Learn Returnize's inspirational story about a mom and a career woman who took a break to care for her family and made a successful comeback to work.
Meet Binita Wagle, Sr.Manager, Product Development, Oracle, in a chat with Nandita Bose.
Describe your career and work experience before the break.
Before the break, I was in IT and worked for a total of five years in two countries, India and the US. In India, I worked with a leading FMCG multinational. In the US, I worked with HP.
How long was the career break and what was the reason?
My career break, till I rejoined full-time work, was for close to eight years. I started with a year’s medical leave due to a complicated pregnancy and then quit altogether to look after my child. After two years, we planned a second child. I was a full-time mom at the time.
How did you prepare yourself for a career comeback?
Before I rejoined full-time work, for about a year I started by getting my feet wet, working from home, and doing technology work, but in a different area. I was in ERP before, in the areas of finance and HR. That was where my core competencies were. I started working from home doing web designing projects. That was the kind of work easily available to me then. I knew someone who was looking for contractors. I did this for a year and then started working part-time at an e-commerce company. Slowly I got into full-time work.
What were the major challenges you faced in finding a job? How did you overcome these challenges?
My gap was obviously a challenge, and the fact that technology had moved ahead. I had to retool by learning new skills.
What new skills did you learn? What were your transferable skills?
I learned web technologies. I also took courses from extension universities on C++ and Java. Prior to my break, I was working on HP proprietary software, so these technologies were not known to me.
The transferable skills were really my core skills and my knowledge of the HR and finance industry. I moved to a business analyst role and it was very important that I understood the business since I had to work with various internal stakeholders.
As a mom, were you apprehensive about getting back to full-time work?
The difficult part was making the decision to go back full-time. My first thought was, would I be able to get a job? I was very apprehensive. I did not want to short-change my kids or alter anything drastically in their lives.
What changes did you have to make on the home front?
When I went back, my daughter, who is my younger child, started kindergarten. My husband and I had to change our schedules. I would leave early, my husband would drop off the kids, and so on. Luckily, I didn’t have to work in a global situation then. My boss was flexible and gave me that working environment.
What advice would you give other women who are trying to return to work?
Hindsight is 20-20, and I understand their apprehensions. Making the decision is hard, but I would say don’t just take a back seat while you put your kids at the forefront. Kids are resilient, give them enough credit that they would manage on their own, and even flourish. If I knew what it would be like, I would perhaps not have pushed away many of the opportunities that came my way. I would say try to be a bit balanced in your approach to career and family.