When I was in my early 20s, I was already an independent person who worked for a great company. I had a decent amount of money coming in to my bank account every month. I made all my major life decisions independently. I was set!
When I think about the early days of my career, I was largely unaware of my privileged life. I took it for granted. I assumed that everyone eventually found a job and figured out the workings of their own life.
I had no idea how swaddled I was in my own privileges till I decided to get back to work after 2-year break.It is not uncommon for women in India to take a break from work when they have a child or move cities because of marital commitments. Yet, making a comeback is a herculean task.
Look around you. Every family you know has a woman who has taken a break from work to attend to her family in some way. Yet, there is no runbook that tells women how to come back to work after a break. While a mindshift change is what will make a lasting change in the long term, there are a few things that can help you get back into workforce.
There are things that worked for me and women like me who came back to work after a break.
When I stepped into work after a 2 year break, my first day of work nearly left me with a nervous breakdown. I panicked. I couldn’t remember the most basic things that I would have been able to tackle in my sleep in my earlier life. But step back and understand that this is not a reflection of your abilities. Your time away from the working world, if anything, would have given you the perspective and maturity to be a better employee. Work hard on your skills. But if you are not confident about your own skills, nothing else matters. You are setting yourself up for failure.
Build your support system
As a parent who is working, your most important trump card for peace of mind is a good support system. Find a creche/school/daycare/family member to care for your kid. Ensure that this place makes you confident about being away from your child. Make sure that your spouse and immediate family understand these arrangements and are happy with them too. Your support system is your backbone and don’t shy away from asking for help.
Lay down the rules
Make sure that the organisation you are a part of understands what you need from them in order to support you. And this conversation is best had during the hiring process itself. For example, when I joined Exotel, they used to work 6 days a week. But there was no way I could work on Saturdays because the daycare didn’t! Also, the weekend was the only time I got with my child. So, I requested to have 5 day work weeks. Flexi timings, scheduled days for working from home, days off, and whatever else you need, make sure you discuss it beforehand with your prospective employer so there is no misunderstanding at a later point.
Be your best critic
A critic is not someone who just points out mistakes. It is also someone who will tell you when you are doing something right. Be your best critic. And this means being brutally honest with yourself without giving into your worst doubts. Evaluate if the time to go back to work is right for you. Evaluate if you are able to do justice to the responsibilities you’ve undertaken at work. If not, step back, regroup, devise a new game plan and try again.
Bio: Mommy | Inbound Marketer | Remote worker | Startup-tard | Raja-tard | Rediscovering Books | Crabby |