From Hala, Sindh to the city by the sea: meet Meena Kumari.
When Meena Kumari started her two month internship, she wasn’t just new to Daraz; she was new to Karachi at large, having just migrated from the small (in comparison) town of Hala in Sindh. Here she was in an urban jungle of 25 million people; rooming with friends, living the life of a single woman, doing it all by herself: a bonafide 21st Century independent woman
Perhaps this sense of being by herself in a city that was alien to her kept Meena on her toes- fully alert of any and every opportunity around the corner.
Her sharp reflexes and present-mindedness are clear to see. She could not content herself with the menial tasks expected of her: fixing doors, fixing the A/C room, registering attendance cards among other maintenance related work.
But she also admits: I have a high tolerance level for drudgery. I think it’s important to patiently withstand work you find unrewarding. That’s what I did. But I also kept my ears close to the ground in search of more stimulating work. I didn’t stay put.
This is where Meena’s potential was noticed by Marylou, Manager, HR – Admin & Operations. Meena started helping out the HR department as and when she could, ensuring this ‘extra-curricular’ assistance did not obstruct her primary responsibility.
It paid off. The young entrant from Hala who had just migrated to Karachi found herself migrating to a new department as an HR officer. She credits role-models, Marylou and Kiran Faruqi, with supporting her during this upward climb.
‘They saw my potential. They knew it could be harnessed. They told me to trust in myself and my abilities. I’m glad I listened. When you’re in a new city and new workplace, it can be overwhelming dealing with all the difference. You really need an anchor. They were mine!’
Meena has overcome culture shock and language barriers to stake out her rightful place at Daraz and in the city of Karachi. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride. She acknowledges the times her thick, ethnically Sindhi accent was mocked. But it doesn’t phase her: People will talk. People will mock. Let them. You do your thing.
Meena kept doing precisely that. And has since been promoted from HR Officer to Talent & Development Associate.
What advice does she have for potential Daraz employees and prospects? ‘Stay agile. Be patient. You have to be hang in there. And keep your eyes peeled for opportunity. Linkedin is a good place to start; it’s where I learnt about the Daraz opening. The platforms are there; you have to know how to utilize them.’
Meena’s story of relocation and migratory movement (both within an organization and between cities) is also a story of integration. She now belongs fully to both Daraz and Karachi, a city she is proud to call her second home.
For someone who knows the often alienating feeling of being in a new place with no friends or relatives and no network to rely on, we can’t think of anyone better to scout for and shepherd talent as it enters Daraz.
Join us as we celebrate Meena’s independence and Pakistan’s independence here.