Atelier Diva: Work, Play, Love
Career Helpline
March 04, 2022 COMMENT comment
Career Helpline
SHASHI VENKATRAMAN (Partner in consulting firm SQ.FT, Mumbai)
Mid-career issues or work-life advice – whatever your query our career expert will answer it. Send in your queries to [email protected]. Indian wear can make you look elegant. When you are aiming for the top, nothing says it as well as a sari!
I work in client servicing for a medical goods company, and my job requires me to be well-dressed at all times. All my work life, I have worn Western formals. This may sound little silly, but as I am growing older (I am now 43), I somehow feel attracted to Indian garments. However, I have a perception that Indian wear looks too casual. What are your thoughts on this?
Anjana, Delhi

Well, haven’t you seen some of the most senior lady professionals in our country turn out elegantly in saris? Think Chanda Kochhar, Naina Lal Kidwai, Bachi Karkaria. When you are aiming for the top, nothing says it as well as a sari! The line between the professional and festive look while wearing a sari depends on three things. First, the colour: Wear sober sans glitter or zari. Second, keep the accessories simple like a set of pearls or a simple chain. Finally, the fabric: Opt for crisp, starched cotton saris for daily wear and silks or tussar for formal meetings. Modify a salwar suit. You can wear a well-tailored, long kurta built almost like a long jacket with slimming (yet comfortable) trousers and use a scarf or stole based on the weather. Again here, go for sober (no prints) jacket or kurta in heavier fabric. Further, refer to Diva’s fashion pages, go shopping, embrace your curves and craft a signature style for yourself. Then carry that with aplomb and you will be pleasantly surprised with the response of colleagues at work!

Despite all precautions, I have become pregnant at 40. I have a grown-up teenage daughter, and am very well established in my sales job at an MNC. However, after much thought, I have decided to go ahead with the pregnancy. But I am petrified about what this is going to do to my career. Quitting at the peak of my career, the loss of income, the fear of starting all over again a couple of years later... It’s a tough decision. Any suggestions on how to strike a balance?
Monita, Delhi

That is fabulous news and kudos for deciding to go ahead with the pregnancy! Look at the positive side. You are sufficiently well established in your career and have a nice nest egg to fall back on. Your teenager is possibly quite independent and your partner must also be thrilled to bits. So, this is a baby that you are really going to enjoy minus the usual concerns that plague young couples. Sales jobs are demanding. Have you considered consulting? You could do this with your current company or look at a few companies and build a client base. You can look at allied roles like helping build business plans and sales strategies, training and mentoring, et cetera. There are many SMEs that would appreciate your skills. Ensure that you stay in touch with your business colleagues and contacts and keep abreast with your reading; follow market trends for your business, attend seminars and workshops. Don’t drop off the professional grid. Finally I would like to add that change is good and this baby may provide the opportunity for you to rethink your future. Best wishes to you and your family from team Diva!

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