How my mother moved up the corporate ladder with constant self-growth

Published: September 3, 2021 at 8:00 am

Last Updated on December 29, 2021

A few days, I had asked members of Facebook, Asan Ideas for Wealth, to share real-life stories of how they or someone they knew increased their income by upskilling, self-growth (personal development) or side-hustles. Many of the stories were quite extraordinary. In the first such account, we meet Mrs Rajalakshmi Rangarajan as narrated by her son, Sudharshan.

We have similar stories lined in the coming weeks. If you have increased your income and changed your station in life, please share it with our community. It will inspire and motivate many. Contact us at freefincal {AT} Gmail {DOT} com with a short outline to take it forward.

My mother started as a clerk with SBI at 19. She got places before completing her degree. Even though everyone felt she need not complete her degree, she still aced her degree. She was then transferred to Mumbai post marriage.

In the early 90s, she did a CMC computer course for three months. She will say it was mandatory, but she could have said no. Dad insisted she learns computers while her office was using typewriters. Whenever an opportunity or course was possible, she completed them.


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Rajalakshmi Rangarajan
Rajalakshmi Rangarajan

She consistently kept appearing for some exam or other without any compulsion every year. A bunch of banking exams were given between 1991 to 1998, for which Dad used to teach her on their half an hour mandatory walk together to the railway station and on some Sundays.

She joined the SBI’s net banking team, 2004. One of the two women in the team.

Then onwards she started completing courses like
1. Diploma in Finance, distance education from CFM
2. Distance MBA from Sikkim Manipal University
3. CCNA
4. CISA
5. CISM

Courses like CISA and CISM require mandatory webinar attendance. So her Sundays were spent on these.

Now a chief manager, she was selected to work as VP IT in SBI Singapore for a while.
She never shied away from work. Late nights were okay for her; we backed her up all the time. She has also worked in some sexist teams where they had preconceived notions, but she endured and prevailed. She probably worked twice as hard as every other team member.

Her policy has been to take up work and understand it from the ground up.
Always ready to help anyone with the same zest and interest, the poorest of farmers who have been scammed via some phishing calls or senior officials of SBI who have issues with internet banking, even though she left that dept a decade ago.

Even now keeps giving some exam or the other. I have no idea how many more qualifications apart from the mandatory banking exams. She can retire now but won’t.

She has been posted in rural India for 5 yrs. During promotion from clerk to officer (Trainee Officer route), she worked across Maharashtra and underwent training across India. While at Internet banking, she travelled a lot on work and racked up frequent flier miles.

Was it hard? Yes. Did we miss her? Yes. Dad backed her 100%, and we backed him up. When her Singapore posting news came around 2018, our question was only when and how, if she wants to proceed. Everyone asked why she does have to go now; my marriage discussion was happening around that time.

Were there issues around scheduling? Yes. But these are operational issues.

I realised that we should not question why someone wants to progress in their career. It is a personal aspiration. Before she became my mom, she had her aspirations too. We can’t be selfish and ask people to sacrifice their aspirations for our needs; this has been our ideal all along.

Ms Rajalakshmi is an amateur photographer. Her work can be found here on Facebook: Raji’s Photography.

If you have increased your income and changed your station in life, share it with our community. It will inspire and motivate many. Contact us at freefincal {AT} Gmail {DOT} com with a short outline to take it forward.

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Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over nine years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation for promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
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Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision-making. We have all made bad decisions and money mistakes when we started earning and spent years undoing these mistakes. Why should our children go through the same pain? What is this book about? As parents, what would it be if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but to any aspect of life? My answer: Sound Decision Making. So in this book, we meet Chinchu, who is about to turn 10. What he wants for his birthday and how his parents plan for it and teach him several key ideas of decision making and money management is the narrative. What readers say!
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