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Career Tips For Women Starting Late Careers

Posted: July 16, 2013

Can you begin your career in your mid-30s? Two Indian women share their career tips for women who are beginning late careers.

Many Indian women do not really have a chance to pursue a career in their 20s. There could be many reasons for this – marriage, looking after the children or parents and other factors prevent some Indian women from following a career early in life. However, the desire to start working is present in several of them and for some, it never really goes away.

Here are some useful career tips for women who want to start afresh in their 30s.

Challenges that Indian women face when starting careers late

Indian women who have no work experience are hesitant about fitting in. Age is not the problem here; fitting in is. Another challenge is either retraining oneself or learning something new altogether. It is quite daunting to go out and either look for work or retrain yourself when you’re so much older. However, Sairee Chahal of Fleximoms states that there are many Indian women who get into fields that interest them or where they have been comfortable before, like apparel, baking, art and craft. Sairee opines, “A certain comfort zone exists – for instance a person who has done English Honours can get into journalism”. You have to find your niche is how she sums it up.

Be aware of your strengths

Bangalore based Aparna Chetan, 41, started Twam Global Advisors Pvt Ltd seven months ago. Married at 22 and living in a joint family meant that she could not go out to work. She rues, “They didn’t like a daughter-in-law going out to work.”  Life went on, she had a son and when he was about a year and a half old, she started wondering what to do with her time. Aparna had moved out of her in-law’s house by then. She started working a part time job, when she was 28 and taught basic English at a spoken English centre. This exposure made her realize that her strong communication skills were her advantage.

A short while later, she was offered a job as a HR consultant. This was the turning point. Aparna realized that she was born to be an HR professional while working for this firm. She states, “You have to find that link to what you’re good at. If you’re good at what you’re doing, nothing else matters.” 4 years later, she moved to CISCO, did her post-graduation from XLRI and then there was no looking back. She believes, “Being a mother and a wife was not good enough for me. I was determined to do something with my life and I have.” Aparna shares her career tips for other Indian women in similar situations:

– Be confident of yourself.

– You have to be comfortable with what you’re doing.

– You need to do something for yourself. You owe it to yourself.

Choose what works for you

Ritu Garodia, a 38 year old lawyer in Delhi has a similar story. Like Aparna, she too married young and into an orthodox family. She says, “There was no question of working women.” Time went by, she had two children after which she became more independent, and tried her hand at selling Tupperware and supplying educational toys to schools. These initiatives did not really satisfy her. She soon realized that she needed a strong educational background. Ritu elaborates, ”I was about 30 when I started studying Law in Delhi University. I chose this subject because it sounded interesting and also because I could choose my working hours. That was very important for me.“

Ritu soon learnt the ropes of the trade and started her own practice last year. “I am doing very well and I can arrange my dates according to the needs of my family. This is exactly what I wanted. I am very happy I did it, when I did it. My children were younger and easier to manage at that time.” Her career tips to other Indian women who are starting their careers late includes:

– Believe in yourself.

– It is a learning process – give yourself time to adjust and adapt. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

– Yes, there will be problems and obstacles, but at the end of the day, they can be overcome.

Most importantly, Indian women who wish to start their careers later in life should keep these career tips for women in mind:

– You have to grow again. Learn to realign yourself to what the world has to offer today. Make yourself ready for the workplace.

– Do a reality check – how real are your skills? Remember that the market values your skills and not your age.

– Put yourself out of your comfort zone. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Growth is only possible if you are out of your comfort zone.

– Be true to yourself- figure out why you want to do this at this stage in your life.

Embarking on a career later on in life is not difficult. Put your mind to it and you are sure to succeed.

*Image via Unsplash

Melanie Lobo is a freelance writer. She grew up in cities across India but now

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