The Balancing Act Called Life…

It’s easier said than done!

All through my life, I heard about how important it is to have a work and life balance… But I remember no one ever mentioning how it was done! No wait, I’ve heard everyones expert advice but never seen them practice what they preach! 😀

In the initial years its all about being good in studies at the same time being actively involved in sports and the other extra curricular activities. But how many of us actually aced them all? We should have taken the hint then itself. Well, humans being humans, will never give up!

Somehow we drag through the academic life and land at the doorstep of the corporate world. More than eager and excited to live an independent life although still dependent on the families. The rush of receiving the first paycheck is unparalleled and will remain fresh forever. The first year is more often than not full of fun and learning. Somewhere you begin to believe, you’ve mastered the art of work life balance coz here you are – a year of crazy partying at the same time few all-nighters in the corporate world and you couldn’t ask for any better.

Well now, life’s a Bitch ain’t it… Does not like seeing you happy and with no complaints. So subconsciously schemes against you, makes you want for more – a promotion or a new job! Let’s go with the second option. After a couple of interviews and careful analysis of pay packages, here you are.. In a new world among new unfamiliar faces. You are most likely replacing someone else from the team who left thanks to which you could apply for the position. Well what are the odds that it was a well loved team mate you are now replacing. And as a known fact, nobody likes change. There you go, you have your first roadblock.

With time you manage to overcome the block and now have gained the trust of your peers. However since you are a senior resource now, you don’t have the free time like before. You now have added responsibilities that came complimentary with the new role. And in the competitive world we live in, there’s no option but take it all up Coz if you don’t, then someone else will. And then the day won’t be too far long when you will be considered as a liability than an asset and you know where that route will take you.

So the once fun loving you, partying at every chance you got, has now been reduced to a workaholic drowned with work. There was a time when you did not need reasons to party and now you find reasons to not party so you can finish up and just go get some sleep. Yay life!

So what happened to the I will have and maintain my work life balance?! I will never let my work get the better of me. Well, somewhere in between we all grew up I guess.. Or rather, life happened!

You are now reduced to sharing memories that appear on Facebook as notifications of a life you once lived, the fun you once had with the friends you barely have the time for. Practically, there’s no such thing as a work-life balance..Although we try really hard at having both, It’s either work or it’s life! The choice is yours to make. Rest is all just a compromise… And That my friend, is life!


Changes in Home buying patterns

Purchasing a home is not just a financial decision but also an equally emotional decision. It is not just the drive to own a home of their own that drives buyers to purchase a house; factors like the need to live in a smaller/larger living area, desired location also play a major influence in the drive. Buyers tend to consider their primary home as a foundation for life rather than just considering it as an investment.

With rise in disposable incomes, homebuyers also got on the move. Although the challenge of buying a home is quite high as it involves huge financial commitments, owning a home, which seemed like a farfetched dream once, is not so far now. The combination of dropping interest rates, tax breaks and rapidly increasing disposable incomes have led to the rise of the EMI investor, the small, leveraged second (and third, and maybe fourth) homebuyer, something that India had not seen before. Buyers purchased houses with loans and sold them two or three years down the line because prices had risen enough to prepay the loan and still make an enormous profit.

In India, the change in home purchasing pattern started with Gen X moving out of joint family culture to having nuclear families. With Gen X families largely having only one working member, purchasing a house could never be an impulsive decision. This ensured that there was a thorough research, many tours, a lot of planning and saving done before the purchase. For the millennial families, more likely to have two working members, possibility of purchasing a house became more affordable and feasible. The down payments scrapped from savings, gifts and funds from investments, investing in a new house got a higher preference than renting out or borrowing money to renovate and repair. Most of the millennials homeowners are first-time buyers, so they look for homes with value.

The buyers prefer agents to help find the right home to purchase so they can benefit from their agent pointing out unnoticed features and faults in a property. However, the role of agents is decreasing, as developers are becoming more transparent, and other non-agent intermediaries are offering the same services without charging the commission. For homebuyers, agents are increasingly becoming more menacing and repulsive.

The millennials generation (32% of buyers) is largely driving the housing market. Although the expertise of real estate agents is not entirely been replaced with the internet, there is tremendous amount of research done online before contacting an agent. The internet does provide the comfort looking at multiple options across locations; however, the benefits from working with a real estate agent are many. The younger buyers preferred agents helping them understand the process that goes into the deal as for most of them, it is more likely to be their first purchase. They are inclined to agents referred through a friend, neighbour, or relative, while the older buyers go with agents that they have previously dealt with to buy or sell a home. The millennials also tend to purchase homes closer to their previous residences whereas the older boomers are more open to exploring across locations.

The first step towards the process of purchasing a home is looking up properties for sale online. The process involved and documentations required for a purchase is also easily and readily available online, which made it a common trend among all generations. After the purchase of their desired property, Gen X and Gen Y live in their home for approximately 10-15 years before moving on to finding another new house whereas the older boomers plan to live in their home for approximately 20 years.

The priority of preferences also changed with the times. While the old boomers are inclined to owning homes closer to family and friends and located closer to good health facilities, the Gen X placed their preferences on convenience and quality of schools and other educational institutions. The millennials however, place high preference on convenience to their jobs and affordability. The younger buyers also consider commuting costs whereas the older buyers place more importance on landscaping and cost of utilities.

Will the crisis lead TVF into a disaster?

