Dr Shashi Tharoor Believed in Me Even When I Made Mistakes

Bright young researcher Reeti Roy was selected to be a legislative assistant to MP Shashi Tharoor. She recounts her experiences that led to the launch of her startup, Aglet Ink.

By Reeti Roy, 29, Mumbai

I was interested in literature even as a young child, and demonstrated an early flair for writing. Born and brought up in Kolkata as the fourth of five siblings, my chartered accountant parents fostered an intellectual environment at home.

We were taught to pursue our passions and strive to excel. I did my Bachelor’s in English literature and followed it up with a degree in social anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

I started my career as a research assistant at Columbia University. The next few years were an incredible learning experience, as I was chosen as a LAMP fellow (a legislative assistant to a Member of Parliament) and was assigned to Dr Shashi Tharoor. I count Professor Anya Schriffrin of Columbia University and Dr Tharoor to be my mentors. Despite their incredibly busy schedules, they still took time to teach me the basics of research, of writing professional emails, of liaising and networking with people, and believed in me even when I made mistakes.

I also worked with Harvard Business School’s India Research Centre and Pratham Education Foundation, researching during the day and editing books for top publishing houses like Rupa Publications and Harlequin Press during the night.

In 2014, I started Aglet Ink, after realizing that many professionals were unable to present themselves well on paper. We help job hunters frame their resumes and cover letters. Since then, I’ve worked with clients all over the world.

I am a very proud feminist and believe that the world is still skewed towards men. I’ve always been disheartened to read and hear about inequities in pay. I’ve even read stories where women negotiate much less than men for fear of being thought of as “too aggressive”. Early on, I found myself not negotiating my pay. But these days if I don’t get paid what I think I am worth, I walk away from the project.

You have to believe in yourself. There is absolutely no substitute for plain old-fashioned hard work.

First published in eShe magazine’s May 2018 issue. Buy it here.


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