In Conversation with a Working Mother

  1. Please tell us about yourself, your passions and dreams.

I am Usha. I work remotely as the head of content and SEO. I worked for 4 years in the IT industry before taking break. 

My dream and passion:

I had a love for numbers right from school days. I wish to work in the field of analytics in a big way.

  1. Was your break a conscious decision? What were the obvious fears when you started looking out for openings?

My break was a conscious decision after I had my son. Around the same time, my husband got an offer to go to Australia, therefore I put my career on hold.

When I came back to India and decided to start working again, I found that I was unable to give it my 100% because of a lack of support system at home to look after home and kid.

Also, the work culture in Indian IT companies is such that late evening work is a norm. My husband was already doing it. I didn’t want to do the same. We wanted at least one parent to be with our son in the evening. We felt it is important for his mental development.

 

  1. What kind of support or opposition you experienced when you discussed about your comeback with your family and friends?

Honestly, I received no opposition to going back to work.

The main opposition was from myself. I wanted a better work life balance which is very tough to find in the IT field with US clients who expect you to respond during their working hours.

Therefore I made a conscious decision to work remotely. I bought myself a laptop, started reskilling myself and did extensive research on working from home.

 

  1. Did you have any expectations from the new job?

I first started working as a part time website evaluator for Lionbridge under their crowd sourcing program. It was a perfect job for me. I could work up to 4 hours a day and spend time with my son.

 

  1. Would you like to share some of the questions that you didn’t have an answer or found them irrelevant in the interview?

I didn’t have an interview as such in the first job after a break I was given a bunch of documents to study and had an online exam. So it was only my skill and learning ability that mattered. After that I had telephonic interviews in my subsequent jobs, but all remote jobs that I got had a skill based test at some point. I think this is very important in any job. Interviews are not always the best way to judge if a person can do a particular job or learn new skills quickly.

 

  1. How important is flexible working to you? Do you think it is a must for all women getting back to career after a break?

Definitely flexibility is the most important factor for working mothers. There are uncertainties in a woman’s day. Whether you like it or not, when your kid is sick, s/he wants the mother to be with them. When they have exams, they want their mothers to be around for moral support. When the maid does not turn up for work, you have to finish the house work before rushing to office. You may need that extra half an hour for personal issues. Therefore the flexibility is very important.

 

  1. What was your job preference when you were looking to comeback – Jobs that exactly matched your previous jobs, Jobs that matched your skills or Jobs that gave you flexibility while working?

I preferred jobs that gave me flexibility. I was and am ready to learn new skills. It has helped me work remotely for the last 10 years!

 

  1. How did you prepare yourself for the interview?

I don’t pretend to be someone else or put up a fake resume and try to impress the interviewer. I am very open about what I expect, what I am willing to do and what I am not.

 

  1. Would you like give some tips to I-Winners on career comeback.

Always be open to learning new skills.

Taking a step backwards is ok, if you are trying to get back into a job after a break.

Do not compare yourself with your peers and feel demotivated.

Start off slowly with a part time job and ease your way into your new job.