Retention value
Employee retention matters. Retaining your best employees ensures customer satisfaction, better sales, greater employee satisfaction, effective succession planning and deeply embedded organisational knowledge. Poor retention can result in extra expenditure in training time, lost knowledge, frequent separations, insecure co-workers and costly recruitments. Losing a middle manager costs an organisation up to 100 per cent of his salary.

Backbone of financial security plans
Options for engineers in Army
Use work experience to decide field of specialisation

Liberating the learning system
Liberal Arts provide a platform to the students to get exposure to a wide range of academic subjects at the same time thereby enhancing skill sets and abilities to think and analyse critically.

Sandeep Joshi

Sir, he is not like ordinary workers. He can enjoy boring jokes and appreciate stupid decisions.

Men of ideas
Knowledge is today held to be the most important cutting-edge asset, whether it be in a person or in an organisation.
Master of language
Science of food
Market force
Healing touch
Mending minds

Your ticket to US colleges
The SAT 1 Reasoning Test is a standardised test for college admissions in the United States, Canada and Singapore. The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board. The test is intended to assess a student's readiness for college.

Just appraisal
Performance appraisal system has become a routine in almost all companies today. But only a few among them know the real value of implementing such a system which actually is meant to nurture the potential of the workforce. 

Happiness @ work
Plan first or panic later
The total effort required to get some work done in most situations remains the same. So keep your cool, prepare in advance and deal with it in small instalments. Last-minute tackling of the situation will lead to panic.




Retention value
Star performers are the assests which no employer can easily afford to squander. Retaining talent, thus, is a test of HR heads’ efficiency. Arindam Banerjee on what it takes to retain a company’s star performers 

Employee retention matters. Retaining your best employees ensures customer satisfaction, better sales, greater employee satisfaction, effective succession planning and deeply embedded organisational knowledge. Poor retention can result in extra expenditure in training time, lost knowledge, frequent separations, insecure co-workers and costly recruitments.

Losing a middle manager costs an organisation up to 100 per cent of his salary. The loss of a senior executive is costlier. Employee retention , thus, is one of the primary measures of the health of an organisation. If a company is losing critical staff members, it is quite likely that other people too are looking to move.

Employee retention can be viewed from three perspectives: individual, organisational and talent market.

Individual aspect

At the individual level, talented employees want to feel that they are being paid on par with other employees in the industry doing similar jobs, and with other jobs in the same company making comparable contributions. When these two conditions exist along with interesting and meaningful work, acceptable working conditions and good management practices, the prospect of making a little more money in another organisation, where these softer factors may not exist, is usually not enough to pull an employee away.

Organisation’s perspective

At the organisation level, the strategies and approach towards its human assets, its cultural DNA, climate of trust and openness, an inspiring leadership and transparent career opportunities are primary drivers to make the employee-management bond stronger.

Talent market aspect

At the talent market level, the image and perception of the organisation, its brand value and financial standing make an organisation more lucrative to the employees to build a career. In the past one decade, organisation brand alone has lost its lustre to some extent as talent is now looking for rich experience and learning opportunities in relatively less-known organisations, than routine careers in well-established and well-known organisations.

To retain the right talent at the workplace management needs to recognise employee needs and skills as well. Employers are continuously challenged to find new ways to keep their staff satisfied, happy, and healthy and, perhaps most importantly, appreciated. The company's top talents are essential to the overall success of business.

Steps to retain talent

Keep things in perspective: If things are kept in perspective, then one can retain the employee's focus and productivity. Exit interviews with departing employees provide valuable information that HR heads can use to retain remaining staff members. Heed the intelligence gathered from these interviews. You'll never have a more significant source of data about the health of your organisation.

Create a comfortable and inspirational environment: Create an environment in which employees can feel free to participate effectively and fully apply their skills and experience with the right attitude. For a comfortable environment, the most important things required are transparency and trust. Both are the kind of things that are achieved from others. Optimum utilisation of talent and skill is another environmental factor that key employees seek at the workplace. A motivated employee wants to contribute to work areas even outside his specific job description. How many people can contribute far more than they currently do? You just need to know and tap into their skills, talent and experience.

