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Uncommon Transitions
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Uncommon Transitions

Author: Manohar

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Uncommon Transitions features conversations with individuals who have made a transition from one line of work to something very different. From IT to the social sector, for instance; or from management consulting to journalism; from advertising to spirituality, perhaps. Together with my guests I explore this transition to figure out what drove them to this change, how the change has panned out, and what they’ve learned from it. We speak about the differences between the occupations they’ve had, and how the transition has impacted them personally. Read more at
6 Episodes
Shruti Reddy started working as a developer in the IT industry in 2006. But after about a decade in what she describes as “hard-core techie” roles, she quit and started a funeral services company. That’s right, a company that offers services “assisting you in your loved ones last journey”. I must confess I was a bit nervous about how this episode would turn out. That’s because while the subject matter was fascinating, I wondered if the conversation would live upto the expectations this topic generated. I needn’t have worried. Shruti, as you will soon hear, animates the conversation with her unbounded energy and enthusiasm, traits that have kept her going in this very difficult field. She opens up about the challenges she faced starting this venture, and she shares her ambitions for the future — not just of her company but of the industry in general. She talks about her previous life in the IT industry, the attitudes she saw there, and how she dealt with them. She reveals her deep interest in spirituality and her thoughts on a good death. She ruminates on how the five years in this field have changed her personally. Death may be a morbid subject, but this conversation is anything but morbid. I hope you have as much fun listening to Shruti as I did talking to her.Read more here. Music Credits:Carefree by Kevin MacLeodLink:
I chose the name ‘Uncommon Transitions’ in the plural to showcase the plurality of transitions across a group of people, not a single person. And the trend so far has been exactly that: each person has had one major transition. But my guest in this episode breaks that trend, and how! Over a career spanning sixteen years, Malini Gowrishankar has been through multiple transitions spanning very different fields. She started in IT, then became a Voice-Over artist, dabbled in between as a Radio Jockey, founded a travel company for women travellers in India, and now she’s back in IT part-time in a very different role to the one she began her career in. I love this conversation for the way it brings out Malini’s curiosity to see what’s on the other side, her drive to embrace heterogeneity, her desire for social impact, and her business acumen which she’s developed not through some fancy MBA program but by building businesses and their brands from scratch. I learned so much from this insightful conversation, and I hope you do too.Read more here. More on Malini’s vocations and public appearancesVoice-over Website: Voice of MaliniTravel website: F5 EscapesTEDx Talk: Pushing MarginsMalini lives in Bangalore with her son. Music Credits:Carefree by Kevin MacLeodLink:
This episode is a long, meandering conversation, the sort you would have with an artist who thinks deeply about art and life. Girija Hariharan spent a decade and a half in the IT industry before taking up painting full-time in 2015. She began her art career as a muralist, painting walls at the homes of friends willing to let her experiment, but these days she uses any medium that catches her fancy, including cardboard from discarded boxes. Her art conveys an intriguing mix of mythology and anthropology, often with clear feminist echoes. In our conversation Girija talks about balancing the artist's and the business-person’s sensibility — her right and left brain at work, as she puts it. What also emerges is her deep-rooted desire for social development and her inclination to stay grounded in reality. She speaks about the importance of going with the flow in both art and life, and about what separates a hobbyist from a professional artist. This is a wide-ranging conversation that could have gone on much longer. Settle in with a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy the flow. Read more here.More on Girija's art and social activitiesWebsite: @2flatbrushRecent blog on Deka series: MatsyaCharity trust: Annai Charitable TrustGirija lives in Bangalore with her husband and daughter.Music Credits:Carefree by Kevin MacLeodLink:
Sindu Verma is someone who has worn – and still wears – different hats. She’s a mother, an entrepreneur, and a manager. She spent over a decade in the BPO industry in Mumbai and Bangalore before deciding to call it quits. The challenge she faced was one that’s common to most working women today. Which is, how to find a balance between your desire to work and grow at work and your desire to care for and spend time with your children? Sindu found a unique solution to this challenge, and we talk about her journey in some detail. This is an entrepreneur’s journey, but not the typical “tech entrepreneur” so common these days.The daycare Sindu started in 2008 – Teddies Daycare – is presently dormant due to the ongoing pandemic. Apart from staying in touch with the children and parents through online channels, she has hosted webinars on nutrition and children and Corona and children.Read more here.Music Credits:Carefree by Kevin MacLeodLink:
Chandrajith Belliappa grew up in a small town in Karnataka. As a child he wanted to be an actor first, and later a director. This in itself isn’t unusual –  we’ve all had our share of childhood dreams. But Chandrajith kept his interest alive through school, college, and during his years as a software engineer. He read spy novels, wrote scripts, made short films with a friend, and when he got an opportunity to move full-time into the Kannada film industry, he didn’t hesitate. In his four years as a writer in this industry, he has worked on films like Kirik Party and Avane Srimannarayana, which were among the biggest box office hits in recent years. He has also directed a short film titled Rainbow Land in the anthology Katha Sangama. Chandrajith and I talked about his transition from Software Engineer to Film Writer and Director, but along the way I also got to hear about the way some things work in the film industry. And it’s not always what you imagine from the outside.Read more here.Music Credits:Carefree by Kevin MacLeodLink:
My guest today is someone who chose to become a Social Entrepreneur after about a decade in the IT industry.  Rathish Balakrishnan started his career as a researcher at INSEAD in France. After a couple of years he returned to India and joined the software company SAP in Bangalore, where he worked for over a decade before co-founding Sattva, a consulting firm focussed on the social sector.Rathish and I have known each other since his days at SAP, where we were colleagues. In this conversation we talk about his career arc spanning two decades. We explore his love for writing and theatre, his passion for creating social impact, and his work in the corporate world. Rathish didn’t leave the corporate world because he disliked it; on the contrary, he says he loved working at SAP. Then why did he leave it? What decision making framework did he use for important personal decisions in his life? Why does he believe that a growth mindset is key to success as an entrepreneur? How did Rathish’s interest in writing and theatre lead him to his current role, and how do they influence him today? What made him read the Harry Potter series seven times end to end? These are some of the many questions you’ll find answered in this episode. Read more here. Book mentions in the podcast:Farsighted, by Steven JohnsonFactfulness, by Hans RoslingEnlightenment Now, by Steven PinkerThe Goal, by Eliyahu GoldratPoor Economics, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther DufloGood Economics for Hard Times, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther DufloExecution, by Ram CharanThe Leadership Pipeline, by Ram CharanSapiens, by Yuval Noah HarariThe Harry Potter series, by J.K.RowlingMusic Credits:Carefree by Kevin MacLeodLink:
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