Article by : Kanakadurga Ramani, Manager – Consulting Services at Avtar with Ms. Sheeba Rajam.
- Please tell us about yourself, your passions and dreams.
I am a mom, I am a classical dancer and I am a lover of peace and happiness! I am the happiest when I am interacting with people. I currently head operations and talent acquisition at TEG Analytics.
- Was your break a conscious decision? What were the obvious fears when you started looking out for openings?
Yes it was. When I had baby no.2, I needed some time off to see how life was going to change with 2 kids to manage at home.
- What kind of support or opposition you experienced when you discussed about your comeback with your family and friends?
Absolutely nothing. My family has been 100% supportive! This includes my husband, my parents and my inlaws. Everyone trusted me to make the right decision and I think that is exactly the kind of trust and belief a woman needs, when she decides to get back to working, outside the house too!
- Did you have any expectations from the new job?
Only that they would understand that sometimes, a mom needs to attend to parenting duties too!
- Would you like to share some of the questions that you didn’t have an answer or found them irrelevant in the interview?
One HR person asked me to accept an offer with a lower pay and level because I had just come out of a maternity break. She asked me if I thought it was going to be easy getting another offer like theirs after a break. Being a woman herself, I thought that was a rather inappropriate question and I chose not to take up that offer. I don’t regret that decision, even though, it took me a few more months before I eventually landed a job.
- How important is flexible working to you? Do you think it is a must for all women getting back to career after a break?
As long as either my husband or I have flexible work hours, I’m good. Parenting is a joint responsibility and I believe that flexibility is required for both dads and moms. When women get back to a full time career, I think both the spouses have to jointly discuss and make a decision on how they will manage various scenarios.
- 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 looked for all 3….jobs that matched my previous experience, my skills and ones that had flexible timings. I definitely wanted to get back to a full time role, but not at the cost of losing out on spending time with my family. I also did not want to spend long hours in traffic and hence opted only for work spaces closer to home.
- How did you prepare yourself for the interview?
I didn’t. I walked in being myself and being open and confident that the break had changed nothing in me. I have always been the kind to keep reading up on new trends, so that helped with the confidence part.
- Would you like give some tips to I-Winners on career comeback.
Be yourself, be confident, stay updated. Don’t drive your friends or your career network away while you are on a break. Stay connected. It helps you stay sane too! A couple of rejections should not deter you from trying to get back. Take feedback from everyone who rejects you. It will only help you focus on what you need to improve upon.