Monday, November 24, 2014

Selfie: A Socio-psychological phenomenon


Wikipedia states that selfie is ‘a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone’. This is usually shared on social networking sites, displayed as the propfile pic, used as memorabilia and so on. While I have nothing against the trend itself, I am surely worried about the manifestations of selfie. We now have so many categories in selfies, like welfies, romfies, groupfies, abfie, celebfie and God knows whatfie. This trend has slowly become a norm and may evolve become an obessesion for many, considering the pace at which this trend is catching up across generations and geographies. Higher penetration of smartphones into the market has contributed to the popularization of the trend.
I do appreciate the merits of taking selfies of all kinds and I have myself taken some selfies in different contexts. But then, I abhor the addiction that some people have with the selfies concept and strongly feel that this maybe more of a social aberration. While we may want to show our wild, funny, cute, naughty, hot, cool or crazy side to the world, selfies may not always be the best option to choose. In fact hoax news that APA had declared selfie-obsession as a mental disorder went viral in minutes and had thousands of people search for the same on the internet. This speaks volumes about how people view the selfie phenomenon. In fact, selfies could be veering towards narcissism, which preoccupation with self and others perception of self. Read this:,
to get a sense of the evolution of selfies and to understand one of the categorizations of selfies. It’s not just about ‘selfies’ per se’, but the frequency, the reasoning, the usage and the acceptance of ‘selfies’ as a mode of self-expression. Smartphone manufacturers are busy ‘cashing’ on this trend and making it more ‘sexy’, its or the youth to examine the ‘sanity’ of the process and the trend. While I don’t wish that selfies go away (I do really appreciate/like the Katrina Kaif selfies ;), but rapid repetition kills the fun’). So, go ahead, take the selfie, edit it, gaze at it, admire it, but before posting on social media sites, just check the ‘quantity’ criterion too. And yes, don’t forget to capture the dimple/the pout/the side-lock/the muscle/the wink/the eyes. Lest the selfie gets less than a hundred likes on FB ;) and strays from meeting the ‘quality’ criteria..

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Skill Cushion

Skill Cushion:
Skills refer to the inherent ability of individual to carry out a task/set of tasks, in keeping with desired outcomes. Skills are the ability to apply knowledge in a practical/work situation. As industries grow and evolve, people employed in these industries also need to grow and evolve. This also holds true for banking in general and domains like retail banking, corporate banking and support functions in particular.  There is a huge skills gap that the BFSI sector faces today. For instance, the position of relationship manager in a bank requires a certain set of key skills, as detailed below:
Skills Required
Skills Gaps
Relationship Manager
-Detailed understanding of various
-Banking product available for the Corporate and product structuring.
-Institutional sales
-Understanding of the bank
procedures and documentation related
to each product
-Day to day interaction with the client
-General economic awareness and awareness specific to the industry of
the client
-Awareness of regulatory norms
-Very good communication skills as they are required to deal with senior
people from the company
-Ability to meet and chase targets

-Awareness about product structuring
-General economic awareness and
ability to establish a dialogue with the
-Communication skill

(Source: NSDC Report on ‘Human Resource and Skill Requirements in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance Sector, 2013.)

The above table very clearly suggests that while ‘small talk skill’ and ‘communication skill’ are generally considered easy, there is a lot of scope for improvement, in this area. Further, in order to get better appraisals, better growth and better rate of success, upskilling and re-skilling maybe the key. Consider this, Lee Slater, head of talent acquisition and international talent deployment at Standard Chartered banking group, sees a similar trend: “Where banks used to hire primarily banking experience, the downturn seems to have brought a focus on transferable skills with other sector experience. We are considering candidates with skills much wider than banking experience alone. When looking at talent and suitability, this means having to be more intuitive about fit, culture, adaptability and transferable skills rather than pure experience criteria.”
‘Niche’ skills like compliance, commodity trading, hedging, and Credit risk management etc., may lead to progress for employees in the BFSI sector. Even lingual skills like the knowledge of Mandarin, Japanese or German can be a part of the upskilling agenda. Career growth in the banking domain could require continuous upgradation of knowledge and skills in addition to good performance. This is especially true in the Indian context, wherein banking has been changing by leaps and bounds. In order to launch themselves to higher positions, and better projects, bankers will need to acquire the skills cushion. This can insure against career stagnation and help them overcome mid-career crisis. An effective way to up-skill, re-invent and upgrade would be through certifications, short-term courses, blended learning and training.