WorkTeen's Blog.

Guest Post: ALL MEN ARE PERVERTS WHO CAN'T CONTROL THEMSELVES.


21-July-2016

Published by: Hana Vaid


Hi! I'm publishing a book on feminism. If you'd like to submit an entry for the book, click the link below:

Form

ALL MEN ARE PERVERTS WHO CAN'T CONTROL THEMSELVES.

There, did that get your attention?

If you find yourself agreeing with it, congratulations! You're what most of the internet defines as a feminist.

However, if you found yourself scoffing at the statement and how it unfairly categories all men, then you're what a dictionary, and a well educated individual, would term as a feminist.

Uncomfortable with the generalisation? Well, welcome to a plight faced by most women on a daily basis. Since the day they are born, females are forced to fit into an rigid archetype that mostly expects the unexpected out of them, and slams them as nothing more than a man's source of pleasure, companionship and support. Society itself fails to recognise them as fully functioning human beings capable of thoughts, passions and other things that don't pertain to beauty and rearing children.

Females are reared to adulthood with lessons that lay emphasis on the fact that their importance rest in the hands of their husband, and the ability of their womb. Now, I know what you may be ready to refute my claims with those that speak of the oppression and unfair expectation society sets on men as well, and I fully agree with that. Men have it bad, too. They are taught since the day they are born, that emotions are seen as weaknesses and that power is the ultimate tool of a true man. Society enforces the idea that a father is not as important as a mother in a child's life, and that a boy that doesn't conform to it's ideals, is a weakling.

Men are seen as the representation of power, whilst women are seen as the embodiment of the support or the source, by society. Both genders are heavily mistreated by ideologies constructed in a time when the world was little of what it is today, and when the primary goal was procreation, yet they still seem to be followed. Think of the gravity of this implication by comparing it to a situation in which a doctor prescribes an outdated medicine to its patients. The end result is detrimental, and harmful to both the doctor and the patient. And this is exactly what further segregation, stereotyping and sexism will eventually lead to. And this is exactly what feminism intends to prevent, and fight against.

Okay, you may say, if it's a movement that favours equality, why is it called feminism?

To put it simply, the campaign has been termed as such, in order to do what it was established to do: empower. By titling a fight for equality with a term generally associated with the "weaker" gender, it empowers said gender, and strips the "stronger" gender of the convention that limit it.

Feminism is the fight for equality, that works to support the binary and non binary. So, if you believe in this fight and that all humans are equal, then welcome to the club, dear feminist.

I'm publishing a book about feminism, in a while, and I'd like your opinion on feminism. Fill this form out and send it to me, and I'll add it in my book!


NO.


20-April-2016

The past few weeks at WorkTeen have been sluggish. We haven't been able to find new, cool stuff for our users and it kills us to be in such a scenario. It's not that we don't try. In fact, everyday, we are contacting various people at various organisations through email/phone/text messages and whatever other means of communication known to mankind short of pigeon mail. But wherever we go, we are mostly met with a NO.

We get it, it's the real world, things don't always go your way, learn to deal with it. However, we could have been saved a lot of time and trouble if we were just told beforehand that we can't take high school students. It really gets on our nerves when we write an email/message to them clearly explaining "we are a bunch of HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS who have started a website to help, you guessed it, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS find internships in Mumbai, Bangalore and Jaipur" and then we get a call from them, they discuss internships with us and then tell us, NO, we don't take high school students as interns, only above 18. It's quite ridiculous that people miss these cues so easily. For god's sake, it's in our damn name W-O-R-K-T-E-E-N, you don't need a degree in Linguistics to figure out that the site is meant for high school students. Maybe next time onwards, these organisations could make their caller tunes as Meghan Trainor's NO.

Still, the organisations aren't the only ones to blame, they are quite justified in their position to not take high school students. There is an obvious skills deficiency and a plethora of other issues/pseudo-motivations which prevents them from becoming valuable assets to the organisations they are interning with.

Anyhow, having dealt with so many NOs, we have now started seeing a funny side to all this. By the time we are out of school, we would have an assortment of 'NO' medals and recognition. Here are some of them in no particular order:

The Writer's Ribbon won at the Battle of Bay
The 5th Symphony Cross bestowed upon us for exemplary persistence and perseverance.
The Order of The Healthcare Services conferred upon us for extreme patience.
The Legion of Drama and Tragedy for travelling exceptional distances.

