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Photo by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash

Her lip trembled as She considered her next step. The professor had just finished discussing a particularly challenging case study with the class. As he stood patiently, waiting for the discussion to start, the class quietly contemplated what the company they had discussed about should do next.

Looking at the data She did have a fair idea. But it would be a risky move — risky for the company in the case study to follow, riskier still for her to bring up in class.

Memories of her undergraduate class flooded her mind. The constant taunts of being a know-it-all, the impatient sighs whenever She got up to present. The eye-rolls. She remembered their faces as clear as day, their eyes indicating their frustration as her hand went up in the air once more. …


And the Importance of Being Honest With Yourself

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Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

Our lives are full of decisions and choices. While we may want every decision we take to be our own, quite often that isn’t the case.

Having grown up in a typical, middle-class family in India, my life resembled that of thousands of others around me. Immense academic pressure, a never-ending list of expectations from family, teachers, and society, and major life decisions being made by others were common experiences.

While walking the path that society had laid out for me, I began to waver. Grades dropped, happiness dipped, confidence plummeted. Every misstep was met by the near and dear with passionate attempts to “get me back on track”. Shame and the constant threat of “what will people say?” …


Looking for the Perfect Suitor

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Photo by AMISH THAKKAR on Unsplash

I rub my eyes as I enter the 7th straight hour of browsing LinkedIn. I’ve lost track of what I was originally doing and am now just staring, semi-paralytic and dribbling down my front.

My MBA degree sits silently in the corner, gathering dust.

I get a notification about a new job posting and immediately click through. Same old story. Associate-level job with a list of requirements longer than my ex’s penis. I feel like I’m in an old-timey arranged marriage situation. …


My experience with COVID-19 testing in India

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Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

The world is filled with stories about the COVID-19 pandemic. At the risk of being repetitive, I would like to share my recent experience of getting tested for the disease.

After having arrived in India from Dublin, via Dubai, I went into home quarantine as instructed at the airport. On the 7th day after my arrival, I started showing a few symptoms. I had a mild fever, constant headache, scratchy throat and experienced tiredness. Having a recent travel history and starting to show symptoms around the median incubation period, I decided to call the state helpline and ask for guidance. …


A day in the life of a hypocrite

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Photo by Christian Hebell on Unsplash

I start my day blowing my nose into a tissue in a most satisfying manner. My clogged sinuses breathe a sigh of relief as the cool morning air flows into my lungs through my clean nostrils. As soon as the tissue drops from my fingers into the bin, I reach for my sanitiser, rubbing the pungent gel vigorously onto my hands.

I walk into the kitchen to fix myself a cup of coffee. There on the counter is a largish pool of liquid, glistening menacingly. Clearly, my flatmate left in a hurry, not bothering to wipe what he spilt. …


5 traits of a highly toxic workplace

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I loved teen movies during my young adult years. Whether it was a cheesy coming-of-age film or long-winded TV drama with a non-existent plot, I devoured them all. I enjoyed the exaggerated hilarity and thanked my stars that my high school experience was a minor inconvenience in comparison.

So you can imagine how surprised I was when a few weeks into my job, I started living an actual teen drama. And in all the worst ways possible.

Toxic work places can take on many forms, some so subtle, you’ll barely notice you’re in a bad environment. But if you spot the following not-so-subtle behaviours and signs at your workplace, it may be time to have a serious conversation with HR about your future at the company. …


Passing time when you’re job hunting

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Job hunting can get frustrating. But don’t let it get you down!

I have been job hunting for the past six months now. I started with great optimism just as my MBA course came to an end. With degree in hand and a carefully crafted CV at my disposal, I set out to find a job that would give my career a new direction and my life a new perspective. I was quite excited to put to practical use all the things that I had learnt in business school.

The first few months were agony, especially navigating my feelings when I watched my classmates get jobs while dealing with constant rejection myself. …


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It is 8:30 am on a Friday morning. I wake up with a crick in my neck from having fallen asleep on my arm while watching Netflix the previous night. I groan in agony as my surroundings start to make sense to me. I have just remembered that I had started cleaning my room the previous day, got distracted and left a whole bunch of things lying on the floor for me to clear later. Ah, fuck.

I wade through the debris of my cleaning exploits as I head for the kitchen, desperately in need of coffee and a great excuse to not have to clean. As I wait for the kettle to boil I look at the smear of chocolate spread left on the kitchen counter by my grown-ass flatmate that morning. The kitchen wipes are 2 feet away from the glistening smear. It looks recent, it looks nonchalant, it has the words ‘don’t give a shit’ stamped all over it. …


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I wake up in a daze on the 27th of October. My internal clock tells me it is 6:30 am. Time to freshen up, wear the warmest sportswear I can find and run along the harbour. I eye my phone with suspicion, the faintest doubt rising in my mind.

Why hasn’t my alarm gone off yet?

I lie in my bed waiting. My deep breathing is a stark contrast to the silent dawn. There is no howling wind, no rustling leaves, no chirping birds. Only silence. I grow impatient.

Why hasn’t my alarm gone off yet?

Well, I think. Any moment now, as I wait in my bed fully awake and fully capable of getting up and getting on with my day, my phone will tell me to get up and get on with my day. I look out the window and see the faintest tinge of navy in the black sky. Somewhere beyond the horizon, the sun is preparing for its grand entry to Dublin. I think about life. …

About

Swathi Shenoy

Mostly harmless

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