Overcoming unthinkable challenges during a career break, only to come back with a bang
“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish”
– Michelle Obama
A Career break is a constant reminder of living with your own choices. And it isn’t a YES or NO kind of situation. Sometimes you may feel proud of your decision; at times, you can feel hopeless. The feeling of not being in control of our own life doesn’t mix well with our confidence. But the decisions we make during that period chart the future, and it can teach us a lot; the greatest of all is how to shrug off negative feelings and get back on the proverbial horse.
Read this self-motivating story narrated by Manjari Singh, our Business Analyst Who’s Been There… Done That … And broke her glass ceiling!
In 2013, I decided to give a break to my career I had been in, for the past 7 years. My husband and I were moving to Switzerland. I won’t lie, there were so many mixed feelings surrounding this decision, that I couldn’t think straight for one moment.
But I chose to ignore all the negativity around me and happily moved there. Being in a completely foreign environment, it was just us for a while. From figuring out which day the trash pickup comes to relearning new grocery names, we had to do it all on our own.
Talk about Couple of Goals!
We settled in gradually; I completed my Masters and started learning German classes to feel at home there. I even invested in mastering culinary skills as it has been my stress-busting hobby for ages. Not to forget sketching and painting that were deep-rooted in me all along. Each day was an opportunity for me. To learn something new, to experiment and to ace my sabbatical. And I was feeling good about it.
Back to Pavillion
creating goals, connecting with people.
While I was taking one day at a time, I realized that I wasn’t the same person before I left for Switzerland. Of course, I had grown in other fields, but workwise I didn’t think going back to my old job would be interesting. I was looking for something more from my career. So, I started reaching out to my network – my past colleagues, my classmates and my friends.
But I failed miserably and at times cried my heart out at times to feel better. I could see everyone looking at me in a certain way; that I didn’t like at all. I started spiralling away thinking about how everyone else was in a better position than me. I admired the house help and the community helpers, and everyone who had somewhere to go every morning.
THE PANDEMIC HIT
Only when I was thinking I was going through the worst phase of my life, it threw a bag of lemons so huge, that my face split into two. Covid happened and I was diagnosed with a serious health condition. I would have shattered, but I chose to persevere. I tried finding inner peace by practicing spirituality. Like I wanted, it made me head strong & I managed to overcome the barriers that came along.
It took me almost nine months to recover. I had my family supporting me in every way. My husband didn’t give up on me. And slowly I regained my health and restarted my routine exercise – swimming, jogging and studying.
Until finally, a few days into the routine, back when I was just focusing on my health and my life, one of my family introduced me to the UNGAP Initiative. I never felt so right for something. It was like all my failed attempts had toughened me to be ready for my moment.
Suddenly, all the struggles, my physical challenges, my emotional unrest found solace in this one-of-a-kind opportunity. And here I am, the first real story of a career break, persevering, and acing my re-career as a Business Analyst.
I still remember my family’s encouraging words- “It’s Now or Never.”
And I chose NOW.