Nevertheless, if things were so easy to come by, everyone would already be interning and WorkTeen wouldn't have a reason to exist. While we are thankful for your laziness, we also secretly curse you for it.

Cheers.


Business Education in high school needs a makeover


29-March-2016

tl;dr: Business Management in IB is a load of bullshit. It needs changing.

If you read past that and haven't decided to close the blog yet, I am going to tell you five reasons why the subject is truly a budding entrepreneur's waste of time and how it should be changed. Before I go any further though, I must offer some credentials. In the past six months, I have been fortunate enough to identify a growing market, put together a team to build a service operational in 3 cities, used so far by about 2000 people. In the process, I have interacted with managing directors, start up founders, professors at foremost scientific institutes of the country, heads of international NGOs all to sell one idea, high school students can add real value to their organisations. I know I have a lot to learn, but compared to the BM students, I'd say I have got a one up on them.

So bear with me, here we go.

  1. The focus on selling is misplaced.

    I know you have a section on marketing. But that deals with marketing undertaken by big budget firms. Targeted practices that work after analysts come up with sheaves of SWOTs. An entrepreneur, first and foremost, is a salesman, so is any businessman. You must be able to sell your product in the first 7 seconds in which you speak to your customer. After that, no one is interested. You can have all the data in the world on the customer's tastes, preferences, motivations, wants, demographics but if you ain't talking, the customer starts walking.

    Personally, I think the BM syllabus focusses a lot less on the last bit. In fact, the most obvious change that is needed is dedicating a semester worth of lectures on selling. Stepping out and actually selling. Hell, the first set of tests should be conducted by putting the students in a sales environment and assessing the sales they make. Then, the approach should move towards the intersection of creativity and marketing. And there should be a huge section on "Effective marketing through online mediums". Small anecdote, the founders of airbnb raised money and marketed their service by selling a box of cheerios. Now how many of us can think of something like that?

    "It's all about that sale, about that sale"

  2. Not enough focus on Negotiating

    I would love to see a business student walk up to me and prove me wrong on this one. Show me a section that tells you negotiating tactics that help you get the deals you want, do's and don'ts of being a good negotiator and a million other things that talk about negotiating as a way of life for a business owner/manager. The syllabus brief talks about building the knowledge and understanding of BM theories and developing student's ability to apply tools and technique. I certainly wonder if it was a mere oversight that they skipped the most integral technique.

    How this should be changed? Teach students the god damn principles and then have them apply it in scenarios. May I suggest a classic on this one? Read McCormack "On Negotiating".

  3. Too much knowledge for its own good

    You can know your entire textbook inside out. But then if that's all you know, you probably can't run a good business. You will only truly understand the subject if you get your hands dirty and sitting in a class reading up on case studies after case studies of other people getting their hands dirty is only going to get you so far. You might feel all good and proud after writing the perfect CUEGIS answer or conducting a SWOT analysis that's got everything covered, however, truth be told, it's a bubble you are building.

    One thing you must know to be a good manager/businessmen/businesswomen is that perfect math never works out.

    So get out there, sell lemonade if you must, or write back to us if you need business ideas, we have about 11 of them. All that knowledge from the BM textbook is practically useless when you are flying by the seat of your pants and trust me, more often than not, that's what you will be doing.

  4. You don't learn anything about product development

    The world needs more innovators/tinkerers/makers and the course just teaches you to manage other people's toys. If manager is all you want to be, IB is a bad investment and making such a significant bad investment early on, I can only pray for your future employer, if you get employed, that is.

    Instead, learn a marketable skill and sell that skill. Products and services arise when there is a demand for them. Try and seek out problems around you and see if you can use your skills to solve them. Learn coding, it's the most valuable 21st Century skill to be honest and you can solve a lot of problems by making a computer do half your work. A good strategy to follow would be to think of ten ideas a day. For more on that, google Becoming an Idea Machine, James Altucher.

