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 […]

Importance of Networking for Success in Your Career

Importance of Networking

Networking is not collecting contacts! Networking is about planting relations. – MiSha A while ago, I read a statement that during layoffs, the person to let go is not the one with low performance, but the one without friends.  If that be true, then so powerful is networking that it’s a necessity than an option. In today’s world, the concept of Synergy is crucial not just for the Individual, but for the business as well. As human beings, we have the vital need to converse, share our thoughts and exchange ideas. It’s wise to have a circle of varied categories – Peers, Friends, Mentors, Ex-colleagues etc. Normally in most organisations, after a level of hierarchy in top management is reached, recruitment happens through word-of-mouth – i.e. the feedback given by an insider with influence has better weightage than recruiting an outside candidate. Summing up few important aspects of Networking: Keeps you in the game: While the business world is flooded with intense competition, it’s hard to stand out. A well connected network will help to get easy identification. A person with an established support group has more chances of landing an opportunity due to the word of mouth influence and access to job openings.   Helps you stay connected : As we move on from one company to another, there will be people who are good resources – whether it is in terms of knowledge or as a friend. It’s unwise to lose contact with such folks. Networking helps to […]

Gear Up For A Career Change…

How to identify new career…… Career change or an alternative career can be built based on your talents and interests. But if neither are working out you can build  a career by analysing the market demand with sheer willpower and passion for new learning. Few key points mentioned below for new career choice You should acquaint through knowledge of the new career you are about to choose You should make sure this new career must provide for your financial needs. If not at the beginning but must eventually in the future You should know your competitors of the new business You should know the scope for growth if you choose to work in different industry You should establish a steady clientele, so marketing skills are mandatory You should possess the passion to learn and adapt to your new career My journey…… Couple of years ago, when I was struggling to find my foot back in my previous job industry I got rejected again and again due to my gap in career. I was frustrated and looking for alternative career. My native place is famous for silk sarees. Whenever, I returned after a vacation or holiday from Chennai I used to buy Kancheevaram sarees for my friends. One of my friend Manjali, suggested me to start a home business to sell South Indian sarees.  And so, I started a small home boutique shop, its now 2 years. During these two years I faced innumerable hurdles and breakdowns. The journey was not […]

Can Women be Successful Entrepreneurs?

Women Entrepreneurs

India is a country where we have seen Indian women remain restricted to household activities in earlier era. However, things have changed these days and we can see a lot of women entrepreneurs in India. They are coming up with an assortment of development in every sector, be it private or public sector.   Those days are gone when women had no professional status. Women are now changing the private and public sectors through their strength of purpose and determination. They are symbolizing the new India where women are enthusiastic to take challenges and gain knowledge from their mistakes and utilize them to become successful in future.   What are the things a woman must have to become an entrepreneur? Well, woman only need to develop consciousness, work on existing initiatives, have self-confidence, and zeal to do something. That’s it. These are the ingredients which can support women to bring a successful change.   Women have a significant economic, political, financial and social role in India. You can observe several transformational and structural reforms which are taking place in India these days. The time has come when women entrepreneurs are riding their waves successfully. There are women who do not have any background in the relevant sector of entrepreneurship but still they are overcoming the barriers through their determination and doing a remarkable job. From influencing others through starting their own ventures to making a social impact, women entrepreneurs are the influential one in today’s era.   Their ceaseless quench […]

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 […]

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.   […]

Success Story | Everyday is a Day to Restart Again

I  am : –  Kalpana, a Software Engineer, wife & mother of two, multitasking homemaker. My Expertise: Web Development of apps for Androids, iPhones, thin client, set top boxes, tabs. My passion: Computers Work to me is: a way of creatively working on technology.  Having worked for almost a decade, I wanted to take a sabbatical to look after my family and two beautiful kids.   How I used the time of break:  A career gap of 8 long years and every day was the day to get started. I connected with friends who inspired me and helped me to upgrade myself through skype. I did freelance projects and developed some confidence. I kept looking for projects and opportunities and volunteered in neighbourhood training centers too. My Motto: Never give up and keep moving. Even the smallest step taken is an effort towards the goal. Do not shut yourself up. And keep meeting people. Start networking. Not everyday will bring required results, but a result is guaranteed every day. HSI platform: Her Second Innings, helps capable women professionals /homemakers to find their calling in their second innings. Women looking to get back to their careers, or starting a career and needing advice to pursue alternate career to be financially independent have a community to help them through HSI. Assessment: Assessment programs were conducted by the team and the feedback was that there was a knowledge gap. This was a great breakthrough, as now I knew exactly where I was lagging […]

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 […]

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 […]

See Sawing Life – Balancing With Fun

“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices’’.  – Betsy Jacobson Family or Work? – It’s a dilemma that most of us are set with…torn between the endearing love for family and fierce determination to succeed in profession. While it’s difficult to weigh one against the other, best way is to balance it out, thereby creating a very cordial environment. It’s alike a See-Saw, balancing with fun. Normal social construct is that spending more time at office portrays a person’s ambition. Being driven by this paradigm tends to take a toll on the concept of balance. Work – life balance is very vital so that one is not compromised for the other. While we are driven by family values, credit has to be given to the fact that Career is built through years of hard work and unyielding efforts. Both play an important role in our lives. Some tips to balance both:   Prioritize your day and plan accordingly: If you need to leave early or will be delayed coming home, set the right expectations with your family members. Check if your better half can come in early if you are held up at work.   The Art of saying NO: There is little need to take up every assignment that comes your way. Weigh the opportunity and judge how it will help you grow professionally. If it doesn’t add any value, let it go.   Delegate: Whether at work […]