Encourage and support everyone's ideas: Watch the ideas flow from teams and individuals; then match that with the mission and vision of organisation. Allocate responsibility to groups and individuals in tune with their ideology. This will motivate employees to play their role more effectively in the organisation.

After the completion of a task, offer employee rewards in the form of incentives, rise in scale, promotion and prizes. A satisfied employee knows clearly what is expected from him or her every day at work. Frequent changes in expectations keep people on edge and create unhealthy stress. They rob the employee of internal security and make the employee feel unsuccessful.

The quality of supervision: The quality of supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention. People leave managers and supervisors more often than they leave companies or jobs. It is not enough that the supervisor is well-liked or a nice person. Starting with clearly articulated expectations from the employee, the supervisor has a critical role to play in retention. Anything the supervisor does to make an employee feel unvalued will contribute to turnover.

Frequent employee complaints centre on areas like lack of clarity about expectations, poor earning potential, unappreciated performance, failure to hold scheduled meetings and the absence of a framework within which the employee perceives he or she can succeed.

The ability of the employee to speak his or her mind freely within the organisation is another key factor in employee retention. Does the organisation solicit ideas and provide an environment in which people are comfortable providing feedback? If yes, then the employees offer ideas, feel free to criticise and commit to continuous improvement. If not, they keep their ideas and opinions to themselves and constantly land in trouble until they leave.

At the end of the day, what matters is serious intent and the organisation's ability to help people visualise their growth path.

The writer is Assistant Professor in Asia Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi 



Career Hotline
Backbone of financial security plans
Pervin Malhotra

Q. I am presently in Class XII commerce stream. I want to know about Acturial course and future prospects in this field and the various institutions offering this course. Let me know if there is a possibility of distance learning programme.

— Ishan

A. Actuaries are considered to be the analytical backbone of a country’s financial security programmes. They design and develop insurance products, assess the risk, fix the right product pricing and undertake asset and liability valuation.

Based at an insurance company’s headquarters, they calculate the premium by applying mathematical theories of probability, compound interest and statistical techniques to finance with long-term implications, such as life insurance or pension schemes.

In a fast changing world with new risks and the need for more creative ways of tackling them, the career offers ample opportunity for personal and professional growth and lifelong learning.

This profession offers considerable rewards in terms of intellectual challenge, professional status, job satisfaction and high earnings.

To qualify as an Actuary, you must be a Fellow Member of the Institute of Actuaries of India. This involves clearing a tough 16-paper exam conducted by the institute. Log onto for more information.

The Institute of Actuaries, London also conducts exams in India. Those who qualify from ASI get exemptions from some subjects of this exam, and vice versa. An MSc in maths/stats would be an ideal qualification to enroll for the course. However, the minimum eligibility required is for you to score 85 per cent in maths in Class XII.



Options for engineers in Army

Q. I am in the third year of BTech in Computer Science. I want to join the Army. It’s my passion as I hold a fair amount of knowledge related to army equipment and working conditions. Please, guide me how I can join my dream profession. I will complete my BTech in 2013.

— Prashant Sharma

A. It is indeed wonderful to hear you say that joining Army is your first career choice. As an officer in the Indian Army, you'll be heir to a glorious heritage and timeless traditions of one of one of the finest fighting forces in the world.

The Army is one place where professional growth takes place at every step. Where else will you get such an opportunity to constantly upgrade your skills?

There are a couple of different entry routes for engineering students like you into the Army.

University Entry Scheme for Permanent Commission

Eligibility: Unmarried males; pre-final / final year engineering students

Age: 19 – 25 years

Selection: WSSB Interview, Medical Exam

The notification for the UES usually appears in May every year.

Candidates selected for UES are trained at the Indian Militrary Academy, Dehradun.

