Juggling a Communications Role with Art Entrepreneurship
Recently, we celebrated International Women’s Day at Schneider Electric and all over the world. I felt empowered to share my flexible work journey and how Schneider has empowered me to be #EachforEqual.
2015 was the year that I bid goodbye to the proverbial “Monday blues at work”. Why do I say that? Since joining Schneider Electric in September 2015, in my last 4.5 years, I have never experienced any kind of blues when returning to work after a weekend/vacation/ etc. Excitement and enthusiasm filled me on day 1 of work and continues to fill me to this day. Besides, what kind of blues is one going to feel when the workplace is less of a workplace and more of a familiar home.
My first experience of the Schneider work culture was in 2014 as a summer intern with the Global Learning & Development Team. After completing my MBA program, I joined Schneider again as a Communications Specialist for the Medium Voltage Switchgear Line of Business (now Medium Voltage Offers business part of Power Systems Division in Energy Management). Managing communications for a global business means my team never sat in my location and my stakeholders were spread across the world. Initially, I wondered, am I going to feel like I belong in such a diverse work culture? Will my global team appreciate my ideas? How much freedom will I be given in my role?
Schneider pleasantly surprised me on all accounts.
Be who you want to be
One thing I really enjoy about working here is you never play by the rulebook. If you ask me to describe my work areas, I would say- an assorted sweet box! Although my background is in Branding & Communications, I have had the privilege of working on different projects on Learning, Well-being, Diversity & Inclusion and manage dual roles with R&D India, Energy Business, and more. Roles and responsibilities that were well beyond my actual scope. Every time I wanted to do something different or was very enthusiastic about an ongoing program at Schneider in India or globally, my managers were more than happy to let me contribute. They have always allowed me flexible working with my interests.
Pursue your passions
Pursuing your passion and having a corporate job need not always be mutually exclusive. In 2019, I expressed my desire to go back to school and pursue entrepreneurship with my then manager. I had prepared a goodbye message for the meeting, but my manager suggested a better plan with flexible work in mind. While I was a student, I wore two hats – studying and remotely managing my work responsibilities. It was not an easy task but the company was so supportive that it was very seamless. After the programme, I decided to focus on my passion– art. My art venture got investor funding and I was raring to go but my heart was still with Schneider Electric.
Flexibility at work
Today, I proudly let people know that I am not just an Art Entrepreneur but also an Internal Communications Leader at Schneider Electric. Schneider, my manager, and team are largely instrumental in helping me explore, experience and execute both my roles. With ease I was able to rescope my work, be mindful of my workload and allow myself complete freedom and flexibility in work hours, schedule and pace. My team is not just accommodating but also regularly offers me help and ideas for my art venture.
That’s why I say there are no blues but a variety of vivid colours and positive feelings in my job.
At Schneider Electric, we promote an inclusive work environment as we believe in a world where we are all #EachforEqual. Our inclusive Global Flexibility Principles empower and meet the need of both women and men to manage their unique life and work. Flexibility is for everyone and can be seen in ways such as flexible working hours, telecommuting, Activity-based working, Flexible holidays, Part-Time, Volunteering, Flexible Dress Code and more.
If you’re interested in a meaningful, inclusive and empowering career and working for a company with flexibility, check out our jobs and apply today at www.se.com/careers.
About the Author
Pooja Shirali is an Internal Communications Leader for Medium Voltage Offers LoB and is based in Schneider India. She graduated from MICA with an MBA in Branding & Communications and subsequently from Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) in Creative and Cultural Business. She is on a flexible work policy and in her part-time, she also runs an art venture -Mirrah, whose mission is to bring people closer to art through art products, art walks and events like art battles.