Sunday, June 29, 2014

From Tech to Talent and Terrific Transitions

15 years ago, almost to the day, I had my first "First Day" at work. After an incredible journey from campus hire to Vice President of Marketing at the world's largest technology company, I am joining the world's largest professional network as Director of Marketing, Asia Pacific, starting tomorrow. As a Desi CMO, I am thrilled to be back in Asia again!  Before I start my new role, I have had the good fortune of taking a much needed break for a few weeks. I must confess, the break was a little more daunting that switching companies. Despite my credentials, being a "woman of leisure" is not something I have had much experience with! The era of lifetime employment is over and more and more professionals are transitioning from one organization or geography quite fluidly. So there is bound to be some downtime between roles. So here are my top 5 tips on how Desi CMOs can take advantage of their time "off":

1. Don't switch off. Switch on different parts of your brain! 
I, for one, decided to 1) Learn a new skill, sailing, which is a combination of physics, geometry, vocabulary and Physical Education if done properly (i.e. without beer or a skipper!)  2) Hone my culinary skills with the help of my mom (I do have to say, my bhindi, alu mattar paneer and keema were quite excellent although my pakoras were a little sad looking) and 3) Take an online course on Coursera about something I am interested in but not much exposed to at work; a highly recommended course called "Analyzing Global Trends for Business and Society" with Professor Mauro Guillen of the Wharton School.  I love what have learned about globalization so much that I will actually write a whole blogpost about it soon! Plus you get to take quizzes for fun i.e. doesn't matter if you pass or fail. Perfect eh?

2. Give the people you love, the time and attention they deserve!
Let's face it, if you love your job, something is going to give and usually its the attention your family and friends should get from you that you, instead, expend before you even get home. I channeled all the energy I had on doting on my loved ones - friends, family and pet. No emails, no conference calls, no preoccupation with a to do list or deliverable. It's much like going a walk through a botanical garden and leaving your camera behind. You fill up your senses with the sights, sounds, smell, touch of everything around you, real time. It makes every relationship you have blossom...really! And of course, continue to maintain this once you start work again. Hopefully the dose of good TLC will get your hooked!

3. Get healthy...because you have no excuses!
No alarm clock, no rushing out, no sleep excuses! Time off is a great time to give your body much needed tuning. Use this time to change your habits for good because there is nothing else getting in the way. Splurge on spa treatments to detox your body. Go for a quick run, but do it everyday! Instead of going out and partying up a storm, make healthy meals and invite friends over for dinner. Not only with they get a good meal out of you, you are probably the best you are going to be when you are rested and feel healthy!

4. Think about your money, don't spend it! 
It is so tempting to use your new free time and your signing bonus to engage in etailing and retailing. After all, if you are online and don't have to check email, work on a presentation or prepare for a meeting, you end up e-tailing. And you can't sit at home all day, so you might as well step out. But guess what? Everyone you know is at work all day, so what is the only activity you can do alone on a hot summer day? Shop! Right? No! Instead, do some financial planning. Go spend time with your financial advisor, review your investments, god forbid, build a personal budget (its fun managing your marketing budget but aren't we woefully illiterate when it comes to our own budgets?!)

5. Lighten up with some light reading...and never admit to it.
In today's world of content marketing, people are constantly bombarding you with "Interesting read! Share this! Related Articles..." When you have so much technology around you, its easy to just read tweets, posts (like this one!) and articles. But when was the last time you bought a book or a silly magazine? A real paperback? And one that is so "unlike" you that you wouldn't even admit to reading it? Reading that you consider too "low brow" is exactly what you need to pick up because...well, just because. And on that note, I will not share what I am reading...well, just because I can.

With that, it is time to turn in for the night here in Singapore and dream about my new adventures as a Desi CMO in Asia Pacific! Stay tuned! Things are going to get VERY exciting in the talent space!

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