12 months in 2014 taught me more than 12 lessons as a Working Mother

Last updated 30 Dec 2016 . 6 min read

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As I look back on my career journey in 2014, I recognize that this year has been significant for me in very many ways. Firstly, I worked for one more year, so “ 1” in my resume for number of years of work experience. While there were some highs in this duration, this year was filled with rocky patches at work and my quest to find that elusive ‘work-life resonance’. What I realized along the way is this:

1) The ‘rocky patches’ at work will continue to exist , just that their dimensions and nature will change – but what matters the most is how you deal with it and how you let it affect your life– especially your self-confidence, self-worth and family / personal relationships.

2) There is no universal definition of ‘Work life resonance’. It is simply what works for you and what trade-offs are you willing to make for those choices. There is no right or wrong. You should be able to go to bed at night in-spite / despite your choices, and that’s what counts.

But beyond this, every month of 2014 taught me something which inspired a specific writing piece. In this post, I’m putting it all together to share my Reflections and Lessons as a Women at Work

January  : It is the start of the New year. New beginnings. New possibilities. This year I did not start with goals or resolutions, but with questions . Asking yourself the right questions at the start of the year or at a critical phase in life compels you to think, ponder, understand – and many times burst your bubble so you can see things clearly. Click-over to this post on “Questions to Ask and answer for yourself”. As we end 2014, and enter into a new year 2015 – I strongly recommend you answer to yourself these questions too

February : This is the month of love, and as clichéd as it sounds “Self-Love is the best love”. And learning something new / interesting / exciting is a great way to love yourself. Click over to this post “Love thyself: Learn something new” to get inspired on learning something new

March: I realized that self-belief is key to keep and succeed in your career and life as a working mother. That inspired my post on “I believe in you, Do you?”. So the big question is Do you believe in yourself?

It was also the month when I truly realized the power of “Only Women” Social networks which inspired the post on women communities can be powerful peer-group support networks – which act as friends, guides, advisors or just punching bags to release all that is within your heart or mind

The other big take-away was about the importance of Saying NO and why women find it so hard to say No went into this post on “Women – When did you last say NO?”  If you can’t recall when you said No to someone, try it today!

The other topic I felt strongly about is the need and importance for mentorship among women professionals, which went into a post called “Mentors for working women – Essential, but do they exist?”

April: As a working mother, I realized that I could not function without taking help – both at work and at home. But there is some science, skill and art in asking for help which inspired my post on “Asking for help : Are you an A or D-“

May : This was the month that I realized that as working mothers 3F’s were important for long term career continuity and growth. Focus on what is important, Flexibility at critical life phases and Flow to keep your work and life going. These insights went into my post “A Working Mother’ Career Continuum : Focus, Flex. Flow” 

June: This was a time when I realized that for more women to continue meaningful careers and to flourish at work, we need systemic multi-dimensional change and those thoughts went into my post titled  “Do we need a Lean In movement in India?”

July: This was the month which marked the “rocky patch” at work for me. And I was unable to write. I did let it affect me in more ways than one. However, over the next few months, I found ways to deal with it

August : It was the month when I wondered about the need and importance for women to work. That inspired one of my most popular posts “ Why women should work? – Here are 30 good reasons” .Do read and feel free to add to the list with your comment

September : This was a defining month for me personally when I realized that so much needs to said and done for the case and cause of Indian Women At Work. Since I had already a significant body of writings on this topic, and felt strongly about it – I launched a new section on my blog for Women At Work. Do read, and if want me to write anything in specific, please leave a comment. I do plan to write more on this subject in 2015

I also tried to find mantras to live by as a working mother, and those thoughts came together on my post titled “Working Women : Mantras to Live By”. This was shared generously in several networks.

October: This was a busy festive month / season and as I tried to navigate through expectations of work and personal-front, I needed some guide to help me focus and prioritize on things which I need to do regularly. These thoughts came together in one of my first infographic titled “ SHEROES Must Do’s : Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly”. I find it a useful reminder every now and then

November : If there a prize for the FAQ(Frequently Asked Question) that I was asked in 2014 by women in my network, it was this. I’m on a career break and want to resume work. What options, possibilities, opportunities exist? It is to answer this question that I put in significant effort in one of my most shared post “Know a woman (in India) on a career break and looking to resume work? You must read this post

It was also the month that Sairee and the team at SheroesIndia invited me for their Delhi Summit. It was  a wonderful experience, and I wrote about my lessons, insights and experiences here. I do plan to attend in 2015 too

December:  2014 was also the year I finished 14 years of work experience, and so in the spirit of sharing what I learned all these years, I wrote a post “14 cherished lessons from 14 years of corporate work experience.

So that sums up my lessons as a working mother in 2014. What did 2014 teach you? Leave a comment to let me know.

2014 nischala
Nischala Murthy Kaushik
Nischala is an IT / Marketing professional with eons of experience in the corporate world. In her career, she has shouldered diverse roles both in India and abroad (US / Europe) – being responsible for strategy, marketing, business innovation, thought leadership, top-line growth, customer relationship management and project execution. She has been fortunate to experience in her career (up close and personal) the great, good, bad & ugly; and she survived. She’s also been a part of the industry highs and lows including the IT boom and recession, the financial crash, M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) and multiple organization re-structuring ; and all these experiences have given her a holistic understanding of work and life. Apart from paying the bills, all these lessons have given her enough thoughts, ideas and material to write regularly! For now, it all comes together on her blogs – Nischala’s Space, Thoughts and Expressions and VERVE : The Quintessence of my Life; both of which are listed among the Top Indian blogs. She is also proud to be a mother and an IIMB Alumni, both of which have been defining life moments. She loves writing, believes in the power of words and that words can make all the difference. Her writings have been published in many reputed magazines / publications / blogs / forums. Her claim to fame was that she was among the Top 10 Most Influential Bloggers in India and featured among the 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter. Connect with her on Twitter @nimu9

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