03 the turning point: Secret Diary of a Businesswoman
I was learning and growing in the corporate environment, both, mentally and financially, it seemed like my business aspiration took a back seat because I was enjoying my work. I entered the beautiful phase of marriage and then was blessed with a baby girl. So the personal life was also growing well with career. I took a maternity break of three months which was usual in most organisations at that time.
Since I completed more than 2 years in the organization, my promotion was due. However, during my maternity break, this came to me as a shock that my boss, who was demanding at work, didn’t promote me. I felt disappointed but was still optimistic. I made an effort to meet her during my break. On being asked why I am not promoted despite best efforts, she said, “You have just delivered a baby and for the next 6 months you will be going home early you know.” She also added that the HR Manager also feels that way. “Early” here means mostly an hour after office time. We were normally used to stay back for an average of 2.5 hours after office hours as a team. The thought in my head was 'When my pregnancy never affected my work, how my motherhood will impact my productivity'.
More than a bump of not getting promoted, I was upset about the fact that the two women who made this decision were both mothers. I was offered a great salary hike to make up for it. I had seen a few cases where women were not given their dues just because they went through different phases of life. However, I never thought this can happen to me.
Today things might be much better for women, but back then it changed something in me. There is no connection between becoming a mother and productivity at work unless there are extreme situations. I realized in a job the outcome of your efforts will always be controlled by someone else. It's when I decided to create my own identity rather than working for 9:00 to 9:00 thankless jobs.
While I was contemplating my next move to pursue a full-time Ph.d. Just after my farewell, I received an offer through a LinkedIn connection. It was for a Corporate Strategy role with a promising future and more autonomy. It got me excited and I joined one of the biggest Infrastructure Financing Company in India. I was clear in my head that if this one didn’t work out, I will quit my corporate career. I always followed a rule in life. Four Monday morning blues in a row means time to quit. Exactly the same happened. In eight months I started having Monday morning blues primary reason, a bullying boss. It’s so tragic often people in leading roles, fail to see their behavior patterns.
Before quitting this time, I invested my time in deciding the right move. My business was already there in the back of my mind so I decided to sharpen my consulting skills along with learning more about Entrepreneurship landscape in India. I was working with founders and CEOs, which had offered me great exposure and awesome financial stability. Leaving it meant letting go of a financially secure future for myself and my family. But then I took a plunge to upskill myself with the entrepreneurial ecosystem and my calling as an entrepreneur, trainer, and advisor to SMEs. I joined NIESBUD, a government organization that provides training to entrepreneurs not only in India but also to more than 150 countries visiting its campus every year.
It was not easy to quit. A lot of people questioned this decision including close friends and family. My mother didn’t talk to me properly for many days. I was called insane to leave my job at a golden time. Amidst all this, my partner was by my side and always encouraged me to follow my instincts. Although maintaining sanity while hustling for work, parenting and a joint family was a bit of challenge, but I always enjoyed it as we had an equal stake in every aspect of life.
Before joining NIESBUD I had already worked in quite a few sectors like Education, Health, Development, Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure financing. By virtue of working with leading Industry Associations of India, I had experienced work styles, lifestyles, strategic intent and influences of more than 100 biggest entrepreneurs and Businessmen of their time. It helped me perform at my best.
I left no stone unturned to exploit my skills at work, explore the best recourses and produce some great work at NIESBUD for more than three years.