Mother’s Day Series – In Conversation with a Working Mother (Part 5)

Article by Kanakadurga Ramani, Manager – Consulting Services at Avtar with Ms. Premsai Samonotoray.

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

I am Premsai Samonotoray. I belong to Sambalpur, a small town located in western Odisha. After completing my Bachelors in Science, I decided to pursue MBA. So I decided to move to Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, and started taking coaching for MBA. During this preparation year, I lost my elder brother in an accident. Due to this heavy loss in my family, I could not continue to pursue my MBA, despite of cracking couple of entrance examination from reputed MBA Colleges. My parents decided to stay with me in Bhubaneswar for a change from this mishap.

My passion always was to work in people management and training. At the same time, I also had a great affinity towards learning and practicing yoga then.

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

Taking a break was not fully a conscious decision. I got married in 2005, and moved to the capital city of India, New Delhi. I suffered a lot of health issues during my pregnancy in 2008, which continued after my delivery as well for couple of years. So taking a break was not a choice rather it was the only option.

In 2010, we moved to Hyderabad, for my husband’s change of job. It was in this year, when I started looking for options. I was so nervous for getting ready for my own coming back to work from a career break. It was a mixed feeling of anxiety, nervousness and confusions thinking of from where to start my career journey.

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

It was very obvious that I would come back to my career after the break, so I got all the support from my husband in this regard. Though, we didn’t get much support from our extended family members because of distance constraints.

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

At first, I did not have any expectation from my new assignments at this phase of my life. However, expectation started building up, when I started getting my training assignments across domains and industries.

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

Nothing as such

  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?

For me, having flexibility in the arc of a career is not only the need of the hour but it is one of the way to empower the employees, to be self-driven and experiencing positive employee experience.

I think as women plays a very important role in the family looking after the family, children, and elderly, it is the demand of the hour for all women to have the flexibility of working hours there by managing the Life-Work Balance. If the Life is balanced-the work will be balanced too, so Life-Work Balance.

  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 always have preferred those assignments which were aligned to my skill set, because I believe in passion driving your profession. So, one will enjoy her work only when she is passionate about her skills. Eventually, I figured out assignments which offered me flexibility as well.

  1. How did you prepare yourself for the interview?

I got prepared for the interview in two aspects.

Firstly, I prepared myself to be emotionally balanced to focus on my own journey rather than to be victim of peer pressure, wherein my other batch mates were several rupees further up the ladder. My daily yoga practice has helped me immensely to focus and beautify my journey on a daily basis.

Secondly, I started updating myself with the necessary certifications, networking with people, and working on Linked-in profiles, which greatly has helped me to get assignments.

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

Women should take pride about their career break and be honest to answer this question with a positive mind set as Industry and companies understand the positive reason of the career break for Life-Work balance.

At the same time, women need to have the clarity of thought about their planning for the career move and update their knowledge accordingly.

Women do not need to be empowered, they already are. It is just that, women need to realize this fact periodically and rest all will start falling in place.

Comeback is more powerful than Set-Back. Keep Moving. Be an Inspiration to someone.