She Is Stepping Out At Night For Work, Not For Your Dirty Looks!

Men aren't judged on for working late. Then why does society hold a different standard for women coming home late from work?

9th July 2012.

My first night shift.

The shift was supposed to be 11.30 pm – 8.30 am (IST) It was for a Canadian process, and yes I worked for a customer service voice process, more commonly termed as BPO or call centre. 

Being an independent working woman- a matter of pride!

I was waiting for my final year result (engineering) and meanwhile took this job on a contract basis only to keep my finances running. I did not want to be a burden to my parents. Besides dealing with issues like adjusting my body clock to work at night, sleeping during the day, eating meals, and keeping myself hydrated enough that I don’t fall sick, there were other issues that I had to face to continue my job.

Back then, society had a mindset that all the work that happens at night is that of prostitution. Every night I used to wait for my cab below the building where I stayed in a rented flat. The looks that I got from every passer-by, I vividly remember it to date! 

Society’s judgements are unfounded but still damaging

Those looks used to make me feel dirty about myself. It was the struggle of conscience that was going on inside me.

“I know I am clean with my character, I know I am not doing anything wrong, and to top all these things my parents trust me, then I do not have anything else to worry about.” Repeating this to myself multiple times, helped me reach a state of clear conscience.  

Working night shifts and BPO is not as bad as it is thought to be. I have made so many good friends working in night shift. When you are good at heart, others take care of you. Yes, we do read and get to hear incidents happening. Fortunately, I always had people around me who used to make every female employee feel safe, may it be a security guard cab driver, my team leader, or the managers. 

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BPOs are an important part of our economy

Also, a BPO job or a call centre job is a very underrated profile in Indian society. When a particular gadget or card (debit or credit card) has some issues or isn’t working, then you rightfully call the respective call centre numbers to take their case left, right, and centre. However, when it’s a girl working in night shift then it’s a no-no. Her character is doubted. WHY? 

There is a saying in MARATHI, “Shivaji Janmawa pan shejar chya ghari!”, which means all the liberal and rational talking happens but when it is time to show support or back someone who is rebellious or chooses an unconventional path then there is no action that is taken.  

A few days back, we returned from a family function and I saw a girl waiting for her cab. She was dressed formally and was wearing the ID card as well.

All these memories flashed in a second, and I was brought back to 2023, the same situation today as well. I managed to strike up a conversation with her to accompany her till her cab arrived! 

Image Source: Canva Pro

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About the Author

Nilshree Damani Yelulkar

A mother, homemaker, self-published author, founder, and podcast host at Authoropod. read more...

28 Posts | 16,550 Views

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