My journey started with Secure in August 2016. At that time, I was a 20-something-high-on-a-horse adult enjoying life and going with the flow like any other new graduate. Now, anyone who has lived in Udaipur knows Secure is a well-known organisation and working here was like a dream come true for me.
At that time, women production workers came only in the morning shift. They planned to expand the production line and start shift B for women from 2 PM to 10 PM. For this reason, they needed a female executive to supervise production. This is where I come in.
Naïve to the metering world, I stepped into this job with excitement. I was a kid then and had no idea I would be leading a team so soon in my career.
When my training started, I knew very little about the production line, but thanks to all the knowledgeable seniors who mentored me, I rarely got the first job jitters. I learned about IPC standards, Quality tools, Total Quality Production, Industry 4.0, ISO standards and whatnot. This period was like having an extra year of process learning added to my engineering years.
People around me had a notion in mind that production was not a place for women to work. They did not know that more than half of Secure production workers were women from nearby tribal areas.
As I watch these girls come out of their routine home chores to attend our two-week skill development training and then work on the shop floor and lead production activities, I feel pride.
Of course, I also learnt from my mistakes. As positive as my experience is with Secure, I, like everyone else, had my fair share of errors, but I found value in the constructive feedback I received from my manager and team members. I remember once being terrified when I made a severe mistake. At that time, the Production Head, Vijay Horane Sir, called and simply told me, “We are a process-driven company. Do not be afraid of taking decisions, and if anything happens, we are here for all the support”. That boosted my confidence further.
As I got acquainted with my role and responsibilities, another fun opportunity came my way. I joined the MAST team (Managing Activities Secure Team), which handles all of Secure’s cultural and social events. Needless to say, I made many new connections and had fun participating in different cultural and sports activities.
At Secure, we are all given a chance to showcase our talents. You will get many opportunities here, like teaching kids, planting trees, dancing on Sems Day, and playing different sports. You name it, we have it here. It’s something you won’t find in another organisation.
Secure’s cross-functional culture gives equal opportunity to all and develops team spirit among its employees. I have never felt like an outsider here.
All was going well until March 2020, when COVID-19 hit us all. It brought unprecedented human and humanitarian challenges and made life difficult for everyone. We had to reimagine the way we used to work, as production could not be done from home. We had to act swiftly to safeguard employees and migrate to an alternative working method.
Upon receiving the green flag, we continued production. We came up with a solution to produce bulk orders. We created two bubbles where we planned to rotate people into two groups. They were all to stay in company-provided accommodation for 15 days and rest at home for another 15 days. There was no salary deduction throughout the lockdown period.
Initially, a team of around 40 male operators was formed, considering the minimum staff requirement clause. In order to ensure the health of workers, proper measures were taken. Constant sanitisation of buses, all working areas, canteen, washrooms etc., daily routine temperature checkups, mask distribution, and social distancing were all observed. This all proved successful. More people were needed now.
There are around 60 – 70 per cent female operators in the production line, and we planned to start production with them. Upon connecting with them, we faced a challenge. Most of these women come from tribal areas, and their families do not allow them to stay away from home for so many days. I was given a contact list of all the girls to reach out to, as being a female Shift In-charge, I was in direct contact with them. I started calling everyone on the list. To my surprise, everyone was thrilled to come and work but hesitant due to family restrictions.
Remember how you dealt with your friends’ parents to convince them of any plan? That was the skill I used at that time. I started talking to their family members to understand their concerns. One of the girl’s mothers was worried that her daughter’s in-laws would not agree, and another mother was concerned about her daughter’s safety. I explained to them all the arrangements we had made, especially for females keeping their safety in mind—lady guards in all areas, separate accommodation etc. When I told her I would be there with all the girls at all times, she agreed immediately.
Batul ma’am told me it was such a WOW factor that everyone relied on me and felt safe when I looked after them. Finally, on D-Day, when the girls were supposed to come, we had a target of approximately 50 females for the first batch and guess what 82 females showed up.
I felt at the top of the world when I received calls from top management asking about my progress and praising me for managing the situation. I appreciated their faith in my ability to handle this situation.
For 15 days every month that we worked here, I never felt tired or burned out. Secure made sure we got adequate breaks between work. Antakshari nights, movie nights and many other fun activities were arranged so we could relax and enjoy ourselves. Not once did I look at the clock or count the days.
Seven years ago, when I joined Secure, I was a fresher afraid of making mistakes. Initially, I faced many obstacles that made me nervous at times, but mostly, I was excited to learn more. I’ve learned a lot from working under amazing mentors like Mukesh Salvi Sir, Vijay Horane Sir, Batul ma’am, and Subrata Ghosh Sir. As a result of the guidance, I received from my managers and team members in my initial days, I have acquired the skills to handle any project on my own. This has also been possible because of Secure’s values and behaviours instilled in us from day one. It has not only allowed me to develop professionally but also helped me in my personal life.
I still have a lot to learn. However, I am confident I’m provided with the necessary tools and mentorship to take big steps forward. I want to let all freshers know that if a nervous girl like me can make it this far, you can do it too. You only need to keep moving forward, make mistakes and learn from them. And don’t worry, Secure’s got your back.