Sabbatical- Blessing or Curse for Women Professionals?

Sabbatical blessing or a curse for women professionals

You can find a number of Indian women who have taken a break after a successful career. She was well educated, loved her professional identity and financially independent. She was really enjoying her professional life but suddenly what changes her mind to take a break? An inevitable situation such as motherhood, marriage, ill-health of self or family member during her professional journey and so she had to take a sabbatical. I am sure most of you can relate this situation to yours. Sabbatical could be either by choice or due to circumstances from where she cannot escape. Many a times, she was not ready but had to take sabbatical because of unfavorable circumstances. It could be 2 years, 2 months or 2 weeks depending on the situation, but for some, it is for a lifetime. I have several friends who had taken sabbatical and still haven’t joined back, still struggling to get back to work. In fact, I am on the same page too. Took sabbatical in 2016 but I haven’t stopped myself there. Being from a Pharmaceutical background, it was tough for me to get back into industry. However, I searched for other opportunities and I started working as a Freelance academic and content writer and now I have started publishing my technical and non-technical articles in various websites. So, what are you waiting for if you are on your sabbatical? Start exploring new opportunities which can help you to be in race again. Though, it will take time […]

Career Restarting for Women on a Career Break

Career Break

Image credit: Rawpixel Women today have proved to the world that they are competent to take on any role and job they aim for. Be it Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space in 1963 or Stacey Cunningham hitting the headlines for being the first woman to lead New York Stock Exchange in 2018. But in reality, they are the exception than the rule. Most women are still struggling to keep afloat in a corporate setting and it’s even more challenging for those who want to come back into the workforce. The world is not kind to a career break on your resume. It raises a lot of eyebrows and concerns. Let us throw some light on this subject to understand better.   What are some of the major reasons women take a career break? There are several reasons women opt for a career break. Some of them are: Childbirth Relocation of a partner Migration to a new country Redundancy or end of contract Higher Education Sabbatical – travel, volunteering   What challenges women face returning to the workforce after a career break? Skill gap: In skilled labour like IT or finance, one needs to be up-to-date with the changes. A long career break creates a bigger skill gap. Employer’s skepticism: It raises questions on one’s capability, seriousness and time commitments which makes the employer skeptical to hire women after a break especially mothers with young ones. Position/role offered: Usually the position and salary offered to women after her break is […]

The P-C-R Approach to Achieve Financial Stability

Financial Stability

In simple terms, Financial Stability is the ability to ensure that you have enough financial reserves for a rainy day. It is a matter of significant importance for both men and women, however, for women this becomes a doubly crucial factor for consideration as the ‘rainy day’ occurs quite frequently and in most cases, in an unplanned manner.   It has happened to me a couple of times and believe me I have not only been severely drenched by the sudden shower but have also caught the chill quite unexpectedly. Experience is the best teacher. Hence, I always adopt the Plan – Change – Re-plan (P-C-R) approach to help me keep myself well- perched on high ground, safe and dry from the deluge.   Plan The first thing I do is to Plan a budget. It took me a good many years to realise the importance of a monthly budget and how it can keep your finances well within check. Once the budget is defined, I chart out a path along which to direct my finances in order to make them stay aligned to my budget. However, we are all mere mortals and can seldom refrain from indulgences. Nevertheless, if such sins do creep in make sure that you do not go overboard. An occasional splurging for an expensive jewellery shopping, Dinner at a fancy restaurant or even a luxury vacation is fine. Ensure that you do not tend to make these a regular item in your budget or else […]

The Tightrope Walk – Combining Career and Family

When I met a friend after a gap of 15 years and exchanged life stories, she spoke about a classmate who decided not to have a family for the sake of Career Advancement. The question that raced through my mind is “Does getting married signify the end of professional life or can we walk the tightrope and make both co-exist’’? Despite all these years of waging war for equality and establishing a stance in the society, I strongly feel that there are fewer men set with the question of Career after marriage. In a Country abundant with Culture and Family values, career tends to take a nosedive after marriage. Luckily in the past two decades, there is significant acceptance by the Extended families that career is important to Women as it is to a Man. Also, the concept of day care at work has made it easier to concentrate professionally without sacrificing our domestic responsibilities. As a person who started to work soon after college, I have never felt my thirst to restart my career take a back seat because of family. It’s certainly not choosing one over the other, but to bring all together in the potpourri of life. Of course, it’s not an easy walk.  There are always sacrifices on sleep or social visits, but these are the mandates for a better standard of living. I have been fascinated by the account of Indra Nooyi.  She goes on to narrate that when she went home with excitement to […]

Adapting to global work culture- locally

Adapting to Global work culture

We live in a global world these days. The growing interdependence of national economies has created a demand for managers and employees sophisticated in international business and skilled in working with people from other cultures. International businesses can be traced back for centuries but today’s escalation in production and distribution has created new demands on the competitive international business environment. Sometimes, it is our resistance to change and adapt which make it a little difficult to work in a setup different from us and our culture. For Example, IKEA has been present in India for 28 years in the form of sourcing products from suppliers and then shipping the products all over the world. In India, IKEA has 48 suppliers and by that extent employ 4,00,000 coworkers. When IKEA India was first being established, as much as 50 Indian workers were being employed and trained to work the “IKEA” way.  These are some of the best practices used by the company to merge Indian sensibilities with European work culture. And well, the practice could work for anybody working for a global brand locally.   Concept of “Being on Time” Indians tend to be late for everything. It may not be an intentional thought or a rude gesture but just something that has seeped into the system. It has almost become customary. The perception of time has been engraved into the Indian culture, where tardiness is accepted. Well, it does slow down productivity and in fact drags the deadlines further. Being […]

