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No working woman, no cry

How does a modern woman strike a work-life balance? Seema Goswami has answers, says Namita Bhandare.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2007 17:29 IST

Woman on Top: How Get Ahead at Work
Author: Seema Goswami
Publisher: Random House
Pages:152
Price: 200

In the 16 years, and more that I have known her, I’ll say this for Seema Goswami: she’s never been short of an opinion or shy about voicing it.

Right from her days as Features Editor of the now defunct Sunday magazine and, later, as Editor of Graphiti, The Telegraph’s Sunday magazine that she
launched, Seema has had all the answers for which we’ve had only questions.

Many of these eminently common-sensical solutions find expression in Brunch, the magazine this paper produces every Sunday and for which Seema writes a
column called ‘Spectator’. Boyfriend problems? Seema has the answer. Stuck with a gift you don’t really want? Seema will know what to do.What does one wear for a job interview? Ask Seema.

So it comes as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with her work that Seema would sit down to write a ‘how-to’ book — in this case How to Get Ahead
at Work, the subtitle of Woman on Top. In her typical chatty style, Seema runs
the gamut from first impressions to office romances and staying fit to striking a work-life balance.

Woman on Top is not a feminist rant. Though it is an ‘essential book for every
working woman’, it neither offers bleeding heart sympathy nor does it adopt
the tone of an outraged crusader. If anything, the book is unapologetically politically incorrect: physical appearances do matter; sexual harassment is not that uncommon in the workplace and the glass ceiling remains in place (“For every Naina Lal Kidwai or Indra Nooyi, who seem to rise effortlessly, there are thousands of career women who stop just short of their full potential.”).

Instead, what the author sets out to do is offer practical, news-to-use type tips to women on surviving the workplace jungle. How do you write a killer
resume? What are the common rookie mistakes at an interview, and how does
one avoid them? How do you look the part of a hardworking employee? (Don’t
take long lunches.) How do you deal with office politics? What are the 10 golden
rules of dealing with the boss?

Though the book has been written for women, much of the advice it dishes out could be useful to men too. Yet, this book does have a strong working woman focus: striking a work-life balance is much more of an issue with women than men.

So, how does a modern working woman with ambitions of getting ahead in her chosen career make time for her family? The book offers invaluable advice, again from a solid, common-sense perspective. With the number of women in the workplace on the rise in India, this book is both contemporary and relevant. An everywoman guide that, unlike many other self-help books, offers solid, practical advice.
E-mail Namita: nbhandare@hindustantimes.com