Meet the Zumeners - Episode 02

April 22, 2022

In the current world, life is fast-paced and driven by technology. A great deal of emphasis is attached to professional development. And in the organized chaos that we are all a part of, we fail to appreciate that we are much more than merely our job titles. Amidst all the hustle and bustle, it is vital that we take a moment to understand how far we have come and how our journey has molded us. Doing so will boost our confidence, help us stay motivated yet grounded, and take us an inch closer to discovering ourselves. As I pen this, I’ve paused to look back and reflect.

A month ago, before starting at Zumen, I actively sought employment opportunities to learn and grow. As a graduate looking to enter the job market: applications, resumes, and preparation for interviews had become a part of my daily routine. While some may believe that it is only the skills that are directly relevant to the job role that makes all the difference in an interview, I however, beg to differ. Although job-centric technical skills are vital, a significant role is played by “cultural and extra-curricular” skills as these skills influence our personality. As I look back now, I personally believe that an ideal mix of role-centric skills and skills acquired while pursuing hobbies/interests got me through my interview at Zumen and has made me who I am today. 

As a child, I was fascinated by mics and was always interested in cultural activities; nevertheless, stage-fright always got the better of me. And it was during this point in my life, that I started pursuing Carnatic music. Little did I know back then that it would equip me with personality skills and not just the ability to sing. As a student of Carnatic music since the tender age of 6, my 18-year musical journey made me discover my strengths and grow as a person, and has helped me overcome difficulties and fear. 

How? 

This is how. 

In pursuit of any hobby or interest, practice and repeated trying hugely impact the outcome. Initially, I wondered why my music teacher made me sing the same music lesson every class. However, after months of repeated singing, I could perform the song even in my sleep, and strangely (then), it sounded better over time. With age comes wisdom is what they say (not sure if that’s entirely true! 😛 ) and it dawned on me very recently (while singing the very same song) that practice and repeated effort lead to better quality output, greater confidence, and make the process of doing something better, effortless. The consistent training has a domino effect and helps maintain consistency and cultivates discipline – crucial personality skills that come in handy in life. Waking up at 6:30 AM or bartering playtime to attend music classes did annoy me as a child, but had I not gone that extra mile by pushing myself, would I have blossomed as a singer the same way? I feel not.

 

There were days when I didn’t sing anything at all and had to rest. When my teacher told me that the vocal chord needed rest just like any other organ, the 11-year-old me thought she was joking and refused to accept the fact. But, as I grew older, I wondered why I had refused to accept that fact back then. And it was mainly because I took my vocal chord for granted as it wasn’t an organ that I could see (like my arms, nose, etc.) This has taught me two lessons : 

  1. Everything deserves to rest now and then, and 
  2. Importance and tangibility are not proportional. 

Keeping these things in mind, I continued attending music classes as an adolescent. They provided me with plenty of opportunities to perform at different stages with a diverse and talented set of individuals. I also understood culture and art better and found joy and peace in performing. This exposure nurtured my team skills, made me more observant, and introduced the concepts of self-satisfaction and introspection. As I grew older, I understood that exploring the different paradigms of music and performing with peers makes you more appreciative (of yourself and your fellow performers), makes you share (sharing is caring whether it’s sharing the stage, the mic, or the lyric sheets!), and enables you to embrace the diversity in perspectives, backgrounds, and appearances. Most importantly, it teaches you time management as there is always a time slot for each stage performance, and when you’re a part of a team, delays in your action will impact the entire team. 

With each passing year, my ‘hobby list’ saw deletions and additions. However, music has, and will always be a default and undeletable list item. With time, I am confident that my musicality will grow with and onto me more. My involvement in music has made me a people person with no stage fright or fear of large crowds. It has humbled me and made me realize that my ‘happy place’ can be intangible and abstract just as musicality. Each musical note is distinct and unique in its own way. And it’s when these different notes come together the magic happens. The same applies to individuals as well. The above takeaways from my musical journey have made me a person who is organized yet spontaneous, who communicates well, and who draws energy and positivity from the surroundings, which are all crucial skills of a customer success executive (my current designation). These takeaways have not only helped me succeed in my interview but have also been helpful at work and home since then. 

Irrespective of whether we pursue or not pursue it intensively, a hobby can teach you lessons and equip you with skills that no time-bound online course or textbook can ever provide.  

Music is the hobby I chose. 

What’s your choice?