‘I jumped off the cliff…’


The title should not come across as too vile. Let me assure there is no viewer discretion needed. (smiles)

I belong to a family in which girls do not generally work. Its not about that it is frowned upon, it is more about having a need. Growing up as kids I always thought that females working equated to necessity, in case a father or a brother is unable to provide for the family or that you are not getting married. It never really occurred to me that you could work for a career.

I thought that I too would follow my mother’s and sister’s path; get married around 20-21 and then the same old handi-roti (cooking at home).

It was not till IBA happened. i saw a whole new world.

yet there was still a doubt: would I break the barriers at my home? would I become the outlier?

till then I  had seen two phenomenal women in my household work; one as a necessity and one for keeping busy… and I saw what it did to their natures; they had somehow a more confident air around them.

And so begun the journey, a journey of which I too wasn’t too sure about myself. Here was I, fresh out of grad school in a new city I knew nothing off. I embraced the change and went on the quest to do ‘something’ for myself. I had worked before, but that too as a mere fact for avoiding boring summer holidays. That ‘something’ was not a thing I was sure about. I was getting paid less and spending more. BUT I was learning a new thing… every. single. day.

Noor giving the presentation on ACCA Brand
First presentation in the professional world

I grew a little and then a lot and then I realised… oh wow.. I AM serious about a profession. I knew what I was worth and I knew it was becoming a part of me. It made me more confident, more money smart, more appreciative of my father’s hard work, more supportive of my mom; trust me if I say it was an AHAAA moment, it would not be wrong.








It made sense to me, this empowerment, this sense of accomplishment. And guess what, some how, along the way, the remaining puzzle pieces also fell in place; from getting married at 27, to having a baby at 28, to carrying on work, for living in a joint family, to travelling internationally and within Pakistan… it all gelled well.

This guy in the background is my rock; my husband.

I learnt the mechanics of time, of managing my life, of finding a purpose. It might not be all 100% but trust me even 90% is good enough for me… and guess what….. it all happened because i jumped off that cliff…




What have I learnt since starting work at 15?


What have I learnt since starting work as a 15 yr old?

I always thought Peter Drucker’s SMART goals will work for my benefit when I commenced work coming out of a family in which females, generally do not work. However I learnt that what we read in books might not work for us , more so, when we want to climb the corporate ladder. So I toiled and came to the conclusion, maybe I need to develop my OWN SMART goals which will be, with due apologies, be a bit different than what books tell us. So here are my SMART goals especially for the young, powerful females who are coming out of the university and searching for help.


S= shock absorber

You got to be the best and you got to do twice as much as a male in your toes. Why do I say this? Its not that a female does not find equality at the workplace. It is that she has the society

too acting as a speed breaker. Decide wisely and be prepared for shocks.

M= meticulous


You have to be meticulous at work and not dilly dally. This is a hard learnt fact. Be it making files all day, or direct marketing calls, your meticulous nature and the zeal you put into it takes you places.




Your ears should be open along with your eye. Be on the lookout for opportunities to learn new things. most HR policies say ‘we provide work shadowing as a mentoring to employees’ i say you live by it. The MAX you can learn is via observation and you can only do that if you are active.


R= resilient

Being resilient is very very important when you are a fresh starter female. There will be pressures of all kinds; home commitments, family events gathering that clash with a work engagement… learn to manage both and for that make sure you have a process ready for each of your responsibilities.



The biological and the professional clocks ALWAYS work in the opposite directions.  At 25 you are due for a big career jump but you also have to get married. Look for inspirations around you who have achieved more in less time. Remember you can always do this if you have your process sorted.