When ‘Back to the Front’ told me out of the blue “we’d like to feature your story”, I was like “what can I give that will hold the readers’ interest?” My life is as routine as that of any other middle-class working woman. On the other hand, it is perhaps our individual experiences that sometimes add that spice and zing to life that makes it that much more interesting to live. I am not a writer but yet I am making this attempt to convey to you my motivation behind starting the group ‘Flexi-Work Options for Women (F-WOW!).
The most life-altering experience that any woman undergoes, specially a working woman, is the birth of her child. Suddenly we are faced with the dilemma of re-arranging our lives around the little miracle. For some the decision comes easy (and I envy them!) but for the rest, it really weighs you down. I fall in the latter category. Till I delivered I was sure I would manage to go back to work after my maternity leave of 3 months but when my bundle of joy arrived I had that sinking feeling that my decision was about to change.
Financial independence is something that I have valued since a young age. Though I come from a well-off family, I was always taught the value of money. I used to take private tuitions in my college days and do summer jobs. So working has been intrinsic to me. But with the huge responsibility of motherhood on me, I had to explore the possibility of being a stay-at-home mum.
Fortunately, my husband and family on both sides were very supportive. They told me not to take a hasty decision. The prospect of leaving a 3-month old behind and going to work was a daunting one. Fortunately for me the chips fell in place and because of an excellent support system around me and a very understanding boss who allowed me some flexibility, I could continue working. My daughter, Saesha, today is 3 years old.
By God’s grace I could manage but it started me thinking on the plight of thousands of women who are forced to stay with the decision of quitting. Having nearly experienced it myself, I understand how heart-breaking it can be. That’s where I got the inspiration to start my group called ‘Flexi-Work Options for Women (F-WOW!). If you can’t go to work doesn’t mean that work can’t come to you! As your children grow and become increasingly independent you are left with enough time to pursue something that enables you to not only fulfill your domestic obligations but also gain back your financial freedom, your self-respect, your confidence and admiration from others.
There is this immense talent pool of women who have quit because of changed priorities but their potential is not utilized to the fullest. Unfortunately, the HR policies of our country are not yet with global standards and tend to veer towards conservative. To look on the brighter side, flexible working options are gaining recognition. Though not yet up to par with the West, we are definitely getting there.
My appeal to women is that don’t underestimate yourselves. Keep your determination. Explore possibilities: alternate careers, professional courses, franchises and flexi-offers. Gone are the days when work from home meant form-filling, clicking, posting ads online, data entry and such mundane jobs. You just need to take a bit of risk and reap the benefits of your courage and grit.