From being oppressed to pushing boundaries, Women have come a long way. Yes, we did try to entrap her in the kitchen – but her soul has no boundaries. It just flows and she brings life to everywhere she goes. It’s time her gentle, yet powerful voice is heard out. Here are the voices of Pickyourtrail.
Don’t stop. Keep going because WE ARE WORTH IT
‘Running from the word go’ is the best phrase to describe the ever-enthusiastic Akshaya. She is what you can refer to as a modern day woman who quit her corporate job to pursue what she loves the most – writing. While it may seem minuscule, the audacity to quit a well-paying job to catch up on your dreams takes guts.
“I had trouble standing up for myself during my initial days of higher-secondary, but later realised somehow I had to grow out of it. With the help of actual good friends, I overcame my challenge”, she says with her eyes gleaming with pride.
While she started her career like many others in the IT sector, she was not happy with the hierarchy & the corporate setup.
“My work in Pickyourtrail is more appreciated and there is equal opportunity for women as well.”
The calm and the composed work environment here has helped Akshaya churn out articles at a lightning pace.
Adding to her relationship with time, she says “Office timings, in general, can be reduced a bit since most of the women have children and families to take care of.”
Rarely does she stay at her desk. Just like her Travel expeditions, there is a need to explore and learn even within the office.
“Women around me should travel to get a glimpse of what’s happening around them. Travel made me realise the bigger picture of life.”
Be proud of being a woman. You are who you are. Don’t forget “Who runs the world – GIRLS”
Have you seen carton boxes with ‘Fragile – Handle with care’ stickers on it? That is the feeling you get every time you see Arishya – our beloved HR. But that is until you hear her talk. When she does, you know she has the heart of a lion.
“Even in this 21st century, we face challenges. It starts right from when we are in the womb. Probably that is one of the reasons hospitals don’t reveal the gender of the baby”, she says with a smile.
But how can she smile when she’s been bombarded with so many negative thoughts?
As if she read my mind, she says “Our willpower and natural abilities give us the power to overcome all the difficulties.”
Right she is our HR for a reason.
Having worked in startups and MNC’s before, she has a clear view of how things work in different places.
“The culture, process difference that you see in a startup is completely different from an MNC. There is freedom to think and pitch in your ideas, transparency, and openness in feedback in a startup.”
What about Pickyourtrail then?
“With the freedom to think out of the box, onus, responsibility and a people-friendly environment, Pickyourtrail is a lot of fun.”
Yes, it is definitely fun, especially with the fun Fridays she organizes. But, it is not just fun she focuses on.
“It’s disheartening to see openings being put only for male candidates. I really don’t understand the logic behind that. On top of this, some companies do ask pregnancy-related questions which make us cringe. I think companies should start accepting women for what they are.”
It is for the same reason, Arishya strives really hard to improve the female to male ratio in Pickyourtrail and she is on the right track.
She attributes her present being to travel.
“Travel has changed me a lot. It keeps your mind at peace, you get to meet different people, culture, tradition, food which gives you a different perspective on life. Women deserve to have their own time and they should travel to experience it”
Create a life for yourself – this includes job, hobby, social life etc. Try not to give them up at any cost. If you have a dream, chase it.
I like movies and I often judge people by the movie they like. When someone says ‘Fight Club’ is their favourite movie, I can surely bet the person is work-life and so is Sindhu – our very own Product Expert. But unlike David Fincher, she actually tries to follow a schedule and she manages to do it with conviction.
“I make sure I allow some time to think or solve problems while also making sure I have some time for myself. Every day I look forward to the time that I have allotted for my favourite things and that keeps me going & helps me focus during challenging times.”
Sindhu has been here for a month now and the responsibility she is carrying on her shoulders is huge. She believes this experience will mould her to a greater self and yes, there will be a lot of learning along the way.
“I love nature. Could seem like an exaggeration, but I honestly feel divine when I’m in a place that is undisturbed by civilization. The yearning to experience that feeling is what pushes me to travel.”
Now, some alone time with just you and nature is simply amazing, isn’t it?
“Travel has taught me to handle things better. Make sure you go on ‘girls only’ or solo trips from time to time and try not to plan every bit of it. The surprises and the mishaps will be your best memories, as well as lessons. The things that you will come across during a trip will make you more confident and open up to new perspectives.”
Be independent and travel as much as you can. Not just for fun but to fight & overcome your fear.
There was a time when we were struggling to build traffic to our blogs. We had the quality and the quantity. But, our team was missing something. Enter Divya – our SEO Manager. A magician in her own way, she helped us showcase the good work we have been doing over the years and soon all things fell into place and we were complete.
She is very enthusiastic about her work and doesn’t shy away from the challenges thrown at her.
“One thing that I like about startups the most is the freedom to work & experiment. You experiment and then you learn from your successes and failures. Apart from this, I also like startups for their culture, every person working there would have his or her own value.”
