Being Essential is Cool!

By Gauri Chalke.

Gauri ChalkeThere has never been a better time to be a young woman professional. Older or younger generations may have a different view but as a woman from the millennial generation, I find today to be the best time ever.

What really sets us apart? According to, millennials are 2.5 times more likely to adopt a new technology, 46% of millennials post online photos or videos that they have themselves created, they are content creators. But what really sets us apart, is that for us, useful is the new cool. Thoughts, technology, people that serve a purpose are cool. If I have to say it in IBM parlance, to be essential is to be cool.

IBM is my first job after I did my masters and it has been an absolutely fantastic journey so far. IBM is one organization which celebrates diversity – both in thought and person and hence it is the perfect place for a wild duck like me. At IBM, we are encouraged to integrate our interests with the work we do, and hence, both our professional and personal goals are equally respected. There are many reasons why IBM is a great place for a young woman professional, but the one that’s turned me into a true blue IBMer is it being an equal opportunity organization. The same survey states that 1 out of 4 millennials today are working parents and both men and women believe that parenthood is a partnership. IBM understands this and its work environment provides that support system to not just its women but also to its men.

I work with IBM as a HR Advisor and engage with Business Leaders for their people strategy. I have however realized over time that it takes more than just my job to keep me going at the workplace. I have this constant urge to do something a tad different, new and brilliant every year. For an organization with 105 years of legacy, IBM has never ceased to amaze me with its wonderful opportunities. There is always something new to do and something new to learn. You can reach out to almost anyone across the globe to be a part of something that interests you and that’s all it takes.

That’s another thing I love about IBM, people here are very inclusive. Being collaborative is a part of an IBMer’s DNA. Strategy can never be a solo sport. In IBM, we work together as one team to do work that matters. This is clearly reflected in how we co created Checkpoint – our new performance management system and also how thousands of IBMers are collaborating across the globe to collectively provide cognitive solutions. It can’t get more inclusive than that!

As I reflect on my 5 years with IBM, I find it amazing that every year has been different than the other. I have worked on some awesome projects, steeply increased my learning curve, got married, moved across 3 cities, lent my voice to IBM’s transformation, backpacked across Europe, gone on an expedition with the Indian Army, made some amazing friends at work, found myself the most wonderful mentors, put my hand up for work that interested me, gritted my teeth and pulled through some challenging episodes… the list can go on!!!

As Millennials we are well educated, skilled in technology, very self-confident, able to multi-task, and have plenty of energy. Our expectations are high, we prefer to work in teams, we are interested in continuous feedback, seek challenges, yet work life balance is of utmost importance to us. I love how IBM is agile enough to cater to all the generations that form a part of its workforce. Diversity thrives in this organization’s culture. You can work with some of the most brilliant minds and have several opportunities to join the transformation conversations and impact change. I love being part of an organization that strives to make a difference. If this is what I can accomplish in these last 5 years, I can’t wait to explore what the coming years will bring!

Gauri Chalke is HR Advisor with IBM India. You can find her on Linkedin and Twitter

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