Break Ke Baad
More and more housewives are returning to work after a long career break, thanks to expanding career choices and family support.Sairee Chahal tells you the ways and means of getting back to the working table
India is home to the largest number of women graduates in the world. We are also home to the maximum number of career drop outs. Women, who anchor care giving economy, end up short changing their dreams and aspirations. Lack of parental support, long commutes, insensitive workplaces, gender stereotypes, end up with women ramping down on career success.
Amidst all this, we can extend dreams of great careers and help more and more women take charge of their work life choices. World is changing with plethora of options, choices, increasing career support and women negotiate their own destinies. This trend is encouraging more women to returning to work now than ever before. A new study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute, India reveals that India can increase its 2025 gross domestic product (GDP), estimated at $4.83 trillion, by between 16 per cent and 60 per cent simply by enabling women to participate in the economy at par with men. Equal participation by women would add as much as $28 trillion, or 26 per cent, to the world’s 2025 GDP.
Most women also have a challenge in managing transition as they change formats, sectors, build a different life with children and find that no structured, real help is available.
Friends and family are well intentioned and not often in a position to help beyond prescriptive advise. Transition management is a reality of today and most women need supportive frameworks and an culture of mentorship as they move from one phase of life to another.
A range of resources and platforms are available to women as they come back to work. One needs to evaluate one’s own readiness to start or get back to work. They need to understand by getting a perspective on the current workplace scenario, what opportunities exist and what it may take. They should develop a sense of confidence, including the strengths that can be leveraged. One can also the gaps in knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and skills, and take right actions to overcome it.
Some newage career options that one can look forward in 2016 are:
- The storyteller:The individual storyteller, content strategist, and the connector of dots will reserve a special place for themselves. At times when content is king and storytelling is a dying (but an irreplaceable) art form, employers will constantly be on the lookout for those who can catch the pulse of the audience, get them hooked onto the marketing message and strike an emotional chord with them. Their communication skills will be perceived as game changers and will rise in prominence.
- Design engineers:A professional, who can redesign, reimagine, re-chart, recalibrate and collaborate, will be in high demand. This unique skill set will help organisations work on revolutionary products of tomorrow and will give them that professional edge over their contemporaries.
- Automation and technology: These two sectors will render many process-based jobs especially in sectors like banking, IT and customer care, redundant.
Here are a few suggestions for all those women, who want to get back to work once again.
KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
Companies always look at your last job role when hiring. Recruiters may ask you questions about the break you took and the time period it stretched on for, but don’t let that faze you. Be confident of the work that you have done in the past and the right employer will certainly value you for the skills and talent that you bring on board.
You have to stay abreast of the latest trends related to work. This would require you to stay updated during the break by traditional ways of brushing up skills and knowledge. Freelance work can also be a good idea. This will give the employers an impression that you have used the break well, they will not be afraid of giving you a second chance.
MAKE A NETWORK
Be in touch with old colleagues and employers as this might help you in your search for an appropriate opening or get you good references that can increase your chances of getting selected for a job interview. You can also attend professional seminars, which can give a chance to interact with people from your choice of industry and help you in landing up with better opportunities.
BE CONFIDENT AT INTERVIEWS
On the D-day, don’t be nervous. Be resilient to asking questions about the company’s flexible work policies, whether people work beyond regular working hours or about how many of their employees work flexibly. Try to put them in an indirect way. Once you are offered the job, explain them why you might need to do it on a flexible basis. Be realistic and do not ask for a degree of flexibility which clearly will not work for the kind of job you are applying for.
As you are at a disadvantage at this stage, being flexible is a good idea. Do not make your decisions basis the compensation and be negotiable. But that does not mean you let yourself be treated as a cheap labour. Agree to a compensation which is at par the experience and industry standards. If an organisation belongs to the emerging high-growth sectors or is a smaller firm, pay attention to the job profile and prospects and not on the size of the organisation. Lastly, invest in yourself and in your career. Ditch the guilt. Find people and resources that can help. Keep making progress every day. Because, your career is forever!
(the writer is founder and ceo, sheroes.in)
This article was originally published -- here