We are still living in the day and age where managers are wary of hiring women in their 20s and 30s, lest they get pregnant, and their incumbent maternity leaves prove to be financially viable to the company. It is also difficult for a woman to try and make a career comeback after marriage and kids because it is misconstrued that she won’t be completely focussed on her career. In the face of so many hurdles, what takes a professionally competent woman to make a successful career comeback?
Author and blogger Kiran Manral feels that women themselves need to be compelled enough to make it happen, “Be confident, don’t settle for less because you’ve taken a break. You bring experience to the table and let no company tell you your break for child rearing has eroded your value as an employee.”
Entrepreneur Neha Bagaria took almost a four-year break from her career, during which she became aware of the various challenges faced by women trying to re-enter the workforce. She found out that found that 50% of all working women in India drop out of the workforce in 3 years. This led her to start, JobsForHer, a Bengaluru-based connecting portal that enables women on a professional break to restart their careers.
She suggests, “A sabbatical from work is the best time to upgrade your skills in your particular field of expertise. There are many ways to do this – online and offline – wherever you may live. Check out what’s new with an MS Office course, or any other computer skills course, get familiar with business writing by attending classes at your local college for a pass/fail credit, versus actual grades (an easy way to attend at your flexibility), do online tutorials in whatever skill/subject you feel you would like to work in now, for your second career.”
Kiran also recommends keeping in touch with one’s former colleagues and peers from the industry, “I’d recommend keeping in touch with ex-colleagues to know about possible openings, and not burning all one’s bridges. It is also a good idea to stay connected with the changes happening in the industry.”
Both Kiran and Neha agree that a family’s support also goes a long way in helping a woman get back to her career. As Neha adds, “To be able to do it all, you’d need support, and that can come in any form – a husband, a co- worker, neighbours or a neighbourhood crèche. They all help to make life a little bit easier and make that transition back to work life so much better.”