Indian women face plenty of “what if” questions during interviews – questions that employers feel perfectly justified asking. These what if questions show employer bias against potential women employees:
- What if you get married?
- What if your husband moves to another city?
- What if you had children?
- What if your family commitments prevent you from spending demanding hours at work?
It is particularly harsh for women looking for a second career after a break. The questions continue at each stage of their personal life and of their professional careers. These what if questions show how tough it is for women opting for traditional job profiles in traditional industries. Not only do women have to defend and prove themselves in the most basic manner, the questions make it clear why women’s numbers dwindle as they reach the top job.
Problem of Growth:
Add to that the old boy network, women’s reluctance to enter senior-level politics, their desire to spend sufficient time with their children and families; it becomes obvious why fewer women find themselves in a C-suite job.How does it feel to have made work-life compromises all your life to hold on to your job and to move ahead, only to be brought up against the glass ceiling later in your career?
Trouble with Defining a Flexible Job:
When they do come back for the second career and get the flexible job discussed at the interview, they heave a sigh of relief and settle down into it. Then it comes as a shock that there are as many definitions of a flexible job as there are managers. From part-time to telecommuting to allowing a day’s work from home, the definition can change with each manager that you report to.Even when they discuss and clearly demarcate the way the flexibility will work, all it takes is a client call or deadline to change the demarcations, sending them into frenzy.
Question is, What Do You Want?:
It is easy to get caught in the “I-Can-Have-It-All” credo. Let’s admit that during different periods of their life, women face different personal pressures on their time. In the current times of “Lean in” from Sheryl Sandberg and cancellation of telecommuting arrangements at Yahoo, first decide which segment you want to belong to. Do you want to be part of the corporate domain and lean in towards your growth? If so, by all means, do that. We appreciate each woman who breaks the glass ceiling.On the other hand, if you would like to spend more time with your children and family, you confirm the Accenture study which revealed that preference for work-life balance is outweighing financial and growth considerations.But more importantly, if you simply want to be able to define the scope of your work, the extent you will work and what you will not do, in short, when you seek work flexibility as a priority, then it’s time to stop and take a hard look at the industry you choose. And it’s time to stop waiting for someone to take a chance on you.
Take a Chance on Yourself:
What if you choose to take a chance on yourself rather than leave it to the employer to decide matters? It helps you flip all the what if employer questions into ones that make your work life meaningful to you.
- What if you could choose your assignments?
- What if you could choose how much you will work?
- What if you are an entrepreneur in a growing industry with great potential?
- What if the industry meets your interest area?
- What if you become part of the industry not out of compulsion but because you are genuinely interested in the work?
- What if you are hand held through the process of learning and settling into this industry?
It’s the industry of image consulting
Image Consulting – Working to Your Fulfilment:
Image Consulting answers all these fulfilling what if questions to your satisfaction. From deciding what your financial goals will be, to setting out the amount of time you work, to choosing your clients, it leaves the choice and hence a great deal of power over yourself in your hands.
Your Financial Goals :
With image consulting, you are not a victim of your employer’s financial goals. When you become an image consultant, you get to set your own financial goals. Want to expand your work? It’s up to you. Want to slow down for a few years and work with just a few clients? That’s in your hands too. Your professional financial goals no longer have to clash with your personal goals.
Interesting Work Profile :
As an image consultant, your work is always fresh. Each client offers a different opportunity for you to exercise your talent, knowledge and experience, making your work interesting with fresh challenges. The image management industry is witness to ever changing mores and attitudes; you will not be bored with your work.
Choose Your Clients :
You get to decide whom you work with and what type of work you do. The only caution is, when you have a major life-changing event, like a new member in the family; rethink your priorities so that your professional commitments for the upcoming year continue to be balanced against your personal goals.
Growing Industry :
While the Indian public is growing more aware of image management, there is a vast gap in their practical knowledge. It is an industry with potential for enormous growth in the coming years. As an image consultant, you can work across industries and hierarchies, guiding people towards managing their image effectively.
Not only does it allow you great flexibility at work, the growing industry offers you a chance to have your financial independence too. You don’t need to compromise your financial independence for flexibility.
Range of Services:
Whether you offer one-on-one consulting, corporate consulting, personal shopping and styling services, institutional training in schools and colleges, or become a fashion stylist, or a luxury management consultant, you have a range of services or a combination of them to choose from.People are increasingly choosing non-traditional careers to create fulfilling professional lives for themselves. Further, a non-traditional career is the perfect path when you are looking for a second career. Be among the earliest to choose the dynamic and growing image consulting industry to establish yourself and take control of your life into your hands.
The author, Suman Agarwal, is the senior-most Image Consultant in the Indian Sub-continent and director of Image Consulting Business Institute. Image Consulting Business Institute is a pioneer in India and one of the biggest brands in the world in Image Management and Soft Skills Training Space. It offers programs for people to become Image Consultants and Soft Skills Trainers and at the same time offers Image Management and Soft Skills Training services to individuals and companies.