Technical Graduate Entry Scheme (Permanent Commission)

Eligibility: Unmarried males; final year engineering students / graduate engineers

Age: 20 – 27 years

Selection: Group Tests; Psychological Tests; Interview; Medical Exam.

The recruitment through TGES is done twice a year with the notifications appearing in April and October.

Candidates selected for TGES undergo a one year training at the Indian Militrary Academy, Dehradun.

Short Service commission (Technical) Men

Eligibility: Unmarried / married males; graduate engineers in notified disciplines

Age: 20 – 27 years

Selection: Direct SSB interview

The recruitment for SSC Technical is done twice a year with the notifications appearing in January and July.

Candidates selected for SSC Technical undergo a 49 week training at the Officer Training Academy, Chennai.

Wishing you the very best of luck!



Use work experience to decide field of specialisation

Q. I have completed my B Arch with interior branch. Now I want to do M Arch but am confused which field to opt for? Please suggest.

— Aman Singh

A.Catering to the dwelling needs of fellow beings and creating structures that cater to individual needs, an architect is a designer, environmental expert, artist, visualiser and creator all rolled into one. Which other field blends art, science and technology and provides you the thrill of translating your dream design on paper into a grand reality?

In the two-year M Arch programme, you can choose from the following specialisations: Architectural Conservation, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture and Planning, Sustainable Architecture, and Construction Management.

Your choice of specialisation will depend on a combination of factors. First and foremost is your interest – think of the subjects and assignments you enjoyed and excelled in during your B Arch. Also, consider your strengths and temperament and accordingly your suitability for different specialisation areas. Lastly, understand the kind of work each area entails, its future scope and quantitative and qualitative rewards.

Given your B Arch specialisation the most obvious choices would be to look at either Interior Design or Industrial Design.

What I would really recommend is for you work for a year or two first, get a taste of the practical aspect of architecture, explore the future prospects in different areas, speak to senior architects and veterans in the field and then take a call as to your choice of specialisation.



Liberating the learning system

Liberal Arts provide a platform to the students to get exposure to a wide range of academic subjects at the same time thereby enhancing skill sets and abilities to think and analyse critically. The liberal arts approach seeks to break the current factory-model system which does not recognise individuality and personal potential, and which forces artificial boundaries between disciplines that create graduates who are unable to cope with the multi-disciplinary society that we now live in. It brings a holistic teaching-learning process, that is more about the scholar and a personal journey of lifelong discovery and concentrates on the creation and discovery of a larger breadth of knowledge. Aditya Berlia, Co-Founder and Pro-Chancellor of Apeejay Stya University provides more details about the Liberal Arts approach that his university has adopted in an interview with Arupjyoti Gogoi.


What exactly is the concept of liberal arts?

Liberal Arts is a way of looking at the world. This has three components. The first is that there is one world, and all disciplines and endeavors are part of that one world. Therefore, there are no boundaries between disciplines, and between knowledge, and while we may make categories for the sake of convenience, these are artificial. The second is that the journey to discover knowledge is a personal and a lifelong one. Thus no one should be denied the right to pursue any field of knowledge, and each person has to find his or her way of attaining it. The third is the ability to critically think and look at the same problem or issue from the perspective of multiple stakeholders and disciplinary frameworks. We seek to create the holistic ability to truly understand a problem, and be able to lead and connect with the different people who are needed to solve it.

How will liberal arts education based curriculum shape one's future/career in today's fast changing world?

The fact is that industry today wants multi-disciplinary individuals who are self starters and are able to react to and operate over a wide variety of situations and fields. To be successful in today's changing world and be a responsible citizen, a person needs to have the ability to quickly adapt and learn new things, be able to operate interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary systems, be exposed to a wide variety of fields and subjects, and be able to think critically through complex problems and situations. A liberal arts curriculum with its unique features is able to provide an education which leads to these goals preparing individuals not only for their first job, but for a lifetime of achievement and responsibility.

How is this approach being made functional in your university as far as curriculum and other areas are concerned?

