9 Things My Career Restart Did For Me
- Kaajal A
- Back to Work
- 15 Feb 2018
The community I belong to, a ‘working woman’ (at least in my younger days), was an unheard- of phenomenon. A girl was never raised to think outside-the-box. The world she saw within her home was the world she recreated as her life in the future too.
A woman from the Sindhi clan had one route and one route alone. She studied, until she was a graduate at the most, and was then married into a house that she would make proud.
No, not by unearthing and putting to use the talents that she, like every single being, is blessed with, or by stepping on to the career ladder and ascending it; but instead, by giving the family that she was now part of, a set of hands to share the housework, a presence that would accentuate their name in society, and the sons they needed to take the family name further.
And I say all this with no intentions whatsoever of demeaning those customs or placing blame on the people and the society in which we were raised. It was what they knew and was thus what they passed on… without question, without change.
My purpose in sharing this is merely to create a scenario to hold good and prove true all that I’m about to tell you…
We all come back to work for myriad reasons.
When I came back to work after an 11-year break (yes, against all norms, I did go to work and there’s a history behind that too; and if you’re intrigued to know how and why you can read my story here: http://bit.ly/2o0pSyr), I did so to cast away the devils of an idle mind. As simple as that.
But the outcomes that came from it were so manifold, that I can’t keep them locked away. They manifest themselves in my life every day, and must hence be told.
Because blessings are treasures that must be shared.
And THIS I didn't know I had until my first LIVE video!!
These are the 9 things that my restart did for me: ( at least the ones that I can count!)
1. Prepared Me For the Empty Nest Syndrome:
As the bud must blossom into the flower – everything must transform and evolve. And our young ones too are no exception to that law of nature. Which means that as they grow, they require less and less of us, day after day.
When that began happening with me, little did I know (being so used my boy’s dependence on me) that I’d end up trying so hard to fill those empty hours.
And just like that, I caught a glimpse of what the years ahead might hold, if I did not prepare to find my space and identity soon.
Yes, a doting mother and a caring wife I always will be, but… what would I be if I weren’t either of those?
I had to find out.
2. Helped Me Use My Extra Hours Beautifully and Took Care of the Devil (no, not my son, an idle mind!):
Apart from a rigorous exercise routine after my daily chores in the morning, until my son got back from school, I was pretty much:
- trying to plan lunches with friends,
- shopping online (buying stuff that I didn’t need),
- diligently napping every afternoon (and waking up as lethargic as ever), and…
- ahem… peeking into other’s lives (celeb and non-celeb figures, thank you very much! I hate to admit it but it was true!).
And oh, did I mention nagging my husband and picking on my son for the silliest of things?!
THAT was my wake up call. It was time to pull up my socks and get movinnn!
3. Showed Me That I Can Do More Than Housework and Be More Than Mommy:
In the 18 years that I’d been married (apart from running an entrepreneurial setup for 8 of those years), all I’d used my head and hands for were tending to my ailing in-laws, running a home, and raising my son (I realize how weighty those tasks are as I pen them down!).
Yes, they were the need of the hour, and they needed my intervention.
But after my in-laws passed, and my son was almost 10 years old, I felt the need to nurture my creative side. In fact, discover if I even had one!
4. Gave Me the Answer to that Dreaded Question: ‘So, What Do You Do?’
Those initial days where I’d run into mums outside my son’s playschool - who, just like me, had wound up their lives and built their worlds around their babies, and felt mighty proud of it - were slowly but surely fading away.
On many occasions when I’d come face to face with, “So, what do you do?’’, as a very natural part of a conversation, I’d begin to get uncomfortable. Not with the question, and certainly not because I was a devoted mother, but with the realization that I knew I could do more – with my time, my headspace, and my gift.
5. Helped Me Be the Role Model I Want to Be For My Son:
When children grow up watching their parents go to work, many-a-lesson that we wish for them to imbibe naturally becomes a part of their thought processes and their lives ahead. They learn:
- That both parents are equal - that each contributes towards the running of a home, as much as towards the raising of their children.
- The concept of shared support – that they (children), just like their parents, who possibly have long days at work, have an equal hand in the chores at home.
- A sense of independence – which leads them to rely on themselves for everyday matters that otherwise fall upon the parents.
6. Got My Husband to Value Me and My Time
Although my husband grew up in an atmosphere where he witnessed women nurturing homes alone, and although he never understood my need to go back to work – being financially sound and since our son was the centre of our world, today, he knows that my time is precious; that I’m not always ‘available’, that there’s a life and an identity that I’ve built for myself outside my home.
And he respects and values that by graciously making space for all that this new arena of my life requires from me.
7. Put my Entire Day in Place:
Prior to getting back to work, I would aimlessly juggle around any part of my day. My exercise routine, grocery shopping, visit to a friend, and more.
But now with my work hours in place, prioritizing and planning becomes essential. And I love how that adds a great deal of productivity to my day.
The prioritizing helps you keep all that truly requires attention – work, family, friends, exercise, leisure and the like; and takes away or minimizes all those things that don’t – gossip, social media, excessive indulgences, and the like.
8. My Work Took Away the Pain:
Each one of us battles days when our hearts and minds are so consumed with certain issues of everyday life – a misunderstanding with a spouse, a disagreement with a friend or neighbour, a tussle with your child, or an argument with a shopkeeper.
And from being minor, almost insignificant issues, by virtue of the emptiness in our heads and the extravagance of time on our hands, they turn into major, almost-immediate-attention-seeking ones.
And I had firsthand experience of that.
But when I went back to work, slowly but surely, everything began finding its place and priority in an order that we’d deem fit for a healthy and happy life.
I learnt how to choose my battles wisely.
9. Surfaced Confidence, Clarity and Humor:
While I’d almost always thought myself to be a confident persona, coming back to work showed me that what I perceived was only the tip of the iceberg.
That being part of a team and interacting with people from varied walks of life who came with experiences that could only enrich your own thought processes, reporting to higher-ups, working inside an office with a firm work ethic and culture in place, was a different ball game altogether.
Today, when my conversations have gone beyond the best restaurant or movie in town, our next family holiday, or my son’s report card, I realize what my work has given me.
When it came to my abilities, clarity and humour were two traits that I’d almost written off. But my restart proved me wrong and how!
Today, along with a promptness and surety in knowing and deciding where I’d like to head out to, what I‘d like to buy, and ALSO what I’d like to keep away from, I love how humour has found a way into my life – not just as a part of conversations (thank god for that!), but also as a part of my dealings with life and all that it throws at you.
Do You Feel the Need to Do More With Your Time Too?
About the Writer:
Kaajal Ahuja is a commerce graduate, who worked in the field of Customer Support first at HDFC Bank, and then at Dell International. During her 11-year career break, she spent four years volunteering as a Teacher at a government-run educational institution and also ran her own enterprise – ‘’Hey Gorgeous’’ – alongside, for 8 years. It was during her break that she discovered her love for writing, and is back to work, now as a Senior Content Writer at JobsForHer. She is married and is an upbeat mommy to a 13-year-old.