Zeila Tahir works at the State Bank of Pakistan as Deputy Director, Human Resources. She did her Masters in Economics from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad and Masters of HRM from Melbourne University, Australia and has been with the State Bank of Pakistan for the last 8 years. Pakistan Women In Engineering Forum interviewed her on the International Women’s Day.
- What is the most challenging aspect of your position and why?
Being an HR person, it is very important to formulate policies in organizational perspective. The blend of international best practices with the organizational dynamics is required to come up with a balanced approach while drafting new policies and proposals. This is sometimes critical as it requires an in-depth organizational knowledge in addition to knowledge and skills in my own field of HR.
- What is the key to balance your personal and professional life?
I try to forget about home when I am at office and vice versa. Try to spend quality time with my family while I’m with them. Take kids along whenever I go out for shopping and other important household tasks including grocery. Although, it takes longer to commute with them but I still do that realizing that I already spend little time with them. I think this has developed a stronger bond between us all- family members and we always stick together, depend on each other and enjoy with each other. Since we are a working couple, so over the weekends we make sure to take kids out for some exclusive activity for them or even if we stay at home, we try to give some time to them exclusively.
- Has anyone inspired you so far? Why & How? (Female)
No one as such but I have a friend who has not been working. She has been a housewife till her children started school. She is very talented, educated, ideal wife and mum I would say cook, sews, stitches so well & has beautifully decorated her house. Good at gardening, writing. Now she has started to teach at a local school. Does not do full time job so that kids are not neglected. She inspires me, gives me a feel of a perfect mother, wife, friend and when I go to her house it also seems perfect to me. May be she inspires me because she possesses some of those skills which I don’t have.
- What’s the most important thing you expect from colleagues and staff?
They should respect the women working at the offices. They should have this professional attitude to see them just as colleagues. Sometimes, positive discrimination is done for ladies which I feel, actually spoils their career. Especially at the start of the career, those years are formative and if women have to face harassment or positive discrimination with them during those years, it kills their career. Their learning stops! And without learning nobody can progress beyond a certain level. Women should realize that and avoid taking favors in lieu of their gender. They should refuse and fight against it. But it is quite common at our workplaces.
- In this male dominated society, how do you see the future of working women? (Way ahead than today? Sitting at home?)
Way ahead than today. Though the pace is quite slow but things are changing although the mentality of men is still quite dirty but women are learning to cope with various situations. But I agree that those women who must work to earn their bread and butter and also have limited choices in terms of their employability, they are certainly more vulnerable to the whims of this male dominated society.
- Where do you see yourself after four years? (At home? Still working? A step ahead?)
Working..although I want to take a break. My wish is to take a long break and go around to explore the world, want to be a free soul for some time or may b forever, but since it is not a fantasy world so definitely I will be working. In Pakistan we don’t live for ourselves but for our kids and family so I won’t be getting away.