Our entire academic system is designed ground up to follow the liberal arts philosophy. A few examples of this are: scholars are free to take up any course in any department at any level, they are able to switch degrees if they find their personal journey is taking them somewhere else, they are involved in research and knowledge creation from day one, each scholar has a personalised schedule which is tailored to his/her personal goals and aspirations, the teaching-learning methodology is designed towards faculty and scholars as collaborators rather than as teacher-students, and our core ensures that they have a wide exposure to different fields. The curriculum itself is highly rigorous, and is vetted by national and international experts from industry as well as academia; it is also highly dynamic.

How are parents and students reacting to this innovative academic system?

Scholars love it. After the initial shock of realising the amount of responsibility and freedom that they have, they would not have it any other way. Parents really appreciate the dynamic nature and academic rigor that the curriculum offers, and how closely linked it is to industry and the latest developments. Both groups also appreciate and can vividly see how a scholar is becoming a more complete individual, who understands the world around, and is able to apply that knowledge across many fields.

We need more job creators than job seekers. How liberal arts education encourages entrepreneurship?

First and foremost a liberal arts education enables a scholar to think for him/herself, laying the most basic foundation and desire for entrepreneurship. After the basic foundation, it equips scholars to innovate by being used to constant learning and creation of new knowledge, to take risks by taking responsibility for their own education and their own destiny, to be able to view the big picture, the different perspectives and hence come up with superior strategy, to work with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. Luminaries such as Steve Jobs, credit a liberal arts approach as a key ingredient of his success.



Men of ideas
Zubin Malhotra

Knowledge is today held to be the most important cutting-edge asset, whether it be in a person or in an organisation. The Information Age requires knowledge professionals in every sphere of activity - be it in IT or biotech, or in more conventional professions such as medicine, law, journalism or business, for that matter. The mantra is simple: the knowledge-based economy demands more and better-trained specialists.

Knowledge professionals are generally people with what are known as 'investigative' interests. They prefer working with ideas and thinking than with physical activity or leading people, focussing on facts, figures, abstract ideas and mental problems. Thus, most scientists are generally investigative people.

Dealing with people is not very often an important part of many knowledge careers. But people are people - contrary, not easily pigeonholed, made up of many, and sometimes seemingly contrasting dimensions. Thus, if you are an ideas and thinking person, yet also love to help and assist others, to be able to mentor and give advice to others, take a look at the following careers which combine both working with ideas and being in touch with people.

Master of language

A linguist is a language-scientist. The linguist studies components, structure, and relationships within a language to understand its evolution and functioning. Thus, a linguist prepares description of sounds, forms, and vocabulary of language. And applies linguistic theory to any of following areas: development of improved methods in translation, including computerization; teaching a language to non-native speakers; preparing language-teaching materials, dictionaries, and handbooks; reducing previously unwritten languages to standardised written form; preparing literacy material; preparing tests for language-learning aptitudes and language proficiency; consulting with government agencies regarding language programmes; or preparation of descriptions of comparative languages to facilitate improvement of teaching and translation., and so on.

A translator renders materials and documents from one language to another. With growing specialisation, translators may specialise in particular type of material, such as news, legal documents, or scientific reports; the latter a potentially fast-growing area given the need for unhindered flow of scientific, technological and business knowledge among peoples conversant in different languages. A translator who can translate spoken speeches or discussions rapidly can look to interpreter jobs, too.

A well-paying career opportunity for language specialists and experts has now opened up in India's IT-enabled services (ITES) industry where demand for speech and accent trainers who can coach continuous new batches of recruits to speak in an American or European accent, and even interact with customers in foreign languages.

A linguist needs an in-depth mastery of the language; something which is typically acquired by studying linguistics at the Bachelor's level, followed by Master's (Linguistics/Appl. Linguistics), and perhaps even PhD level. You would essentially work in academic and research institutions.

A translator obviously needs proficiency in at least two languages. Translators are employed in various government departments and organisations, travel and tourism industry, in the media and also work as freelancers.


