In Conversation with a Working Mother

Article by Kanakadurga Ramani, Manager – Consulting Services at Avtar with Ms. Ananthalakshmi Ramesh

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

I am an introvert, who wants to lead a simple and straightforward life, helping people around me as much as possible.  I have wanted to be a writer as far back as I can remember, but took a full fledged plunge only recently.

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

Yes.  It was a conscious decision. There was nothing to fear about ;  only confusion as to the choice of a suitable career.

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

Family and friends were very supportive and encouraged me to go ahead in whichever direction I wanted to travel.

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

No.  I made the mistake of overestimating my capacity to adapt to a workplace which was vastly different from the one I had been used to.

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

No such questions were asked.  It so happened that all my interviewers were very appreciative of my decision to make a comeback and reassured me that everything will be fine.

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

It would vary from person to person, depending on circumstances.

7. 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?

Initially,  I went back to the same industry from which I took a break.  But when I realized that I could not squeeze myself into the changed environment,  I switched over to other professions which I thought would be a better fit for me.

8. How did you prepare yourself for the interview?

I did extensive preparation for my first interview after the break, which included reading about the developments taking place, talking to people currently working in the industry, etc. and managed to make a good impression in the interview.  But the ground reality turned out to be very different and I found out that the job did not suit my personality.  I therefore decided to be very honest and straightforward about my flaws in the subsequent interviews and openly expressed my apprehension about my ability to perform a job in which I only had theoretical knowledge and no practical experience.  Surprisingly, I was selected in each one of them despite not displaying enough self confidence which is considered to be an important soft skill expected from candidates.

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

Never miss a chance to chase your dreams.  Talk to people, gather information and learn from others’ experiences. But never give up your dream just because many others have failed to make it.  There’s every reason why you might succeed despite odds.  You will never know unless and until you try.