at present day, since using a curtain ...

UNIQUE CHALLENGES FOR WOMEN IN FAMILY-CONTROLLED BUSINESSES

According to the Conway Center for Family Business, nearly a quarter of family-owned businesses are led by a female CEO, and nearly 60% of all family businesses have women in top management. However, female leaders often confront workplace bias and potential communication hurdles rooted in the family’s shared history. Similarly, dissent among family members frequently exists. These are certainly issues confronted by male leaders as well, but often more difficult to navigate for women even while they are acknowledged for their skills and talents. Why is this so? Throughout my over thirty years of working with women leaders in family business, and as a female family business owner myself, I have observed that women often naturally take on a caretaker role within both their family and company...

HOW A POST-IT NOTE CHANGED MY LIFE

It was a Wednesday, mid-winter, gray afternoon and as per normal I was at my desk plugging away. As V.P. of Marketing at a major media company in NYC, it looked like I had achieved my career goals, but on the inside my soul felt as gray as the afternoon. I kind of felt guilty about it too, and this added to my heaviness. I took a deep breath in and sighed it out, and then of course my computer decided to crash. I called Joe, our computer tech, and headed out to grab lunch while he revived my computer. When I got back — Joe was gone, the computer was up and running (thanks Joe!) and there was a pink post-it note on my computer screen that said “You are the most organized person I’ve ever seen.” I was kind of surprised. Wasn’t everyone this organized? I didn’t think it was a big deal, ...

I QUIT MY JOB TO OPEN A CAFE IN THE HILLS

In reality, the series of incidents that followed quitting my job were not as rosy as the headline reads. I had an (almost) ideal life – a loving family, a happening social circle, a job that I loved (not to forget the pretty li’l fat cheque at the end of every month) and the ability to pack my bags and travel anytime I wanted. Even with all this and much more, I wanted to do something of my own. I battled for almost 2 years with the thought of quitting my job. I did not have an exact plan, but I knew I wanted to be in the hills. A digital marketeer by profession, I was bitten by the travel bug when I was 18 years old. My mother had gifted me an envelope that had to and fro rail tickets to Gujarat. I had studied in a boarding school in Gujarat and was more than happy thinking about t...

NO WORK IS LESS

I challenge you to take up a job as a cleaner or a watchman or, for that matter a hostess. You must be thinking I am crazy or probably having this one question in your head: “Why would I do that?” But my question to you is: “Why not?” I  took an initiative of a “one year challenge” to try out all odd jobs present in the society. It was not as easy as it seemed to be. It was a challenge not just to try all of the odd jobs out, but also to change perspective of the way we look at small jobs like a clerk, watchman, waitress, etc. I started a blog with the theme “NO WORK IS LESS” in which I have taken up a year’s challenge, wherein I will try out different “odd” jobs. The purpose is to prove that every job deserves respect and no job is small, be it of the CEO of ...

HOW I AM FIXING MY PROBLEMS WITH PROCRASTINATION

I hate those moments where I wake up feeling uninspired, not motivated to do much. This usually happens when there’s a lot on my plate and I haven’t figured out a plan to tackle my pending responsibilities. I hate to admit it, but I am a procrastinator. It’s not intentional. It’s not something that I’m proud of. Trying to conquer this perpetual bad habit is tough. I do it all; I set calendar reminders; I use digital checklists, and I also utilize a personal and work-related planner. Still, with these resources, I’m likely to roll out of bed later than expected, easily setting myself up for failing to get my daily tasks, especially in the workplace, done. Recently, I had the urge to get to the bottom of my issue with procrastination. First, I started writing down when and why I found myself...

THE GROWTH MINDSET

I’ve been a recording artist for over a decade, which means I’ve heard a lot of ‘no’s’ – And although I didn’t realize it at the time, every time I got knocked down, I gained confidence in myself by getting back up. Every setback fine-tuned my vision and made me more confident in my ability to keep following my passion. Hearing the word “no” taught me where I need to grow, what I stand for and where my abilities lie. Had I claimed the victories I wanted early on in my career, I’d have never developed the skills to sustain them. I would have crumbled under the stress or let myself be swept away by this fad or that. All of those hurdles, challenges, rock bottoms – are your currency for success. They are the resources you need to claim your win. The late nights, the early mornings...

APRIL SUPERWOMAN: ALEXIA WINFIELD, FOUNDER OF THE COLUMBUS BOOK PROJECT

I walked into the open space, artwork of all kinds hanging on the exposed brick around me. The concrete floor was empty aside from a folding table and the chair where Alexia sat, and two books stacked on the table. It was a welcome emptiness from the humidity outside. The books were black and white, and the spines aligned to read “COLUMBUS.” That’s exactly what’s inside of them: the city of Columbus broken down into its artists, restaurants, the fashion scene and more. Alexia Winfield is the founder of The Columbus Book Project, which was conceived out of a move from Florida to Columbus post-graduation. Alexia said she often gets asked why she traded Florida with its sunshine and beaches for Columbus, Ohio, I was wondering the same thing myself. “Coming to Columbus, I saw a grittiness that...

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