BENGALURU: Smitha Murthy was 23 when she started her career in the IT sector. Now, in her early 40s, after heading several roles in various organisations, she mentors young engineers and entrepreneurs. She catches up with them for a coffee or a movie and advises them on what her experience has taught her, most of which, she wishes she could tell her 23-year-old self.
“I would tell myself to go easy with the activist thing,” she laughs. Explaining the scenario, she shares that when she was working in Pune, she realised her office timings were half-an-hour longer than the Bengaluru hours. “All we had to do was to go and talk to the head of the department and ask why. But no!” she says. “We had to form that little gang and go into the full activist mode,” she adds. We have to learn from our “stupid little mistakes,” she says.
Smitha had always been a topper in school, but she acknowledges that being a topper does not mean you know everything. “It took me a little while to realise that, but I did anyway,” she says. “I wish I had someone to guide me on this. I may not have listened, but I would have been warned,” she adds.
A few years after getting starting her career and working endless hours, she got into meditation, which helped her remain calm. Besides meditation, she found friendship in dogs. “It took me years to realise that humans to make good friends,” she laughs.
Be like a dog
Human beings need to give or take things to add value to life, but does add value just by being there, says Smitha. “I want to be able to do that. On days she is not working or travelling, she visits Cubbon Park and makes friends with the strays. “It’s unfortunate that my travelling schedule refrains me from having a dog at home,” she sighs.
Smitha, besides having a difficult working schedule, where she works for 16 hours at times, enjoys good sitcoms. How does she avoid getting addicted? She and her friends follow a buddy system, which involves keeping a check on each others' TV habits. “I also tell myself that only if I complete this much work, shall I reward myself with entertainment,” she says.
Relax, take it easy
Smitha comments the younger generation for taking risks to establish themselves as entrepreneurs. But she adds that it “breaks her” to see them give it all for ideas that will not work. “I try to channelise my own experience to help them as a friend,” she says. She has been informally mentoring since 2003, but this year, she has mentored over 12 young entrepreneurs. “My last bit of advice is to chill and go easy on themselves,” she concludes. Her future plans include giving coaching to the HR fraternity and working on mind management.