Why you need to prioritise yourself

Image credit: pexels Needless to say, women, especially in India, are expected to be loving and selfless beings who are willing to sacrifice their dreams, desires, and career for the sake of their family. Apparently, your nurturing nature is said to be your inherent characteristic. You are taught to put others’ needs before your own. And if you do not adhere to these unwritten norms you are looked upon as selfish, haughty and mean. And if you do, you probably end up neglecting yourself. Whether you want to be altruistic or a little egoistic is totally your call. However, most of you, I am sure, are more altruistic, which is actually great- for others. Of course, it gives a sense of immense moral pleasure when you do things for everyone else. But you also need to understand that you have duty towards your own self, too, as much as you have towards others. Why you ask? Here’s why-   Because your home revolves around you: You might be all involved in your household chores and the needs of your husband and children might be on the forefront. However, whenever any member of the family is in the tiniest kind of trouble, you are the only one person they turn to. Lost a sock? Can’t find the towel? Failed an exam? Couldn’t get a promotion? You to the rescue! In case you forgot, let me remind you: You are important. Only when you are happy, your family can be, too.   […]

Plan Your Career Break & Restart Journey With These Tips

career break and Career restart tips

The advancement in technology and artificial intelligence is about to achieve a whole new level in the world. In spite of it, these technologies are still not aiding women who had to take career break due to various reasons.  A woman is the central pillar of all the family. She is the essential need for the basic survival of humankind.  Her active role as a daughter, wife or a mother constructs the family as a perfect monument.  Women are so intelligent that their contribution to various industries has boosted the economy of the entire nation and as an individual unit. But, she encounters a phase in her life where a role in the family requires more weight than her career in the balance scale. When there are circumstances where your focus is needed in other areas rather than your own career is it essential to always take a career break? No, not necessarily. The decision to take a break has to be taken after thorough consideration of all available options. I have mentioned below a more effective method to achieve a decision by analysing the option’s weightage and outcome. It is always easier to analyse when the thoughts are written down or represented in some form of figures rather than contemplating it over in our head. List down your reason for the break and check in which category your reason falls under and plan accordingly. When it is confirmed that you have to avail a break in such case it […]

The Power Of Assertive Communication

The power of assertive communication

Assertive communication is the ability to express our ideas and feelings in an open and uninhibited manner. It is the trait of standing up for oneself and refuse to be taken advantage of by others. It is the recognition of one’s rights while still respecting other’s rights. Typically, women are seen as passive by the society and men are expected to be dominant. However, the behaviour of a person depends on his/her culture, upbringing, emotional support structure, work environment, genes and a whole lot of things. If we can ignore the stereotyping by the society, both men and women can be assertive by choice. For some, assertiveness is a second nature and comes very easily whereas for others it is like every other behaviour, schooled and practised. Given any situation, we have couple of choices on how we can react. We have a choice to be either meek or be assertive. A lot of confusion prevails as to whether a person is assertive or aggressive. Aggressiveness is the ‘fight’ response and is detrimental to relationships. Assertiveness is the logical response and is not driven by emotions. Submissiveness, on the other hand, is the ‘flight’ response where we tend to give away our rights. We are habituated to respecting authority and are told to adjust to situations right from childhood, so that we can live in harmony. But we do not shy away from using aggression over weaker sections when the situation is not conducive to us. Is there a need […]

Restarting Professional Career After A Break

Restarting Professional career after a break

Returning to the professional life after a career break seems very difficult for everyone. Companies often think that the candidate has lost the relevant skills due to career break and they start refusing such profiles. After being an efficient employee for years, an individual’s candidature is continuously refused by many companies only due to career break. Many women on career break are facing such difficulties to return back to their professional life irrespective of their passion to get back to work. Are you sailing in the same boat? Is this your story too? I must say, Women must not limit themselves due to the limited imagination of others. There are several ways to benefit from your career break. Some of them include: Bring more positive energy into yourself Your career break is the best time when you can motivate yourself more regarding your professional achievements earned so far. Try to cherish those professional achievements that you received appreciation for your efforts. It will help you to boost your confidence, and bring more positive energy. You will find more determination and focus to return back to your professional career. Improvise your skills Don’t just sit idle during this career break. Taking a course, learning new language or any other skills is of great benefit for you as you will feel more competent.  If you have interest in writing, you can start developing your writing skills like me. I have started writing after taking a professional career break. It helps me to […]

4 Tips For Effective Interaction With Management

Tips for effective interaction with management

Image Credit: Freepik How do you make yourself seen, heard and talked about by the top bosses? You work hard, smart and are valuable enough to provide inputs but are they listening? More commonly Management holds the responsibility of providing vision, inspiration and motivation for those being led and uses tools like surveys, focus groups, one-on-one meetings and communication activities. They follow the Top-Down approach. But effective communication is established when employees are provided with opportunity to ask questions, receive clarity and accomplish their task with clear steps to complete goals. Communication is only communication if the message gets where it needs to go and is received by those who need to hear it. Bottom-up communication (Employees to management) provides information about employee needs, values, perceptions and opinions. This helps the management to select and tailor their programs and policies to meet the specific needs of their employees. Here are few tips to communicate effectively through bottom up approach.   Make yourself seen – Communicate face to face wherever you can. Research shows that less than 10 percent of the meaning of a message is carried through the actual words. If we just have written communication without any face-to-face communication, people are going to miss the message. Even through technology through videos seeing each other’s’ faces makes a huge difference. Eyes do not lie and you can express better.   Make yourself heard – While talking, keep your voice and tone low, positive and yet assertive. Using statements like “I fully understand […]