And so does Divya. She is a rockstar but she does have to put up with a lot of problems like many other women. One such issue is safety.
“Workplace should be easily accessible and should have good transportation facilities too. Companies should also take responsibility for the safety of female employees leaving late at night and ensure that they reach home safely.”
For a woman like Divya who is so dedicated to doing what she does best, things do get monotonous at times and that is where travel comes in.
“To break the monotony of your daily routine life, you should travel. Travelling has increased my knowledge about people, places and culture. It keeps my mind fresh and I have become more efficient with problem-solving and ideation. Further, women who travel often are more fearless and extrovert. And if you travel solo, you become independent too.”
Break your glass ceiling and treat everyone equally!
Gayathri is new, she is from ‘The New Indian Express’, and she is fierce. I mean, she was the sub-editor, you get the picture right. Thanks to her tryst with spirituality she exudes an aura of positivity and you will be automatically pulled into that wave. Gayathri feels there’s no place like a start-up to gain first-hand knowledge and invaluable exposure.
“Unlike an established company that’s got a fixed structure, a start-up like Pickyourtrail gives me immense freedom, allowing me to engage in various sections of the business – thereby giving me a first-hand knowledge of how the company functions. These efforts make you feel valuable here, at a time when most organisations would just throw you into your role right away.”
Though she has worked in a leading Indian newspaper brand, where every single minute is precious, she still feels there should be more breathing space.
“Most companies now have work-culture that’s women-friendly. But of course, more flexibility in time is always welcome.”
More than just the breathing space, Gayathri also needs time to go journey around the world.
“The curiosity to explore cultures in different parts of the globe pushes me to pack and head off! I feel exposure to other cultures offers plenty for all of us to learn something”, she continues.
“For those women from restrictive societies, visiting places where women are treated with equality could be an eye-opener. On the contrary, a look at how deprived people are in some parts of the world could make other women count their blessings. Travelling has humbled me to a large extent.”
Go where you want to go. Do what you want to do. Don’t let anything stop you.
From one new face to another, Aparna is our latest addition to the all exciting women team. Care to say a ‘hi’? Wait, her slack handle is Harley Quinn and she might hit you with a baseball bat! Haa, just kidding. She is very kind. From being brought up as a traditional girl to breaking open the cage to live independently, Aparna has come a long way.
“Living alone has been the greatest step in my journey, and I am proud of this decision.”
Though it has been only 5 days since she joined, she’s already into Pickyourtrail so much.
“I have always preferred a start-up. The culture, work-life balance, pace of learning, freedom to experiment etc. All of this fascinates me, helps me grow as a person along with organization’s growth. It is one of the major reasons for me to join.”
While she is already enjoying the work here, she also insists that organizations conduct more women-friendly cultural & social activities, which is a step towards women empowerment. She has a different way of looking at things – much of which she attributes to travel.
Travel has affected me in a lot of ways. The way I look at things, to be non-judgmental, the love for nature and food, art of making conversations, helping people out, the thirst for knowledge in varied diversity and tradition, and much more. It has helped me develop as a human”, she continues.
“Travel lets you be yourself. To find out the real you. So to discover yourself, travel is a must.”
It is all in the journey, isn’t it?
If there is one person who can spend the whole day going through the Facebook feed but still get away with it, it is Bhavika. No, no, I am not saying she is not sincere. She is just doing her job – Social Media Manager. And she does it with conviction. Her creativity doesn’t have any bounds and it just flows. Careful while walking around her desk. You might just slip and hurt yourself!
She has been with Pickyourtrail for almost 2 years now and she loves being here.
“Working in a startup has encouraged me to raise opinions better, be more accountable while developing a close-knit relationship with my group – something I never visualized doing at my first workplace”, she continues.
“You prepare yourself for a stoic, impersonal workplace and are instead handed a warm family that cares about each other. Life hands you strawberries (pickyourfavfuit), too!”, she chuckles.
Bhavika always had the urge to experience everything possible in this world ever since she was a kid.
“The only thing I truly fear is not being able to experience all that there is to experience in this big, wide world. Not to sound too naive but isn’t travel based on the same sentiment? You go to a new place and then another. And then another. It never really stops.”
It’s not just travel she is passionate about, Bhavika is also a singer and a theatre artist. But she also says, it’s not a compulsion for every woman to do something.
“Women shouldn’t have to do anything. But if they aspire to freedom, love the idea of new places, unsettling cultures and being on the move; sure, why not!”
Talking about her next travel plans, she says it is ever growing.
“My bucket list has only grown since I first discovered the joy of travelling. More destinations to see so, I guess, it’s encouraged me to save up more.”
