Now that Mother’s Day is around the corner we at AVTAR I-WIN decided to do what we do best – recognizing & celebrating second career women. AVTAR I-WIN has always specialized in creating and providing opportunities for women who have taken a break in their careers and are now intent on getting back to the mainstream. We reached out to these intentional women and asked them to share their return-ship stories with us. Article by: Kanakadurga Ramani, Manager – Consulting Services at Avtar with Rajalakshmi Karthikeyan (Senior Manager – Marketing & Communications, DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry). 1. Please tell us about yourself, your passions and dreams.
Rajalakshmi Karthikeyan, proactive person by nature. I welcome people into a conversation and can make them feel heard with utmost comfort. Go-getter, resourceful, warm, self-confident, observant, and empathetic with some great social skills. I am passionate about hand-loom weaving, baking, painting, story-telling, motivational speeches and some old-school hobbies like coin and stamp collection.
2. Was your break a conscious decision? What were the obvious fears when you started looking out for openings?
The break was very minimal and was definitely conscious, to get rid of my Mom-guilt. Yes, the fear was evident, because I couldn’t find any relevant openings even within a span of 3 months.
3. What kind of support or opposition you experienced when you discussed about your comeback with your family and friends?
Family and friends have always been supportive and helped me in many ways to realign myself.
4. Did you have any expectations from the new job?
No, I didn’t. All that I had in mind was to perfect the art of time management and prioritize my priorities
5. How important is flexible working to you? Do you think it is a must for all women getting back to career after a break?
Very important, working mothers quit jobs not because they don’t want to excel in their career, they take a break because that might be the only option available to sort things out. So one thing which could help them is to gain confidence and be back on track is definitely flexible work timings and work from home options.
6. 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 started looking for jobs which gave me flexibility while working, but it has its own pros and cons. So I ended up in a job which matched my skills
7. How did you prepare yourself for the interview?
Never before the career break I had prepared for any interview, but the 3 month break and the anxiety of looking for a job made me very nervous. I did prepare myself just to be confident enough to ask for the flexible work timings, I am looking for and negotiating for a reasonable pay.
8. Would you like give some tips to I-Winners on career comeback.
Be honest, Set your Priorities right, Stay updated, Make sure you up-skill yourself during the break.
All the best and thanks to Avtar for giving me an opportunity to share my experience.