Science of food

A food technologist may specialise in one phase of food technology, such as product development, quality control, or production inspection, technical writing, teaching, or consulting, or in a particular branch of food technology, such as cereal grains, meat and poultry, fats and oils, seafood, animal foods, beverages, dairy products, flavors, sugars and starches, stabilisers, preservatives, colours, and nutritional additives, et. al.

The key knowledge-base of a food technologist comprises methods of food production and processing, biology and chemistry. These are covered in the several BTech courses in Food Technology around the country; in the North notably at PAU, Ludhiana; GNDU, Amritsar; CCAU, Hisar; SLIET; Harcourt Buttler Tech Institute or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj University, Kanpur.

Prospects: Food technologists work mainly in the food processing industry. Visionary planners hold food processing to be the single most important key to increasing rural incomes.

Market force

A market research analyst or market researcher investigates market conditions whether in a city, region, or country to determine potential sales of products and services. Establishes research methodology and designs formats for data gathering, such as surveys, opinion polls, or questionnaires. They then examine and analyse the statistical data collected to forecast future trends. From gathering crucial data on a competitors pricing, sales & distribution practices to gleaning insights into customer preferences and buying habits followed up by analyzing the data collected and preparing reports and graphic illustrations of the findings is all in a day's work of a market research analyst.

Key skills required include: information gathering, appropriate use of mathematics and statistics to discover and analyse relevant trends, critical thinking and effective written communication. Accordingly, postgraduate level knowledge of mathematics and statistical techniques and sales and marketing is needed. Education routes: PG in maths, statistics, MBE, MBA.

Prospects: The increasingly fierce competition in the Indian market with global and local companies locked in a combat for survival underscores the need for greater market research.

Alternate medicine
Healing touch

The good old family doctor, typically an MBBS allopath, is increasingly being joined by alternate healers, be they naturopaths, homeopaths, acupuncturists or acupressurists. The toxic side-effects of allopathic medicines is inducing a larger number of people to try these alternate, holistic and gentler systems.

An acupressurist treats patients suffering from pain, stress, or tension using acupressure techniques. S/he determines causes of accumulation and the best techniques to increase circulation, according to knowledge of Asian acupuncture and pressure points and Western medical trigger points, bodywork techniques, such as Jin Shin, Do-In, Shiatsu, Swedish, yoga and Esalen. The acupressurist also recommends appropriate diet and practices for the patient to prevent a recurrence of the problem.

Outlook: Even as alternate healing methods slowly go mainstream in hospitals and organised clinics, the best bet currently is for private practice, particularly if you can network the hip, the chic, the jet-set and other New Age devotees.

Mending minds

Psychiatrists diagnose and treat patients with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and problems. They review and organise data concerning the patient's family, medical history, and onset of symptoms and examine the patient to determine the general physical condition, including using special diagnostic tests. Once the nature and extent of the mental disorder is determined, they formulate an appropriate treatment programme, using a variety of psychotherapeutic methods and medications.

A psychiatrist's knowledge-base includes medicine, psychology, therapy and counselling. Personal skills that mark out a good psychiatrist include active listening, the ability to speak and converse with patients, perceptiveness, and sensitivity.

Prospects: Psychiatrists typically work in hospitals or in private practice, and you get to be one by studying Psychiatry at the MD or Post-Diploma level after MBBS.

In India's tradition-based society, there is a general tendency towards denying and concealing emotional and mental disorders. These are looked upon with a sense of shame, and often loosely categorised as "madness". The increasing levels of stress and the break-up of joint families where a mentally or emotionally disordered person could be kept in a support group of family members is leading to a recognition of such disorders as something which need treatment. This trend is likely to create the need for a far larger number of psychiatrists than has been the case so far.

The writer is career coach at Career Guidance India



Your ticket to US colleges
Arindam Mukherjee

The SAT 1 Reasoning Test is a standardised test for college admissions in the United States, Canada and Singapore. The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board. The test is intended to assess a student's readiness for college.

