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‘Women must stop being modest and speak up about their achievements’

Surbhi Chetwani, an alumnus of Apeejay Noida and Data Analyst at Google, says women shouldn’t downplay their achievements and focus on personal branding and self-promotion.

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Surbhi started her career with Mastercard as a Data Analyst and worked there for 3 years before joining PayPal as a Risk Analyst. She has been currently working as a Data Analyst with Google’s Trust & Safety team. Her role is to identify, fight, and prevent online fraud. In a candid chat, she shares her experience of working with Google, things to keep in mind when switching jobs, how modesty is detrimental to the growth of women, and more. Edited excerpts:

How has been your experience working in Google?

Google gives you a lot of freedom to experiment and pursue your interest. Its ‘20 per cent rule’ is designed to give employees one full day per week (20 per cent of their time) to work on a Google-related passion project of their own choosing or creation. It helps break down barriers as employees that work in different departments might find shared interests. It also encourages employees to explore ideas that interest them or learn new skills. The company gives space to employees to perform as micromanagement is not encouraged. Nobody likes managers who intervene too often or too extensively in their subordinates’ activities. The company frequently conducts team-building activities and invites stand-up comedians to create a healthy work environment. 

Is it better for your career if you work in big companies like Google for a longer duration?  

It depends on the individual. There’s no one right answer. Though big companies have their advantages, smaller ones allow you to wear many hats. Job titles can easily overlap. Instead of delegating tasks, you’ll figure out how to get them done. However, the work culture is quite aggressive and work-life balance is not up to the mark. For those who are starting their career small firms serve as a great learning ground.

What are the things to keep in mind when switching jobs?

For me it’s always been about growth opportunities and the freedom to move across domains. Money was not the sole priority, but that doesn’t mean I will accept a pay cut. You should always value yourself.

What are the key learnings from your corporate life?

Regularly interviewing for new positions will keep you updated about the latest industry trends. The expectations of employers change all the time. By keeping a tab on what employers want, you can stay ahead of the game. Also, by regularly interviewing for other jobs you’re keeping your interviewing skills sharp. Secondly, focus on socialisation as it gives exposure to different perspectives. Thirdly, women must stop being modest and speak up about their achievements. Modesty is not a virtue in the corporate world. The rigid gender and social norms of our society enforce expectations of modesty in women. This is also the reason why a lot of women tend to wrongly think that they are underqualified for a position. For instance, when I was in Mastercard, I was looking for better career opportunities so I wanted to apply for top companies. I was discussing the same with one of my friends and she said, ‘Do you think you can bag a job in these top companies?’ I said to her ‘There’s no harm in trying.’ I applied in three companies and got selected in all of them. One must focus on personal branding and self-promotion.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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