The sexual harassment issue against Arunabh Kumar within no time turned into a crisis for both TVF and Kumar himself.  And needless to say the whole situation was very poorly managed by the company. Not only did TVF loose its goodwill gained over the past years by issuing a threating statement to the victim but also invited a lot of criticism on the statement made by Kumar defending himself.

In such situations the entire company’s reputation built over time is hanging on a delicate thread determined by how well the company can take control the situation and turn it on to their side. Although nothing can be commented on the credibility of the accusation yet, TVF could have taken over control of the situation in a much better way which would in turn have helped retain the goodwill and respect of its audience.

How TVF handled the situation:

  1. Issues a formal statement threating to find the author of the anonymous blog and bring them to severe justice.
  2. Kumar’s reaction to the controversy only sank the ship further down. His pride in being the heterosexual man objectifying women disguising with the compliment of sexy broke the hearts of many of his followers. He lost all respect from those who looked upto him and left them in shock.
  3. TVF employees share posts speaking in high regard and vouching for Kumar’s clean moral character.
  4. 2 of the 4 core members of TVF – Nidhi Bisht and Biswapati Sarkar tried clearing the air through their tweets.
  5. After five days, TVF issues another statement which was both apologetic and defiant in nature. Although they still denied the existence of any such employee in the company, they were sorry about their previous statement and termed it as quick and emotional.
  6. The statement also informed about IC committees set up in each location.

In event of any situation which can tarnish the reputation and throw the company into a crisis, it is always necessary and advisable to take control of the situation before speculations begin doing the rounds.

The best way to manage a crisis is by engaging. It is very critical for the company to be open and transparent in their handling of the situation.

How could TVF as a brand have handled it better?

  1. Immediate response is the first step towards reducing or controlling the impact of the issue. The first and immediate response should have been a neutral statement from TVF acknowledging the graveness of the accusation rather than wait for 5 days to do the same.
  2. Sexual harassment at a work place is quite a grave problem. The response from TVF should have been more responsible, and showcasing the appointing of IC Committees to investigate the issue.
  3. TVF should have been more proactive in their approach towards solving the crisis than wait for more accusations to pile up and then react or respond.
  4. After the first anonymous post, many other non-anonymous posts with similar accusations cropped up. TVF should have maintained a constant vigil on the new developments and responded to each of them instantly. A response with a little personal touch which said the company regrets the experience felt by the concerned party and assure someone from the company would reach out to them soon to look into the matter would surely reduce the impact of negativity around the incidents.

Having a personal touch in the PR statements go a long way in help taking control of the situation and establishing a responsible image for the company.

  1. TVF claimed to have no record of the existence of any employee matching the anonymous blogger having been employed with them. Rather than just making these claims, providing some form of data proof would have completely turned the tables in favour of TVF.
  2. TVF should go an extra mile and throw efforts in showcasing itself as a safe environment for not only women but any employee to work.

Although nothing can be commented on how true the allegations are until proven, TVF went from being a company which was most looked up-to to being looked down as one of the some unsafe place to work for.

TVF now has a long way to go in regaining the lost reputation and rebuilding the tarnished image.





TVF – A Shocker

Recently, the virtual world suddenly went viral about an anonymous blog post alleging the founder of The Viral Fever(TVF) – Arunabh Kumar of sexual harassment. Having just celebrated Women’s Day and the important role women play in our lives, not only did the post break the Internet but also left most of us shocked. The blogger claimed to be an ex-TVF employee who during her stint of two years at the company was constantly harassed by Mr. Kumar.

TVF has been quite popular with the youth with their refreshing content in the web series space. As a newly converted TVF consumer, the incident came as a shocker to me as well. What was more disturbing was, the other non-anonymous accounts of women who faced other forms of non-consensual harassment from Kumar which followed the original post. While the anonymous post might have left a little uncertainty on the authenticity of the author and her post, the posts that followed by other women who worked with him in past and their horrifying experiences with him cannot be ignored. The number of women accusing Kumar of his actions have reached 50 as of now.

While TVF was quick to respond with their statement, it sounded more of a threat to the original anonymous author rather than talk about launching an investigation into the matter. The response surely did cause a lot of harm to the goodwill earned by the company so far.

This was followed by statements made by almost every employee of the company standing by and in favour of Kumar and some even personally vouched for Kumar and his moral character. What was even worse was the response of Kumar.

“Social media has already declared me an offender, but I am ready to address all the allegations against me. I am open to receiving a police complaint so that I can respond legally as well.

TVF is bigger than me. I am a heterosexual, single man and when I find a woman sexy, I tell her she’s sexy – but this is only done in my personal capacity. I compliment women in my personal space and not at the workplace. Is that wrong?”

Really? Calling someone ‘sexy’ in an official environment and justifying it as a compliment? Not only does his statement sound creepy and self-centred but also makes the reader lean more towards believing exactly what he’s been accused of!

Of course the second statement that was issued by TVF five days later does speak of how they could have handled the situation better instead of issuing a response that was ‘quick and emotional’. But the damage had already been done. It would have been wiser for the company to have taken a neutral stand and immediately appointing a committee to investigate into the matter. That would at least have let viewers have faith in TVF as a company, the company we’ve all been looking up to not only for the path-breaking content they’ve been providing but also for being unbiased and composed under the stressful situation.

Whether the anonymous allegations will turn out to be baseless or will Arunabh Kumar be found guilty, only time will tell. However, TVF unfortunately, has now moved from being the most looked up to company to being the most dreaded company to work for.