Monday, March 17, 2014

Women seeking a career break my musings, and reality!

Image from the net!

"How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?” ― Anaïs Nin

I was in the midst of a successful career, really busy making it work for me, suddenly I had to pause unexpectedly, I was pregnant…expecting our first child, that did not bother me and all seemed fine until I noticed things were changing around me.
Meetings were getting fewer and there were not many new projects in my kitty. I was still performing like before but my boss’s perception of me and my abilities had changed. Not liking this I tried to fight but it was a hidden gun pointed at my face; needless to say I did not survive the bullet.
Does this sound familiar? A corporate chess game, many witness each day!

I think many would relate to my story. We may be creating welfare policies at corporate levels but they will be ineffective useless pieces of paper until we change the mindset. 

Cartoon Image taken from the net.
I wondered why was it me, stepping down, here are my findings:
  • We have been taught to be responsible for child support, elderly care etc. As little girls it was imbibed in our upbringing to forego personal goals for a successful family. I now beg to differ, we should not do anything that we do not want to as this causes deep sorrow and further results in lot of emotional discord, the basics here are simple, I asked myself can I make others happy if I am not being so deep within? The answer is a big no, it’s OK to be living for yourself ladies, without any guilt!
  • What stops us from including our partners in child support? The old school of thought that a good wife will do it all by herself. I think we must seek their help from the early days so they get to understand and both partners in a family get some breathing space for living. It’s not a crime it’s OK. We learn the tricks after becoming a mother so can they?
  • Here is an interesting list of rules by oprah winfrey- building happy relationships.
It is not gender specific I have come across many women managers saying they would not like to promote or hire somebody who is pregnant or has young kids. Once your secret is revealed things begin to change plans for bigger roles, promotion, on site visits etc. suddenly disappear.
 This is also not a culture specific trend it’s a global phenomenon affecting many women. It was nice to see so much buzz about it in the virtual world. 
A hope may be something would change soon in reality!

I was thrilled to read this post and would be so glad if such a thing is accepted and practiced Mothers should get a six-yearcareer break, says FTSE 100 chairman, yet another post on similar lines An interesting read First female union chief: 'Jobsmarket is bias against all women from the outset'.

I could clearly see,  I was being set up for an unsuccessful return after my maternity but fighting was difficult and surprisingly other women folks were watching discreetly no body choose to voice with me, probably it worked for them but we failed as a society, I feel. It did give me a purpose though, I chose to write read and research about my state.
Image borrowed from the net.
During my time out and a successful return, I did a few things that all women must consider:
Keep in touch - network with colleagues and friends
This is important as you would not want your image frozen in time, making a comeback difficult for you later. People might be able to help with useful information once you are ready.
Polish your core skills
This is really critical as it will help in building confidence and you will have pointers to explain what you did during the break. While planning a comeback this is the most difficult part, prospective employers would want to know why they should hire you after a break are your skills updated. 
- Identify creative ventures
I choose to explore my writing skills and started a few blogs, this helped in two ways I research so knowledge quotient is not degraded and creating literal stuff  skill quotient is in place. There are other options as well like writing a book in your field of profession, doing freelance work, voluntary works etc.
Connect with like-minded people
Believe me during my research to write about this I was amazed to find several women in my boat. This made me feel better and this collaboration helps build a support system, knowledge sharing and at the end you feel better.I connected with a few and here I am writing with a mission.
Upgrade your skills consider further education/Certifications 
While planning my first career break I was finding it hard to get past the initial resume screening rounds, I was rejected without a second glance. Then I found out I need to upgrade so I did my post-graduation and it worked helped. Needless to say I landed a job.
Keep up your confidence
My mind doubted my abilities as being at home had its adverse effects I had lost my confidence. It might sound silly but it worked I dressed like I am going to work and would hunt for jobs, I imagined myself working, made my friends take mock interviews and may be fooled my brain but I gained confidence.
Seek support when you need
Once I decided to get back it was difficult to get a break, after struggling alone for a few months, I connected with friends asked them to help. It worked. Now that being said we need to be judicious about whom you seek help from as it will work negatively on your self-esteem if you face rejection or no support from friends. 

Here is more about me to douse your curiosity!

I am a mother to two, HR professional turned poet, writer, blogger. 
I took a career break in 2008 after my first child , proud to say successfully broke the unemployed edge and returned to work but then had to take another break after just 10 months of being employed want to know why, read my next post on my blog!  Is it enough to get a job to bounce back after a break?

There is another aspect worth mentioning, while planning to bounce back I am sure many, like I did, wonder if they are neglecting their responsibilities, is it worth it and if the time is right or when should we plan a return?

I realized after much introspection that the answer to all these is simple, no we are not neglecting anything and the time is right when you are ready. 
Children go to school does that mean they are neglecting you, husbands go to work so should you if you want to, we all have dreams and we should go after them freely.

We must not let social pressures come in our way towards reaching our dreams, Are social pressures stopping you? Here is an interest read about how to beat it?

In my quest to share and support other women in my boat, here is my top return to work support resources and some interesting posts from around the globe. 
May be this can pep you up, help you gear for the fight -landing a great job!
Browse through the list and click on whatever works for you to read - learn and win!
  1. I re-launch is a site dedicated to help women at global level providing support to women to bounce back after a career break.
  2.     10 Expert Tips on Going Back to Work by lisa Heffmen
  3.     Returning to Work After a Career Break: The GOOD News
  4.     How to write your resume after a career break for women
  5.     Help Women Succeed - Non-Profit helping women in India‎
  6.    TATA – Second Career Internship Programme for Women:   
  7.  HUL Launches 'Career by Choice' for women in India 

 A  small request!

Dr. Malissa Clark an assistant professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Georgia, is leading an online study to learn more about women’s career breaks’
I urge all women to take a few moments and participate, raise your voice shout out, ...yes I know it’s conducted by University of Georgia,.... so what? 

We are  living in a virtual world  no boundaries global edge, data speaks louder than words. Let your voice be heard. There are no boundaries!

Click here to take the survey now!

I can't stop writing on this here is my poetry, how can I finish something without my famous touch :-)
A bird
seeking liberty

Chose to speak
inner words revolutionary
might be contradictory!

My deeds 
may be 
out of ordinary!

I choose
to be a woman
of dignity 
respecting my integrity!

By Bhawana Bhowmik

Also read 'The Piranha in me.'..'Women s identity'... 'I am pickled jalapeno' other poetry posts on this subject!

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” 
― Virginia WoolfA Room of One's Own

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” 
― Brigham Young

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