A standardised test

The SAT Reasoning Test is a standardised test which means that the test you take and the conditions you take it in - the scoring, the timing, the testing environment, etc. - will be the same for you as it is for a student taking the test in another country.

Test structure

The SAT consists of 10 separately timed sections:

l Three sections test critical reading (70 minutes total)

l Three sections test mathematics (70 minutes total)

l Three sections test writing (60 minutes total)

l One variable (unscored) section tests critical reading, mathematics, or writing (25 minutes total)

There are three areas you are tested on during the 3.45 hour test - Writing, Maths, and Critical Reading. In each area one can score between 200 and 800 points. All scores are in the multiples of 10. You will also see sub scores, like the essay, which ranges from 2 to 12 points, and multiple choice section, which is graded on a 20-80 point scale. These sub-scores contribute to the writing segment of the test.

Your total score will be between 600 and 2400 after combining all sub-scores. Anything above a 1550 is considered good, though to get accepted at some of the more selective universities, like Harvard or Stanford you will need a much higher score. Many universities may choose to look at your Critical Reading and Mathematics sub-score as an application requirement.

The questions range from easy, medium to hard. Easier questions typically appear closer to the beginning of the section while harder questions are towards the end in certain sections. Given below is the average SAT 1 scores of the Top 15 universities in USA.

A good SAT score

Students and parents generally want to know about the good SAT score. The pithy answer is there is no such good SAT score. A score may be good or bad depending on the pool of applicants at the institution of your choice. At some colleges a 1600 out of a 2400 score is above average, while at other schools, applicants with that kind of score wouldn't even be eligible to apply. At some of the more elite universities, a 2100 could be insufficient.

It's always wise to look at the test score ranges at individual schools. You can find these scores on the College Board, College 411 and the Federal College Navigator. It is also a good idea to browse through the Fiske Guide to College.

What it measures

The SAT is supposed to give colleges an idea of how applicants would perform in their first year of college. The College Board developed a readiness benchmark that indicates that a score of 1550 (out of a 2400 scale) means students have a 65 per cent likelihood of achieving a B-average or higher during their first year in college.

Score Choice - Thanks to Score Choice, you may cherry pick the scores you want your school of choice to see, though not every college affords that option. However, in such a case you should not avail of the free score reporting offered by College Board.

Test dates

Many students in India take the test in the summer of their Grade 11 year and then again in their Grade 12 year in an attempt to improve their SAT score.

The next available SAT 1 test administrations in India are on May 5, 2012 and June 2, 2012. The dates for the Oct, Nov, Dec 2012 and Jan 2013 dates are yet to be published.

The writer is Manager (International Education) CL Educate Ltd.



Just appraisal
D. C. Sharma

Performance appraisal system has become a routine in almost all companies today. But only a few among them know the real value of implementing such a system which actually is meant to nurture the potential of the workforce. The traditional system of sending the annual confidential report of an employee is in vogue today with the concept that it gives a judgement about the work performance of an employee on the basis of which his promotion and perks are determined. But how far has such a system proved its value and worth still remains an unanswered question.

The financial year 2011-12 is nearing its end and most of the companies are busy preparing lists of the plus and minus points about the work, conduct and behaviour of the employees. With more than 50 days remaining for the officers, who are preparing the annual confidential reports of their employees, to make a final judgment, there still is time for them to make their appraisal reports worthwhile.

The officer making such a judgment must ensure whether the employee whose annual report is being prepared had been given ample opportunity to prove his real worth and to exhibit his real potential while performing his duties. 

He must ensure whether the job assigned was a realistic one and attainable within the time frame allotted to the employee concerned. The officer concerned must also ensure whether the employee in question was kept under any type of fear or pressure that may have affected his performance.

It has been observed often that at many workplaces, the workers are kept under insecurity and constant tension about the termination of their services in case they do not please their boss. In such a case the submission of an annual report about the output of an employee has no validity and can even be challenged in the court of law as per the rules provided, if any.

