1. Introduction about your job / career, define your career?
I am Director of Arpitha Associates Pvt Ltd and EFIL Educational Services Pvt Ltd. I have been working as a coach, trainer, healer, faculty, designer for OD interventions, writer and researcher.
2. Qualification required for this job?
MSW and PhD with certifications in process training, HR, and any other additional training in technology and people management will help.
3. Personal qualities / skills required for this job?
Leadership, courage, ability to do administration, oratory, ability to connect and correlate data, statistical and numerical expertise, ability to take risk, high energy.
4. Best aspects of this job?
5. Challenging aspects of this job?
6. Your achievements?
7. Your secret of success in your career?
8. Give us some interesting accounts of your academic /education days?
9. How did you plan your career?
As a person, I am extremely planned and action oriented. After school, I was very sure I wanted to get a doctorate or become a medical doctor both which I considered as healing professions. I was hard working and so had all the marks to make my choices always in life. So, I took Psychology, Sociology and Economics in Degree. I chose MSW to get into HR. I was already doing training in folk dance, Natya Shastra and found being a faculty very fulfilling. So, I took up working with people in HR. My aim was to certainly complete my PhD and work on research before attaining 30 years of age. Meeting JM Sampath added to the journey by furthering my career faster. We worked on complimentary doctorate topics and established organizations in line with our vision – “Enabling Evolutionary Excellence in Consciousness Era”.
10. Describe your experience of your first day at work in your first job?
I started with Titan Industries and it was a very encouraging place for freshers. I went for block placement and stayed there for additional 6 months. They had extensive orientation program well designed. I was given the opportunity to co-ordinate with cultural program and develop talent pool. These were my favourite areas and so I immersed myself and within a month knew over 70% of the employees by name and designation.
11. Your major achievements have been in ……... which opportunities steered you on that path?
Difficult to say specific opportunity. A lot many factors and key ones are I was blessed with excellent mentors, senior professionals who supported us and believed in our ability to contribute in the area of values and organization development.
12. Being a leader/social worker yourself what do you think you possess as a leader/social worker that sets you apart from other leaders?
13. How as a leader / social worker, do you go about developing yourself today?
I continuously learn, read, discuss with people I meet, surf, mix around with youngsters and pick up the trends they are into; a number of spiritual journeys, chanting, meditation, yoga, dance, theater and films that brings out social dimensions to public.
14. What keeps you so passionate about working in social work?
Social work is nothing but personal evolution and making a difference to self and others wherever we are. It’s a vision and way of life. As long we are connected to life and take ourselves to be real and serious, we will keep looking at opportunities to evolve. In that evolutionary process our presence, action and contribution becomes positive. That positivity should make a difference to others in whatever the scale – micro or macro. Passion is connected to one’s life and not merely to a profession. Social work is not just a profession, it’s life by itself.
15. What are your current ambitions for the next phase in your life /career?
Plenty – I have miles to go before I sleep.
16. Your reading. How does this helps you in your personal and professional life?
Extensively and keeps me updated and a learner. It also humbles me to know how much I don’t know and yet to know in life. It keeps the child in me alive.
17. What are your interest / hobbies?
Dancing, choreography, cooking, event organizing, working with women groups, Ayurveda promotion, managing temple activities, walking, yoga and meditation with spiritual journeys.
18. A family bonding experience ……………….?
We are a very close knit family and there are too many to mention. I have two grown up children and they study in USA – they participate in all our work and life events. Every skype call on Sunday, vacations twice a year, important events and festivals are all happy bonding moments. My entire office colleagues are like my family and so every day is bonding experience. Every review meeting is a great bonding experience.
19. Tips for aspiring professional social workers?
20. Bitter experience in your career?
It is difficult to talk about bitter experiences. I have so far taken every bitter experience as a space to learn and evolved out of it than hold the emotion unnecessarily. Usually bitterness comes when people don’t keep the commitments they make; when they manage a situation with a lie; there is hypocrisy; there is pseudo image they want to protect. Luckily for us, since we are straight forward such experiences are not too often. Also, we always keep an alternative so even if commitments are broken, we can arrest the chain and still keep our commitments through different vendor. We have had such experiences, sometimes lost money and time in supporting start-ups but have never lost energy and learning.
21. How do you relate with other professions and professionals?
Since we are in consulting the interactions are inevitable. But in the recent one year I am more into education and writing. Thereby the interactions with corporate is lesser.
22. What is your opinion about the need for social workers association?
There is no doubt if group is needed to influence and be seen as a powerful forum to guide and support governance. There is a need for clear vision and some clear principles on which the association should work. We need to use technology and become a lot faster in action. When senior members are involved we need to have clarity of roles, deliverables if large scale impact has to be made. The association should grow beyond persons and become more process centric than person centric.
23. Not all social workers are documenting their experiences in their profession, can you please throw some light on it.
The ability to communicate, write and develop case studies has to become a mandatory part right from first year of college. They will have to believe this is part and parcel of their profession, just like how medical records are maintained by doctors or reports in project management. We do not have right education to teach students’ methodology of note taking and documentation. The students have to get tech savvy. We begin this in our life education programs right from 5th grade onwards to develop ability to reflect and write journals.
24. What are the most challenging aspects of your job/career?
To be change sensitive, avid learner, customize, responsive and relevant at all times, every time.
25. How do you balance career and other aspects of your life?
The main problem is people think we have different lifes – personal life, work life, social life! I have never held that myth. I believe we have ONE LIFE – in that we have personal time, work time, social time, and community time and so on. So, I have always had one calendar which has all the commitments I need to fulfill at home, office, family, community, friends, peronal and so on. Right from school, this has kept me disciplined to ensure I am available to all things in life and have my priorities set clearly.
26. What advice do you have for someone contemplating a career in social work in a professional position similar to your current position?
It should be a longterm vision with clear awareness and focus on the paths that open up. Take this as an avatar of this life time and submit yourself to the path. Once Universe knows you are serious, it will converge all opportunities and possibilities and make life happen for you. Do your actions with deep love and sincerity.
27. What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
Love, affection, ability to steer from driver’s seat, deep fulfillment, great learning and constant evolutionary processes – A 20 year old energy and happiness in a 49year old body is good enough.
28. How did you first become interested in your current professional position?
I honestly don’t know when the so called first came. I walked into the profession making the choice against the MA and MBA seat that I had because I felt this gave me a more humane, healing feeling than other options. Infact, I only knew only the word ‘social work’ and nothing more since my aim was HR and PhD anyway. Masters was only a milestone to be fulfilled.
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