Be the peacemaker and spread love
Just like any other company, we heavily bank on our Sales Managers. And when it comes to delivering, Dwaraka does it with perfection consistently. She is our very own Sales superstar or should I say zarastar When she joined Pickyourtrail, there was a huge gap in the female to male ratio. But with her dedication, she has managed to gain a commanding position in the workplace amidst strong talented men.
“The journey in Pickyourtrail is very challenging and I owe the credit to the culture that has not only encouraged but empowered me to idealise my interests and highlight my latent talents. I learn a lot here and every day is a new hurdle. The feeling of working with your manager is amazing than working for him.”
We are slowly but steadily moving towards a balanced sex ratio. More women always mean lesser instances of discrimination and creating a better workplace. It also helps us to truly understand her thoughts towards the organisation’s growth.
On talking about gender equality, Dwaraka is very vocal.
“Stop stereotyping. Embrace with positivity and try to treat them equally rather than belittling her”, she continues.
“Women always find inspiration in other women and strive to get there. Hence, in a startup space, such strong women roles can do wonders among other female employees.”
To lighten the moment a bit, I asked her about travel. “To travel solo has been my biggest dream for a long time now. I would urge you to disconnect from the world and experience life in your own perspective for a few days. Every single one of us deserves a break from our people and profession.”
Are you talking about the bachelorette trips, I ask jokingly. Dwaraka replies with a stern ‘no’.
“Ladies should start planning lot more trips together and bachelorettes shouldn’t be the only time you think of an all-girls trip.”
To be a top performer in sales and at the same time, explore new places might be really tough. But she makes it sound really easy.
“I have found my happiness in travel by understanding the culture and history of the place and definitely tasting the local cuisine. It always pushes me out of my comfort zone to try out more adventures and find new friends. Being outside is the only way you can truly be in the universe.”
Yes, it is amazing to be lost in your thoughts in a new place. But managing it is a whole different ballgame.
“It is important to feel good in what you wear. There is always so much that a girl handles throughout her life – to learn to compartmentalize would be the best. We need to grow through what we go through and always spread good vibes.”
As a 20-year-old, Dwaraka has built her career on her own and I think every girl of her age should aim to be independent.
Chill out. Take it easy. You are one of the best beings out there.
Next up is our most talented, IIM-made Product Manager – Samantha Saradhy. While she is also relatively new to the workspace, the flight that she has given to Pickyourtrail in such a short span is mindblowing. She has her own set of hurdles. Juggling between family and work is a constant challenge for her. But you gotta admire the way she balances it.
So here is a peek into an IIM grad’s mind.
“While you still continue coming across more crimes, it is also prudent to acknowledge that the world has become a nicer and kinder place to women. The challenge is to stop bringing gender in conversations. Break free and don’t make gender a criterion and I think then we are all set up for success!”
Yes, success. That is what keeps Samantha on her toes all the time. Especially in a startup with a lot of intellectuals around, you have to be in the thick of things.
“Though PYT has more men, it doesn’t ever feel like that because it’s got a unique flavour of women. In fact, the first employee was a pretty charming lady as well! And as far as Pickyourtrail is considered, it doesn’t matter who you are, all your opinions and suggestions are heard & taken very seriously.”
She is very strict about staying neutral when it comes to gender and believes that if a person is truly capable of doing a particular role – he/she should go for it with all their heart.
“Women according to some employers come with some baggage. Though that is completely not false the beauty is that they are capable of managing and excelling in all of them.”
Okay, this is the right time to ask Samantha about the time when she just packed her bags and went on a solo trek to the Himalayas.
“It is the best decision ever. It wasn’t just a break from the mundane work I was doing, the solitude brought in interesting perspectives and overall just a peaceful getaway so that I can get back to the work in rigour.”
“Interestingly what ended up happening was that I realized more than ever that I really didn’t enjoy my job, came back and quit my job!”
Now that is one life-changing travel experience.
You are stronger than you think you are! Live free and young
Remember the charming lady Samantha talked about? It is none other than Pickyourtrail’s first female employee – Lubna. Nobody knows better about Pickyourtrail than her and she has been an integral part of the journey from the very beginning. She is a personification of versatility. I mean, she has literally played all roles in the office. She is full of inspiration and amazing stories.
“Every time I feel low, I pause for a second & assure myself that today is going to be a good day and that I have a good life.”
Her days always begin with a smile and she hasn’t stopped smiling since Pickyourtrail’s initiation.
“This is my first job Lots of learning and growth. From being the only women employee for almost 1.5 years to now 14 is a huge win. Pickyourtrail is the best teacher I have got till date. It has helped me boost my confidence and develop soft skills”, she recollects.
She is also very happy that workplaces today have become much safer and friendly for female workers.
Though she hasn’t travelled much, she enjoys her short vacations.
“I like to explore new places and culture, at the same time I embrace serenity. Travel makes you wiser and can be a great source of knowledge.”
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