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For many Indian women at work, the mid-career stage can be frustrating as personal and professional goals collide. Here’s to breaking the impasse!
Indian women at work often find themselves stuck mid-career with little opportunity for growth. This is for a number of reasons; many working women are burdened with balancing work and life, lack options to relocate to a better job owing to personal constraints and therefore, accept the situation, but feel stuck.
To all the mid-level mid-career Indian women out there, here is a reason to cheer – you have already proven yourself by sticking to the career grind for so long. You are known as ‘inventories’ in your companies because you are there for more than a few years now and are role models to entry-level employees.
This year let’s do more to break the vicious cycle of fewer appraisals–no promotion-lack of motivation.
Update your CV not only to apply for a new job but to look at the achievements from the last year and highlight your strong and weak points. Get a clear picture and create goals for the year. Identify steps to reach the goal based on your strong points; be proactive to improve the weak areas.
Often, working in the same role, we lose the lust to work and spend days in auto-pilot mode completing routine tasks. Find new ways for self motivation, learn new MS office suite skills, improve the daily trackers using automation, find a better posture to sit at work – these are just some of the things we can learn. Being mindful of what we do can save us from feeling stuck.
It is important to invest time and money into our career. This year, target an area of improvement and go back to school to get trained. Most companies do have employee-training programs for interested candidates. Otherwise, invest in yourself. Attending classes is a great way to look afresh into what we do.
We are not college kids any more where we always move around in a circle of buddies. Being an adult is also about getting acquainted and bonding with more people. Don’t avoid the company wide meets to network with people outside of your project. Show interest in their work, learn about their worries – you may not feel so stuck.
Are you in one position for more than 3 years and don’t see a promotion coming on your way? It is time to do a reality check. There may be people in the team who are better or more visible than you. This may also tell you that you are not passionate about what you are doing and you need to look around.
Check with Human Resources about the plans of other departments/ teams on internal job postings. Sniff for suitable options available and design a lateral move towards a more visible area.
Many Indian women need to walk some way before they can negotiate as well as their male counterparts. We are raised to listen to others and this conditioning is hard to break. If not salary, then try negotiating for other things you may need such as flexi-timing or work from home options. Use the time saved to learn new skills. You can also negotiate to take on a more challenging job – this makes your CV stronger to negotiate on salary or to move on.
We often restrict our voices at high level meetings. We prefer not to speak because we don’t want to take more responsibility or we are not confident. If a new responsibility looks interesting and challenging, then go for it, and slowly transfer your old and monotonous responsibilities to others. No one is perfect and you will learn your way.
To move upward, show your capability that you can do it now – that will come only by getting more involved with peers, managers and higher management.
Know how your job contributes to the company goals. It is vital to know if we are giving anything extra to the company; for example in a start-up environment, any individual can bring a lot of value by writing blogs, and white papers, going beyond their core role. Picking up tasks to train or mentor others, getting involved in new innovations or lean programs are a few other avenues to get involved in strategic company interests and diversify our roles.
There’s no doubt that an office environment can get pretty boring at times. Find inspiration from other places like web communities (including women’s communities such as Lean In, Sheroes, and Women’s Web) to learn about matters important to you.
A web revolution is going on among Indian working women – take advantage of that, participate with your thoughts, build a circle, and reach out to the other Indian working women out there.
Participate in the social initiatives from your company and enjoy the act of giving. Helping others is the best way to find acknowledgement in what you do.
Every job and every line of work has its own ups and downs, it is important to motivate ourselves; a big body of good work never goes unnoticed. Let’s keep going in our own little ways!
Woman across the gap pic credit Shutterstock
A science researcher finding ways into broader science careers. A women enthusiast to the core
This is a good overview of helping women get back to work but I would add two point.
Firstly, recognize the skills you have acquired because you were on a career break- Multi tasking, organisational ability and focus( especially when that break was to have babies). Secondly, consider project based work, though portals like gharkamai.com, elancer.com so that you can still have some flexibility and understand what are the new industry standards.
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