We all have heard and shared these quotes before, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!‘, ‘When people throw stones at you, collect them and build an Empire!‘
Implementing these in our own life does take a lot of courage, patience, and a rock-solid support especially emotional and spiritual support. The support could be from one single person who sees your potential OR if there isn’t anybody you can trust / rely on, there is definitely God. (If you are an atheist, then you can think of it as some invisible guiding energy!)
Let us look at the life-changing experience of our female protagonist, Maitri, whom I had introduced on my blog site before.
Maitri, like many women IT professionals was in charge of a IT startup a few years back. She also had to balance her career with personal life (the usual house, kids and other responsibilities that any married woman does). Luckily, when she took on this challenging role in her career, her husband supported her decision.
Months passed… Things started picking up at work. People who have worked in start-ups know how dynamic and chaotic things can be be that too when you are dealing with customers world-wide. She and a small team of four other people she worked with had to juggle three time zones, Singapore (2.5 hours ahead of IST), UK, Paris, (these two time zones coincide with Indians lunch hour) and US Eastern (India’s late evening / night) and both R&D and Maintenance / Enhancement type of projects. This is quite a challenge when your team members are not too experienced either in the technologies / project domain. But all the team members were so dedicated, fast-learners, and intelligent, but needed time to learn new things. A few customers complained about the team members’ accent saying they couldn’t follow what they were talking and they wanted Maitri to conduct training sessions for them and her to be on conference calls. She thought of enrolling the team members in accent neutralization training course (apparently the BPO / Call-center employees go through such training), but the team didn’t have time to attend such training given the current work schedule.
With this type of work culture that Maitri was dealing with, things at her home started changing too. Initially, her family noticed her coming back home late in the evening. She would cook meals and attend to her kids’ homework after she returned from work. Some days they ate out as her family preferred to finish dinner by 8 pm.
To ease things at home, she tried the option of coming back home around 6 pm and logging back from home after attending to her duties at home. A few days, this worked fine. She started receiving complaints / remarks along the lines, ‘You are home for name sake; you are always in front of the computer / answering emails!’. When she was logged in from home and if someone came home, she was expected to come out and talk to them!!! Occasionally, she would have to take calls late in the night; even though she worked in her home-office room and her family members slept upstairs without any disturbance from her, her husband, if he woke up in the middle of the night for some reason, would come down and yell at her for staying up late even when she was on a conference call with her colleagues.
Amidst all, her kid fell seriously ill once. Thanks to God, he came out of it safe and sound. People started advising her that she needs to pay more attention to her kids extra- curricular activities. Maitri realized first-hand that there are many people ready to pay lip-service even when somebody is going through difficult time in his / her life!!
All these things slowly started taking toll on her health and affected her relationships both at work and home. People who might have resented her career growth started taking dig at her work pattern, how she handled things at home, and commented that career isn’t everything!
After experiencing all these in her life, Maitri took a decision to take a break from her work and get her health back on track. She felt her kids are of highest priority to her and she wants to be around as a healthy Mother at least until they become emotionally mature and stand on their own.
While she changed her lifestyle, her Yoga instructor pointed her to a path that took her on Yogic / Spiritual Journey.
Maitri thanks God for the challenging circumstances that life threw at her. Without these, she wouldn’t have become what she is today, a healthy (most of the time ☺️), emotionally strong, independent individual still pursuing her career, her passion turned business, and hobbies at a pace that works for her and her family. Above all, these situations gave her an opportunity to become a better human being.
So, Maitri’s advice to all the women out there is:
Pursue your dreams and goals in the manner that works for you. Don’t compromise on your health. If you have a solid support system backing you, then it is a boon. If not, do what is best for your family. When you have education and talent, life will give you opportunities, if not today, then tomorrow.