One can't negate the value of an annual performance report as it is a good measure to reward good workers and to motivate others to give their best. But after how much time should such a report be prepared and submitted is a question that should be decided independently by each and every company. Whatever the way and the procedure adopted by a company, it must be brought to the knowledge of each and every employee well in advance so that the employee concerned knows the details of the said report.

Very often it has been seen that an employee is not informed about the person to whom he is answerable. While working under different bosses in the same office an employee often doesn't know who is going to make his performance report. Such a dilemma often creates a lot of confusion among even the most diligent and sincere employees too, thus affecting their performance.

Not only this, often employees are not even aware as to when their performance is going to be judged. They need to know all this, as after all they, too, have to give finishing touches to the work completed.

In some companies the performance appraisal is submitted quarterly, in others six monthly, still in others annually, all this must be brought to the knowledge of the employees concerned. If the employees are kept in the dark in this respect, the consequences may tell upon the health of the company concerned.

Each and every employee must also be well informed, and that too well in advance, whether work alone, or work, conduct and behaviour, or all these things are to be judged in the appraisal. In the later case the employees must also know what is meant by conduct and behaviour as per that company's rules. The employees must also be made aware of the correct "definition" of sincerity. For example some class four employees had earned the wrath of their officer and had got adverse remarks for not washing the clothes of their officer, though it was nowhere mentioned in that company's rules that the said employees had to do this duty too.

In many companies performance is measured by the yardstick of output of an employee. But what is meant by output is often never made clear to the employees. So many scientists in different medical companies have been researching for some panacea to cure certain incurable diseases for the past many years. And though they are doing their level best, and that too most sincerely, yet no final cure has so far been discovered. Would it mean that such scientists have given no substantial output? Answers to all such ambiguous questions must be made crystal clear to the employees before the company concerned makes any performance appraisal?

Mind it the performance appraisal report is meant to enhance output, and not to keep the productive and constructive employees under the officer's thumb.

The writer is a psychologist and a career expert



Happiness @ work
Gems of ancient wisdom
Plan first or panic later

The total effort required to get some work done in most situations remains the same. So keep your cool, prepare in advance and deal with it in small instalments. Last-minute tackling of the situation will lead to panic.

In April 1858, Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi was on the run. So she went to Rao Saheb’s camp at Kalpi. In his overconfidence, Rao Saheb gave a deaf ear to Lakshmibai’s suggestions on disciplining the forces and having a strong rearguard. Naturally, the Brits took over Kalpi in 1858. The defeated forces went to Gwalior and Rao Saheb proclaimed his leadership of the Maratha confederacy there. Again, Rao Saheb, assuming he had lots of time, neglected the army. When the British hit Gwalior, the brave queen of Jhansi was martyred in the ensuing fight.

Razia Sultana, daughter of Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish of the Slave Dynasty, didn’t plan her love life well. She was in love with her childhood friend Altunia. When she made him the Governor of Bathinda, he asked Razia to marry him. Citing the various affairs of state as the reason, she refused. Later, her decision to appoint Abyssinian Jamal-ud-din Yaqut as Amirul Umra (chief of nobles) didn’t go well with the other nobles. So they poisoned Altunia’s mind about Razia’s relationship with Yaqut. Altunia rebelled; Razia marched to Bathinda in 1240, lost and was captured. Finally, Razia gave in to Altunia’s request and the two got married. But in the meantime, Razia’s half-brother Behram usurped the throne of Delhi. In the battle against Behram that followed, the couple was killed.

In the British era, plague hit Pune. First, the authorities were indifferent, and then they went into overdrive. Charles Rand was appointed Plague Commissioner and he authorised the use of force to ‘disinfect’ the city. A resident Damodar Hari Chaphekar shot Rand.

Instead of trying to surmount a massive target in one go, look at it as a collection of smaller and feasible ones.

— Sai R. Vaidyanathan

The writer can be contacted at