It is fairly challenging to be a woman and work. I think that, women have a tendency to be preoccupied with things that may have happened at home or have to be done later – even when we are in office. So, we need to put in double the effort to get our work through.
Shivani Atreya, Senior Deputy General Manager, Process Division, L&T Engineering Services, Faridabad shares her journey on how she has successfully balanced the two worlds of life within and outside of office for 21years now.
Born in a small town of Himachal Pradesh, the urge to pursue Engineering led her to join REC, Jalandhar to pursue her dream. She joined as a GET in IPCL which was eventually taken over by Reliance. After spending 10 long years in Mumbai, she along with her husband moved to Faridabad to join L&T Engineering Services in May 2005.
Tell us about your early days in L&T…
I joined L&T in the Delhi Marketing Network Office, Motinagar as a Lead Engineer. We mostly worked on Proposals. The building in Faridabad was under construction then. A few months later, we shifted to the present building on April 13th, 2006 – the day we celebrate as Foundation Day every year now.
Can you share some of your earliest memories of Faridabad Campus?
The building comprised only three floors. LTEN was seated in the 2nd Floor and we were a team of just 50 odd people. Since it was a small team, we had celebrations for every occasion. It was a very informal and friendly environment to work in.
Anyone still here now from the time you joined?
Yes… Anjana Sagar, Ayush Pande, Rajesh Rustogi, Atul Kumar
Which was your first Project with LTEN?
Panipat Naphtha on 21st May, 2006. It was in fact the first project received by LTEN. Earlier, we used to work only on Pre-bids.
How have you created a work and family life balance? Any challenges you faced as a working Woman?
Honestly, it is all about priorities. And they depend on the situation and context at the moment. There are times when it is required to put in those extra hours at the office, or visit sites, or attend meetings. It is necessary that our families understand these demands and pressures and support us wholeheartedly. And in this respect, I have been quite fortunate. The love and understanding of my wonderful family has given me the room to achieve all this and more.
Moreover, it is fairly challenging to be a woman and work. I think that, we women have a tendency to be preoccupied with things that may have happened at home or have to be done later – even when we are in office. So, we need to put in double the effort to get our work through.
What change have you noticed between your working style and that of the present generation?
There are definitely some changes in the working styles of the two generations. We were more than happy to take on more work and responsibilities in the beginning of our careers. However, the incoming generation is more relaxed – they want to maintain the work-life balance from the beginning itself. It may not be a healthy practice as it is necessary to take up core responsibilities initially since it will help them learn better.
You have been working as a Lead Engineer right from the moment you joined here. What message would you give other Leads based on your experience of handling teams?
I feel the Leads need to let their subordinates take up more responsibilities. They can provide guidance, of course. But, total control with one person will result only in one brain working and the rest simply executing it. Instead, the idea should be to engage the whole team in an effective thinking and carrying out the work with responsibility.
What are your thoughts on “Work from home”?
The concept of “Work from Home” is not really suited to our kind of work, since we have to interact with various disciplines in our day to day work. Instead, flexi-timing is a suitable alternative. People have to work for 9 hours and 10 minutes irrespective of when they arrive at office.
What do you enjoy apart from office?
I enjoy reading and was a voracious reader but now I rarely have the time. All my time goes in studying Class 5 textbooks of my daughter! I also enjoy cooking and follow cooking shows to explore new recipes.
Any Book you would suggest our readers?
“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” — a story that has taught me a lot about life. I would also suggest “Pather Panchali” (although I have read it in English translation) as a great read.
Any funny incident you would like to share…
Once, we had a Rangoli competition at office. The men competed against the women. I headed the Woman’s team while my husband who worked in LTEN headed the Men’s Team. As expected the men performed terribly. It was really funny competing against your husband.
Best thing about L&T…
No office politics, in my opinion and people are ready to work always no matter what.
1 thing you would like to change….
Working Saturdays, most definitely.
As told to Ananya and Pritha
Text editing by Shruti.