Source | JobsforHer : By Kaajal Ahuja
Born and brought up in Orissa, I’d always enjoyed my school life despite a great deal of discipline and studies. Being the studious kind, after my 10th, I was keen on joining the science stream with my other friends. But, since it was too expensive for my family to afford, my father suggested I pursue Commerce. As Math was among my strengths, and also since this was as per tradition, I complied with the norm.
Alongside, I also enrolled myself in various computer courses as I envisioned a future software. I decided to do my MCA via correspondence and wanted to support myself financially through this, so I looked for part-time work, which I began by giving tuitions.
Soon after, I joined my first company, (in Delhi) a franchise of Eureka Forbes, as an office assistant. There, I balanced a host of administrative work, which required heightened multitasking skills. After 6 months, I moved to Gurgaon for a better opportunity.
I grew steadily through the ranks in the human resources industry…
From 2005 to 2011 I grew steadily through the ranks in the human resources industry. I went from Process Associate to Process Developer to SPOC-Quality for an entire cluster, to Domain Lead, and received multiple awards for my work – Process Wizard, Team of the Cluster, Quest Award, Extra Miler, and the HRO Innovation Monetary award, to name a few. It is heartening when your work is acknowledged and this propelled me to aim higher in my career. At its peak, I was given a team of 12 people, whom I cross-trained with the knowledge of both the medical & educational reimbursement domains and in one and a half years, that system was running like a well-oiled machine.
During this time, I graduated personally too. I tied the knot in 2011. Fortunate to have gained a supportive family, I continued to work until I was forced to quit when my health began to deteriorate.
A new chapter of life…
In the years ahead, I was blessed with a baby girl and a new chapter of life. I was very weak at the time and thankfully my mother-in-law was there to support us all.
After 5 months I went to my hometown. Although I came back rejuvenated to resume my career, which I did, my 7-month-old was having a hard time adapting to my absence. And so, yet again, I stepped down, choosing to put family first.
Before long, my husband was offered a lucrative job opportunity, and so we relocated to Bangalore in 2014.
I had promised myself that I would never quit…
One fine day, when the two of us sat down to a cup of coffee, I told him of how I was torn between not wanting to let go of my career and having to leave behind my daughter to be able to work. After having nearly 8 years of experience in the HR domain, I was finding it difficult to stay at home and shift my focus completely only towards managing a home and child.
He understood the struggle within me, but we also realized that no one else in our new neighborhood could nurture and care for our little one the way a family member would. So we jointly decided that I should give my time to my daughter till she was 5 years old because her initial years would be the most precious ones.
And there began my journey of being a stay-at-home mom; one that I loved (and thoroughly cherish to date). But, even then, I always had at the back of my mind, that dying urge to go back to my career and start working, as I had promised myself that I would never quit. Despite involving myself in many work-from-home projects, nothing came close to giving me the satisfaction of working full time.
4 years went by…
One day, when I casually asked my 4-year-old, “How about if mamma also went to work and earned money so we can travel more, buy more toys, and also save more?’’ She instantly said ‘’YES mamma!’’. And that day I decided to try it out, maybe just for a month, to see how things went.
After discussing the matter with my family, I began applying for jobs. Through the JobsForHer website, I received an immediate response, was in fact selected in my first round of interview, and here I am today!
Unconsciously, my little girl understood my urge and showed me the way to my career front…
My life after restarting couldn’t be better. I make sure that all my household responsibilities are completed before I step out. My mother-in-law, my husband and I have divided responsibilities so that it becomes easier for all of us.
And believe it or not, my little girl suddenly seems to have gotten bigger. After playing she puts her toys away, keeps her plate in the sink after eating, packs her own school bag, puts her dirty clothes in the laundry basket and dresses herself after school, AND helps me in my household chores!
And she is all of 4 years old!
It is now only a month since I joined Pairee Infotech, but my daughter has accommodated the change beautifully! She is my biggest strength. Unconsciously, she understood my urge and showed me the way to my career front. In fact, sometimes I think she’s too mature and practical for her age.
My life has come full circle in the sense that I am now nurturing a family and my passion, something that I once only dreamt of doing. Of course, I have my mother-in-law and my husband to bolster me every now and then; and to have that, I am truly blessed.
My comeback made me realize that you just have to take the first step, and everything else, eventually, falls in place.
Before restarting my career I’d often wonder how I’d cope with brushing up my skills and updating my knowledge to match with the current work environment, but my work taught me that experience is the biggest teacher.