In early 2020, two workers approached Mark and Grace and offered their time as mentors on one condition - only if Headstart could benefit from this. Little did they know that Mark and Grace had been praying for and just recently spoke about this being a need as the Headstart community had grown. Meet Shashi and Olivia - our Headstart mentors - in this funny, sincere and insightful interview or better still, meet them in person at our next Headstart here.
Shashi and Olivia, how has COVID hit you guys? You’ve been married a couple of years now - have you noticed any changes or discovered anything new about yourselves?
[Shashi] The better question should have been, what have you learnt about each other!
I have learnt how much time travel and evening client meetings (AKA dinning out) takes of my time, travelling 2-3 times a month plus 3 or 4 client dinners a month adds up to a lot of time that I have all of a sudden got back! Not being able to travel domestically or international has certainly kept me at home a lot more. This has been the longest since 2006 that I have not been on a flight, and this has been the longest continuous stretch that Olivia and I have spent together! (we have a live in councillor now… *smirk*)
... also, I think I overheard Olivia saying, "I have learnt how wonderful my husband is. He is the rock in our relationship (and very attractive) and I am full of adoration for who he is and all he does."
[Olivia] ... ... The pandemic has meant I work from home full time now. There are upsides to this such as not having to deal with peak hour traffic and I get more natural light when working from home. It has also helped me appreciate the simpler things in life (hearing the birds chirp and wearing comfy clothes whilst working) and being grateful for those I know being safe and well. It has increased opportunities to look out for others and encourage each other along in different and more purposeful ways than before. I have discovered that I took for granted how good were those random kitchen conversations at work or heading out for a coffee with coworkers for getting to hang out with all sorts of people you would never get to do that with other than that you are stuck in the same workplace.
[Editorial note: I think we can see who is the larrikin in this relationship. The Editor also felt awkward at some points in this virtual interview... *thwiddling thumbs and whistling* ☺]
Now I know you guys and your jobs. You have a fair bit on your working plate - Shashi... as you do the whole start up, consulting tech thing and Olivia... as you do the whole trademark lawyer consulting thing for large multinationals - so why watch another zoom session on a Monday evening at Headstart? Surely, there is something better to do with your time! Zoom fatigue is real!
[Olivia] Yeahhh so true Mark... Zoom and screen fatigue is real! Monday at Headstart is a wonderful opportunity for me to hear how new workers are going with figuring out how to deal with work, career, themselves under pressure etc. It can be a time of big changes and unknowns for many. And perhaps there may be times where I can support and encourage them on, and share insights from my experience as to how to go about work that may help them on their way.
[Shashi] Well Netflix does have a lot of cool stuff, (ie “meat hunter” if you are not on it).. but Netflix is on demand so I can always play catch up. I am also doing a capital raise right now.. so looking for anyone with a trust fund ☺
So why Headstart… I was fortunate enough in my early career to be mentored by an older Christian guy who really helped me accelerate my professional development. Whilst we never really had in-depth conversations about faith, he modelled a Christian and work life that helped me set up my work-life-faith patterns. So why Headstart (instead of Netflix), the opportunity to help some other young people manage the work-life-faith challenges that are enroute.
[Olivia] So Headstart or Netflix? Headstart it is ☺
WOW! I gotta get off those soppy K-dramas that my wife has me watching on Netflix and more of this meat hunter stuff. But I digress... Thanks for investing your time in us in this way. This term, we are looking at add ons that don’t add up. What is one thing that has stuck with you so far? What are you looking forward to in the rest of this term?
[Shashi] I work in sales so I am big fan of the add on. Not sure what you guys have against it!
One thing that has stuck was the first week on work-life balance. The work-life balance thing is a myth. Your employer will tell you it is important, but, end of the day when you're starting your career, the person that generally gets noticed is not the smartest, but the hardest working. Finding out the medium, between how to work hard and how to honour God in that, is the challenge we all have. You need to consider who is in the cubical with you (pre-COVID), and how in this time of long hours, you can build genuine relationships and connections that could lead to gospel opportunities.
[Olivia] Work is a meaningful part of our lives. We get to meet people at work who we would not meet otherwise, and we get to share the good with them. Work is something that can be such a good thing! And work really forces you to figure what person God wants you to be in this world, and what person you want to be. A part of that is for new workers to figure out a good work ethic and have that be their guiding star. I am looking forward to seeing and hearing how those at Headstart support each other in figuring this out and putting it into action.
So let me finish with this deliberately pointed wording - What do you hope to 'add to' the Headstart community (and just so you feel supported, we’re very confident it will add up!)?
[Shashi] A sounding board, an opportunity for people in the Headstart community to ask questions and get a bit of advice on how to deal with current issues and hopefully sidestep up coming issues. There are a lot of lessons that I have learnt over the years and be great to share some of these so the people in Headstart can do and be better, and not just the working lessons, the life lessons learnt in work.
[Olivia] Shashi just summed it up very well. Yes - not just the working lessons but the life lessons learnt in work.