Careers after a baby break hold their special challenges

Motherhood is a remarkable gift. A mother and child are warmly embraced in their own beautiful world of love, joy and laughter as in a cocoon. I was able to experience this wonderful journey when I left my job of nine years in 2015 to raise my baby. I was a high-flier and at the peak of my career. But I chose to give priority to my baby and strongly believed that quitting my job and raising her myself was the best way to nurture a happy and a loving child.

My daughter is now two and a half and I felt it’s the right time to focus on my career again. Thus with renewed enthusiasm I began my journey towards corporate life for a second time. Resume, cover letters, job boards, networks and interview preparations filled my days and nights. I figured that in addition to my qualifications and abilities, after motherhood I could also lay claim to multitasking, time management, creative problem-solving and people skills. I felt I had a lot to add to any place of work.

So shouldn’t I be inundated with offers? Take a guess. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months awaiting those phone calls. The rare opportunities I receive are from those roles which do nothing to capitalise my experience. Or when the job opportunity is exciting, recruiters sound sceptical when I inform them about my career break. I find myself having to justify taking that break for the sake of my child.

I never knew getting a job after a break would be a challenge. It’s disheartening that the corporations that make a fuss about women’s rights and equality, do not really care to welcome women back to the workforce. It’s a subtle message that is being sent out: a woman has to choose one of either options, a baby or a job.

I have many questions to ask. The first and the most important, to all the corporates, is this: How about bringing some real change in your organisations, rather than maintaining the facade of celebrating Women’s Day every year with flowers, cakes, cards and so on? Why not take a close look at your hiring policies and recognise the gender bias that is perpetrated at all levels of employment?

I want to ask our government: Why doesn’t the leadership at your office take a more active role to encourage corporations to engage with these women and make their transition back to work easier? How can the women grow and contribute to society if they face this regressive mentality? And why is no one willing to talk about it?

With thousands of women leaving the workforce to take care of their families, it is common to see this prejudice. So at the end we are forced to consider either of the two choices — strangle your professional ambition or pick up an alternative career that may not meet your desire for a fulfilling profession.

As for me, I am unapologetic for the choices that I have made and am not ready to give up. Not yet.

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