  5. It doesn't teach you about failure or rejection.

    It happens all the time, products fail, websites crash, proposals are rejected, VCs shit all over your pitches, people close to you resign and a lot of other things. You need to soldier up and move on. Failures and rejections are the greatest teachers out there and you shouldn't be afraid of it. Hell, you should wear it as a badge of pride. We see rejections from firms every day. Yet, it only motivates to knock at the door harder, we knock till they open up or the door falls down.

    For advice on changing that, I say refer to 3 again. It's quite literally about one thing and that is getting in the mud and rolling with the punches.

  6. What about over-delivery?

    I told you I will tell you five things, but here's an addendum, always over deliver. I never learned that in a class and I bet you never will.

Having said that, I think the syllabus only creates managers. In that case, I say, feel free to work under people doing the tougher stuff in school, like STEM. If you want to change that, get out of your damn bubble, throw away your Get Out of Jail Free Card for IB and truly start building/selling something.

For those of you who think you can really make good with whatever you have learnt in business so far, I invite you to spend 3 months with us and show us that we truly were wrong in having passed up the chance to study this glorious subject.


The Undocumented Founder


31-December-2015

We started off with 3 founders, or that's what my co-founders and friends think. Right from when I conceptualised this website, this entity, or as I would say, my 4th founder's presence has been the most supportive, even if not explicitly expressed.

As I sit here with no tentative plans for New Year's Eve, I cannot help but miss the 4th founder's presence. The highs and lows we have experienced at the helm of WorkTeen have drawn us closer. In the spirit of the year ending, I would like to remember some of those experiences and what they have taught us.

  1. We approached our school to back our idea. I wonder why we did this, it just turned out to be a waste of time. We should have understood that when we had received an incredibly feeble response on our launch, despite other schools and organisations in the city commending our efforts. Yet, it taught us a lesson in trusting people, which was soon reinforced.
  2. About a month and a half into our operations, we saw our first 1000 unique users. It was a huge milestone for us and we expressed our gratitude to our data collectors using personalised notes and chocolates. Alas, the joy was short-lived, we had one member of our team leave, then another and then another. We had presumed these people would stick it out with us till the end but it naturally didn't work out that way. However, it reinforced the lesson taught in the first experience described above along with opening our eyes to potential red flags in future team mates and desirable characteristics. We soon realised we were better off with them. This really drove home Jeff Bezos' quote "If you can't feed a team with two pizzas, it is too large." Lighter now, it set us up for expansions into newer cities and better opportunities.
  3. I think our team members leaving was the best thing that happened to us so far. I say this because it meant that I could once again resume data collection, a responsibility which I had previously delegated. Pumped, I sent out more emails in half an hour than some of my data collectors had sent in their entire time with us. Quickly enough, we saw better results. Personally, this actually taught me that I should only get those team mates who are better than me in the task I am requiring their abilities for. (That sentence is awkward and wordy because I didn't want to use the word hire).
  4. One of the potential opportunities we got after this was with the Indian Astrobiology Research Centre. We eventually lost this opportunity because we rescheduled our meetings with their representatives despite claiming twice we could make it. Lesson learnt, don't claim what you can't do.
  5. We also got a new research opportunity for our users at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. This is our most demanding opportunity till date, requiring an enormous commitment of 8hrs/Day. Still, it is the most exciting opportunity as well because you really work on fundamental science and it's not quite often that high school students are given this sort of experience or exposure.
  6. However, in our endeavours to find research opportunities, one professor, even while appreciating our efforts explained to us why certain professors are not more forthcoming with such things. Apart from the insufficient qualifications, he also pointed out that high school kids mostly work for recommendation letters thereby not displaying any real interest in the project. His words are quite true really, in our interactions with our user base, the subject of university-worthy activities has often come up. This attitude is dangerous and does more harm than good, even if one may not realise now. So to all our users reading this, if you think that one activity will make you more desirable a candidate at a top-notch foreign programme, leave now. You will just take up the space for someone genuinely concerned for the cause.
  7. Finally, another of our milestones, the expansion to Bangalore: This wouldn't have been possible without close collaboration with a new friend of ours, thanks to her, we can now spread our motto of Learn. Create. Serve.

You must be wondering, where does the 4th founder figure into this. To be honest, we have had the 4th Founder's unwavering support through all this despite falling out in between. Now I see a way of being closely associated once again.

