When I got married, my job and career took back seat in the peripheral of my mind. I was preoccupied with the thoughts that how would I adjust in brand new life – new location (a different country altogether), new house, and new family. I started living in my own dreamy world where I was a Disney princess who just wanted to decorate her castle and live happily ever after with her king. Elatedly, I decided to resign from my job in India, and commence life in an alien country. I didn’t pay a heed to my career or the repercussions of leaving a decent job at hand.
I resigned, packed my bag, and flew across seven oceans. In the beginning, the honeymoon phase, everything was surreal (workplace was not even there in my priority). I was just enjoying myself being a housewife. Gradually, once the rosy shade of the invisible glasses on my eyes faded – when I had nothing more to decorate or explore and the life got settled with the perfunctory routines – my primitive senses resurrected. I thought of starting my job again but then recollected my thought “Oh, didn’t I resign before coming here?”. It felt as if I woke up after a long sleep. I was already missing my workplace more than anything else and started looking for job wherever I was, i.e. in the U.S. Top of the cherry was my visa status, H4. Just for your background, H4 is a dependent visa which doesn’t allow you to work in the United States. I then started looking for job in India and from there my tussle was on.
My struggle continued for 3 years. Those three years had been one of the toughest times for me which brought numerous changes in my being and my personality. Now, when I retrospect and introspect, all I see is learning, a lot of learning. So, here I am to tell you straight from my personal experiences what happened during those years of hunting, how I survived that phase, and most importantly why you should not think of leaving your job when you have one worth keeping. It’s all about making choices.
1. There are high chances that you’ll get under depression
Day by day I started feeling rigidly bored. This boredom somehow leaded to depression, which eventually turned me into a nonsensical thoughtless creature that not only made her own time difficult but also created a surrounding of stress for others. Only after few months did I realize that I was depressed (that’s what it is medically labeled).
2. Things may not go as planned – Murphy’s Law
I was actively on the mission of job hunt. Months turned into year with blink of eye. Then the celestial Murphy’s Law played its trick. That was the time when the world’s biggest recession hit. Time was certainly not in my favor. It was evident from my empty mailboxes. I wasn’t getting any response from any recruiter. Neither there was a sign of getting a job in near future. I was apprehended by the thought that I might have to remain a jobless person throughout my life. Things never go planned, especially when you badly need it to work.
3. Your self-confidence will walk out of window
The first thing that will leave your soul is your own self-confidence. You will not even fathom what happened to your self-confidence. During those phases, I got nervous for every single thing. When I had to face interviews, I chickened out. When I had to interact with someone, I fumbled. Whenever I was required to speak, I stammered. I started doubting myself. I was confident only in certain things – I can never do anything better, I am good for nothing, I am this, I am that – and all those were in negative senses. Let me tell you, I was never like that before – in fact I was perceived as obnoxiously over confident (I know that’s hideous too).
4. Be ready to face rejections
font-family: ‘times new roman’, times, serif; Once your resume captures the gap amid your career journey, you will be evaluated at the par of a fresh graduate. My curriculum vitae was flashing 3 such years prominently. 95% of the recruiters backed out as soon as they spotted the year gap. The common reply I received from HR managers was that no company prefers gap of more than 2 years. It was tough. So, please mind your gaps.
5. Be ready to start from scratch
After tedious hunting and scavenging for almost 3 years, I could grab a job finally, but that was not what I wanted. I just got a job which was nowhere near to my aspiration and definition of “my career”. I started from the point where I had left years ago – same position, same salary (a bit lower infact). I was reporting to associates who had been my junior (age wise) then. All I had learned before seemed alien to me. Even the work that I did before wasn’t ringing any bell. All the time I was like – I heard that before or I have seen this earlier may be. These were demoralizing. Every time I caught myself lingering into demotivating thoughts, I used to convince myself that I was fortunate enough to get a start and I could grow with my hard work and perseverance what if I was beginning from zero. Yes, I was a complete zero then. But someone has truly said “ZERO is the best figure to start with”, so I decided to stick to my goal and keep going.
6. You will have to control your urges to hit people
Yes, you heard me right! You might feel sometimes punching on somebody’s face. Whenever you would reveal your intention to work or joining your workplace again, you’d be flooded with questions – stupid senseless questions – “Aren’t you happy with taking care of your family?”, “Why do you want to do job? Do you have any financial issue?”, “You are setting wrong priority in your life. Women should be happy with her husband’s career and child’s growth.”, “You are the first lady whom I see unhappy with staying at home and taking care of her family.”, and the worst “There is something wrong with you. You are married now, focus on your family and house rather than yourself.”
How judgmental one can be by questioning a women’s motherhood and devotion to her family. Why such questions are not ever asked to a man – well, I don’t want to enter into this topic here, I would better save it for my other discussions. These are the most hurtful things one can say to a working woman. Whenever someone quizzed me that way, I felt violent literally. I used to recall and apply all my spiritual erudition to calm myself down “calm down dear, relax. They are your well wishers, your own friend/family, so do not punch their faces. They have lost their senses but you have regained now, so act wise. Do not smack them.”
What did I learn out of these?
The learning that I carried made me a stronger and wiser person. Although time didn’t stop throwing difficulties post that phase also, but I emerged and found myself stronger and mature in dealing with circumstances. Those days were a wake-up call for me.
- No matter how good you are, you could be turned into a zero anytime. Always be humble.
- Always have one hobby or something in stronger sense – a passion to save yourself from boredom. Never try to achieve perfection, just keep doing something that makes you feel complete. For me, I found my solace in writing, it’s my passion. It makes me happy and complete. You also go find your passion and live with it. Keep your spirit alive.
- It is futile to convince people how dedicated and devoted you are towards your family and towards your own ambitions. If they didn’t understand you then, they won’t understand you now. Those who understood you then, they’ll understand you now also and will remain right by your side always. To them, you won’t be required to supply any clarification. So, leave thinking what others think about you. There will always be people who would keep telling about whatever you do – whether you do anything good, bad, or nothing. Forget others, and focus on yourself. At the same time, build your intuition, confide only to those whom you trust.
- Exhaust all your options before reaching to a conclusion in career. In moments when you need to give your job a break, work with HR and managers to seek sabbatical or possible solutions where you can come back and resume your work at later point of time. Be patient and do not haste. Be thoughtful, not impulsive.
- Keep your expertise upgraded. No matter whether you are off-work or on-work, keep in touch with the technology, any technology so that you can prove your competency and save your sanity. Be a student for lifetime.
- Keep your cool. Do not panic and do not ever blame others for your own situations. Take accountability of your own decisions and actions. Stay calm and enjoy the phase you are in now. Relax, things get better eventually. This too shall pass.
Shweta Kumari Sharma
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