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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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  1. That’s inspiring Melanie. Even I am 34, a housewife and mother of two children. I did my engineering in Information Technology 10 years back and then got married. And now I have free time and wants to work, but it’s difficult to get a job in my field as a fresher with a gap of 10 years. Still I am trying my best to start my career.

  2. NIce to hear that. i am a 32yr old . i had to take break to bring up my family. but now i have done a course in java . and doing my best to kick start my career.

  3. Most important do not wait for an “ideal” situation – position wise, money wise, company brand wise – just start with anything to ur strength – everything else will slowly fall into place. Also be aware that you can never really make up for the lost time – saves a lot of heartburn.

  4. These tips are encouraging and practical as well. While starting a career at a later stage of life, one has to be ready adapt to a new environment but choosing a line of your expertise makes it easier and enjoyable too. You’ve mentioned very valid points.

  5. Thank you Nisha, Rani, Sita and Diana. It’s good to know that you found this article useful.

  6. Jayakumar Chandhavolu -

    I believe I am the first man to pen here to support housewives to start their career. Women need to prove their ability in many areas and are equally important to men. I should rather say they are way ahead to men in many ways. I learnt this when I had started my career after returning from abroad. In most of the I.T companies Women lead many men and they are very good at tackling situations. Men listen to women at work as their style is explicitly different. My wife is one among your team who is looking in starting a career and I feel sorry for her as she is struggling to start her career of her choice since last 3 years.

    I wish you all good luck and Melanie, this is indeed a good writeup. Women – Please do not lose hope and keep trying.

    • Dear Jayakumar, Thank you for your encouraging words to all the women out there who are starting their careers later in life. Am glad that you liked the article. Do hope your wife draws inspiration from it as well. Good luck to her in her search.

    • In today’s world its hard to see a man like to you sir.I am happy to see the post that you are supporting your wife career goals and her wishes. My hands off to such man.I wish all the women who is sincerely and dedicatively looking out for the job in any field.Finally happy to see the post that really motivates all women.Thank YOU

  7. Just dont know what i am best at. Cant even decide job field to apply. But i want to do something to earn my own bread butter. Its not my need but its my want. What should i do?

  8. Same here Ami D. Even im confused. Bt its my need. As im 32 homeless jobless with a 18month old kid. Life is a nightmare! I hav workd at bpos earlier..like ibm hcl etc but at ths phase of life i cnt cope with life n baby opting for bpos agn..pls help with ideas guys..

  9. anuradha.malhotra@yahoo.com -

    Yes MELANIE very useful and inspiring article …..I am 42 ….. Graphic Designer …. Want to do more study so I Decided to learn Law…I think this is better for my career and Earnings… thanks

  10. I have worked in recruitment firm before marriage. I have done my post graduation in HR. Now age 35 yrs and wanted to do a job. How to start with, St this age will I get a job.

  11. Madam [ am 34 years old did my B.com and computers . IWANT TO STSRT MY CAREER NOW so please help out.

  12. Eagerly waiting for u r suggestion thank u mam please lead me with eassy going field

  13. hi,i am 35 yr old.i was working as oracle database trainer.since 3+ yr i am unemployed & due to some issue i am unable to find suitable job for me.can u plz suggest me on that.i want to start my career..is it very late to start?plz help me.

  14. i am too late in my carrer in life but trying hard, as i know nothing is imposibal

  15. K.shravanthi -

    Hi…… Even am too late to start up my career.

  16. hi i am 32 yr old …i am Masters in Physics and M tech in Instrumentation and controlled engg..how can i get a job in co orporate sector

  17. I am 38 and looking at options. I have worked as an associate editor in private company, but I want to build a career. I am thinking about learning law. What is the career path to get a degree in law and how can I build a career with it at this late an age.

  18. Hi I’m 34 year housewife with a 2 year old daughter. Worked as lecturer for 7 years in colleges. Now i wud like 2 work in IT companies as a fresher do I have opportunities.

  19. hi my name is surekha did not study well but did my b.com in open university but dint pass 12th so did open university now what type of job oriented course shall i take pls help

  20. hi im Simrit. have worked as a PGT. pol sc teacher for 11 years. had to quit my job coz of family.Now after 11 yrs of being a housewife i want to restart with a new career. but no idea what to do what are my strengths and where should i start?

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