Ah, my glass of Tomato juice is finally here. ;)

A Happy New Year to all of you on behalf of the team at WorkTeen! Keep following us for major updates and exciting new prospects.


Updates v1.1


25-November-2015

Ahoy!

This post has been a long time coming. Over the past few weeks, the team has been hard at work brainstorming new features and opportunities. Those sessions have finally paid off in the form of two new opportunities, one with Saibaba Telefilms and the other with Make-A-Wish Foundation for India.

We have also started rolling out a new application system. Users can now make use of their Google Accounts to fill out a form. The responses are directly sent to the organisation that is being applied to. This feature was implemented after users complained about the mail link not working. Over the next few days, we shall have all activities utilising this. Please let us know of any issues with the form input. In light of this new feature, we have made a change to our privacy policy as well.

Most of our users in IB2 might soon start finding this website pointless, with their applications done and submitted to universities. We will, however, appreciate a shout out to your juniors to use this site.

More coming soon.


Updates - v1.0


21-October-2015

As promised, we are back with a new blog post. Over the past couple of days, we have made quite some improvements and additions to our team. Here is a list in no particular order:

  1. Share button - This is probably our biggest step forward in terms of social integration. You can now let your friends on Facebook and Twitter know what activities you are going for.
  2. Image issue on iOS device - First of all, I would like to thank my "alpha testers" for bearing with me and testing our code changes on their devices. Those of you with a keen eye for design might have noticed that the background image stretched on iOS devices. The problem was fixed using media queries.
  3. Team additions - We now have four new members in our team who are going to help us with data collection. These members will cover their respective areas and try to find as many interesting opportunities as possible for our users.
  4. Addition of an icon in the title bar - A friend once remarked to me that he judges site that don't have an icon in the title bar. Not wanting to be at the receiving end of his judgements, all our pages now feature a small icon, courtesy freepik.com.

That's it for the first version of updates, the core team is now working on version two and we can assure you we have some really cool things planned. Our data collection team has also found some exciting opportunities and we will post them by the end of this week. If you want to lend a helping hand, please get in touch with us. Till then, keep researching, volunteering, interning and participating.


Email and Everything Else Under the Sun


15-October-2015

Well done, if you managed to find out that we have a blog and we try to post meaningful content on it. Do read on to understand how WorkTeen works and make the most of its features.

WorkTeen was made to help teenagers, especially those in the IB program, find meaningful activities that can help them complete their CAS requirement. Our site features a database that caters to every aspect of the CAS component. Each of our webpage is equipped by a powerful search tool that sifts through our database in order to find you activities that match your interest, are closer to your home, fall under Creativity, Action or Service and provide you with a certain number of hours. Each of the details for the activity have been collected after humongous efforts from our core team and have been verified to the utmost. Once you have found an activity of your interest, you can either click on the apply button, which opens the mail program on your computer/redirects to your mail app on the phone or does nothing (configure the damn mail program please, in that case). Alternatively, you can use the contact email address to get in touch with the organisation's representative. The other button will redirect you to the organisation's website or Facebook page. Use these tools judiciously.

Email Writing:

Right now, the site's application system is reliant on the configuration of the email application on your computer. Configure it at the earliest.

Trust us on this, it can make life really convenient.

The next step is the most important, if you have made it so far, kudos; we aren't done yet.

It is important that your email is well written else you will risk getting ignored. Here we have compiled a quick list of tips to help you nail that mail.

  1. Don't beat around the bush. State your name, school, age and any relevant qualifications.
  2. Make the best use of the subject line. A concise subject line is preferred. Think of your subject line as a question on the SAT/ACT. You need to be succinct.
  3. Be polite. Don't make it seem like you are just applying for the heck of it. These organisations want to see individuals that are not motivated solely by beefing up their resumes.
  4. Check your tone. Don't be brash or abrasive.
  5. Proof read.

We know we titled this post "Email and everything else under the sun" however, as typical of IB Students, we will talk about the everything else part a bit later. Stay tuned for more updates, we have quite a few things under the sun planned.

If you want to say get in touch with us, you can make use of the contact form on the About Us page. If our schedules permit, we will answer.


Cheers.