Accept, adapt, achieve: Apurva Purohit

30 Jul,2013


By Ritu Midha


‘Lady, You’re Not A Man!’ authored by Apurva Purohit took me back to year 2005 when I was working with a leading corporate as an AGM, setting up its online operations. All was well till one fine day in the appraisals, I got the rating of a consistent performer after having been an outstanding achiever for the two years prior to that.


I decided I was a misfit in a male-dominated marketing function since was poor at networking and quit the organization at the first opportunity. In hindsight, I realised that I had just been moved from MD’s office to Marketing (on my own request), neither the marketing head nor the MD (who had just joined the organization, the CEO who had recruited me had moved on) knew hands-on what I had delivered, and what I was capable of. Moreover, not everyone in the organisation was rated as consistent performer. And that has been my only regret in life, leaving the organisation, without thinking through the decision smartly. A bad idea!


I did not only find characters I could relate to in the book, but also myself. Written in a lucid, conversational style, Apurva Purohit’s book is laced with humour as it takes us through real situations in corporate and everyday life.


While on one hand it deliberates on work-life balance, on the other, it effectively discusses office situations – and how to deliver to one’s potential.  She effectively brings to fore situations and circumstances that influence their career, and insists that these are not insurmountable.  Some of these in a gentle, funny way.


Divided into three parts – Acceptance, Adapting and Achievements, ‘Lady, You’re Not A Man!’ discusses the nuances of being a woman, demolishes the myth that it is man’s world still, and nudges the women to accept their reality: the differences between men and women that are a given, and which are not a barrier for the women who know their worth, adapt and persevere.


The first thing that catches attention is the book’s tagline, “The Adventures of A Woman At Work’. Smiles Apurva, “From the onset I desired to make it clear that the book was neither about feminism and bra burning, nor about projecting women as downtrodden objects of pity. The book is a positive manifestation of working women – of course there are challenges, but there is fun too!”


The inspiration for the book came from the various lectures that well-known organizations and institutions invite the Radio City 91.1 CEO to speak at. “While lecturing, there was a lot of resonance with the audiences and many of the women wrote to me long after the talk about how it impacted them, ” she says. “But one can only reach a limited number of people through lectures.The thought of penning a book that would reach a much wider set of people germinated from there.”


Her view on women in corporate India: “While there might be 39% women at the junior management level, at middle management it reduces to around 15%, and on top management level, it’s just 3%. Women just drop out while climbing up the ladder. There are a multitude of reasons. They have to realise that everybody’s life is nearly same. You need to find solutions, and not give up.”


Marvelling at the way various characters in her anecdotes come to life, I can’t resist but ask her if she started observing people more closely once she decided to write the book. “No,” she exclaims, “It was really amazing. A number of stories were already there in my mind. There were sub-conscious learnings from these anecdotes. In the 25 year of my career, I have worked and interacted with so many women. They have shared things happening in their personal and professional life with me. I have even advised many of them on how to tackle a situation. So it was all there – some vivid, and some in my sub-conscious that came out when I sat down to express myself.” Some of the more interesting anecdotes have been pulled from her personal life.


Moving to the three sections of the books – Acceptance, Adapting and Achievement – though it seems like a logical flow, can really there be three phases in life cleanly divided. “Of course not”, states Apurva, “All the three run parallel. One might be in acceptance state for something, while we are already adapting to something else – all the three can happen simultaneously. What I have discovered, that in many cases while acceptance happens, adapting does not come easy. To gain achievement, adapting is critical.”


Quite a few times in life, women have the potential, they continue with their jobs too, but fail to deliver to their full potential. Apurva reacts to this with a “Yes”, saying: “The biggest reason for this is lack of self-esteem. They always think of themselves as lesser than their potential. You need to have a high self-esteem! A lot of what you achieve is a reflection of your inner positive self. If you calmly observe the situation, you can overcome the bias from within.”


And what is the biggest motivation for Apurva Purohit herself? She states, “It is how to influence as many people as possible to deliver to the best of their potential. I am happy with what I have attained so far professionally and personally. However, the dreams are never-ending.”


Venturing into a territory, which she believes is blown out of proportion – sexual harassment, I tell her that there is also reverse sexual harassment in corporate these days. “Bosses sometimes take advantage of their junior females colleagues and women find themselves in a tight spot. There are also women professionals at junior levels, who try to incorrectly approach their bosses to get things done. In such cases, bosses should just ignore the advances. Seeing through and walking away is the thing to do However, in my entire career, I have not seen reverse sexual harassment.”


She discusses these, and many other topics of great interest to working women in ‘Lady, You’re Not A Man!’.


As a woman, one can relate to many anecdotes she brings forth and, yes, it’s about time more of us adapted and geared ourselves to attain greater heights.


‘Lady, You’re Not A Man!’ – The Adventures of A Woman At Work

By Apurva Purohit

Rupa Publications

Pages: 184 paperback, Price: Rs 195

On sale at bookstores, online and on Kindle from August 1 onwards


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One response to “Accept, adapt, achieve: Apurva Purohit”

  1. Himanshu Agarwal says:

    I am buying this book!

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