Last year, I almost moved to the Netherlands. Having an Erasmus Mundus degree makes me eligible to apply for an Orientation Year visa, which gives me a year to look for work there. Many of my classmates from different parts of the world have opted for the visa and now live in the Netherlands. I was almost about to follow suit, but fate had other plans – so the Netherlands was not meant to Bee (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
Learning to call myself a Writer: Telling Stories at BeeJuly 5, 2022 in Content, Inbound, Stories
You remember slam books, right? Those slim, rectangular journals your friends would ask you to fill up, typically on the last day of class before school closed for session break? They would have forms with questions about your sun sign, hobbies, chosen travel destination, favourite food, best friend, dream job and things like that. I remember filling a bunch of them in my teen years, taking time to write honest and innovative answers each time someone handed me their slam book (yes, I took it very seriously, no regrets). A lot of my answers changed over the years (favourite food changed from Fried Hilsa to Chicken Biriyani to Crispy Lotus Stem; best friend changed from.. no maybe I shouldn’t go there). But one answer remained the same. Under dream job, I always put ‘Writer’.
I take the word “friend” very seriously. To me, a friend is someone I can be wholly myself with, ugly parts included. They have to get me, and I have to get them. With a friend, I won’t have to think of what to say next – it’ll come automatically. I count myself lucky for having multiple people in my life who fit this criterion. In school, college and university, I made a bunch of friends who continue to be immovable parts of my life today.
If somebody asked me what I dislike most about myself, I’d have the answer ready at the tip of my tongue. My inability to concentrate, I’d say, fuelled by my addiction to my phone. Countless therapists have tried to help me with this over the years (“make a routine”, “take breaks”, “try the pomodoro technique” etc. etc. – they might as well have been shouting into the void), to no avail. I continue to struggle with a short attention span, and find myself craving distraction in the form of Friends clips on YouTube or food reels on Instagram (sigh).
I’ll just put it out there – brand strategy and content marketing are not my thing. I have a BA and an MA in English Literature, and then I did another Master’s in Media Arts from a bunch of European universities in an Erasmus Mundus programme. I’d hoped the second one would give me some ‘practical’ skills that would help me land a job, but I mostly ended up learning about more abstract stuff and realising that while I appreciate and enjoy art, studying it makes me want to cry (which I did every single day while writing my thesis). My mother recently pointed out that ultimately it’s my English degrees that are helping me work as a writer (my mother is always right – except for that weird vaccine sceptic phase she once went through – thank God it’s over).
One of the most widely taught approaches to writing an article or essay (popularised by English teachers across the Indian subcontinent) is to begin with a quote from a famous author. Let’s say I was writing about Spring festivals, I’d be scoring an extra point for crowning my essay with Shelley’s iconic line: “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”. Our teachers taught us that using quotes sets the tone for our writing, legitimises it, and also shows how much we know about the subject.
It’s a random Monday in the summer of 2015. I’m sitting in class at the Department of English at the Jadavpur University in Kolkata, doodling in a friend’s notebook while the professor reflects on representation of consumerism in Vladmir Nabakov’s Lolita. My friend notices that I’m making a list of random hill stations. She joins me, and by the time the class ends, we have a list of ten places – Darjeeling, Kurseong, Ooty, Kaluk and so on. We get our other friends to check out the list, and by the end of the day, we’ve planned an entire trip together. In the coming fortnight, we have a chunk of days off for May Day and some other local festival. Coupled with some ‘self-assigned holidays’ (what we like to call the days we bunk classes on), we can carve out a good amount of time for a satisfying trip to Sikkim.
Remote Work: Recruiting, Onboarding and everything in betweenApril 20, 2022 in Remote
If you’ve been reading our posts on remote and asynchronous work, you’ll notice our repeated emphasis that remote isn’t working from home. Remote is an entirely different format with its own moving parts; if you merely twist it into a version of work-from-office, you won’t succeed.
“Man Shares Hack To Appear Online During WFH”. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have seen variations of this headline ad nauseam over the last two years. Mouse tied to Roomba to appear in motion, GIFs of people perpetually nodding to make them seem like they’re paying attention. A quick internet search will reveal tons of these hacks, including viral TikTok content (reviewed by YouTubers chasing, you guessed it, virality). As the boundaries between work and home blurred, the line between work and life grew tenuous, leaving less time for life already stressed by a raging pandemic. And forced to show up, employees rose to the occasion to develop innovative ways to cheat the surveillance systems keeping tabs on them. Continue reading »
Two years into the deadliest pandemic since the Spanish flu, every organisation all over the world – big or small – has had a taste of remote work. Some have gone on to adopt a remote or hybrid model full-time. Perhaps you’re a business that survived remote (or “office at home” masquerading as remote work). It’s 2022 now – you’re fatigued, concerned about revenues, or maybe you just want to get on with your life because, hey, let’s face it, Covid is here to stay. Continue reading »