Wind Beneath my Wings…
Right from an early age, my parents have driven the values that education and financial independence are crucial in life and perhaps that is why I have never been a homebody and have even worked part-time through my post-graduation.
Post my masters, I landed a job through our college campus recruitment drive and absolutely enjoyed having a flow and sense of purpose to my day. Being at home was not just difficult for me, it was out of character. Life however has a funny way of sneaking up on you, throwing a curveball every now and then just to see how you fare. In my case, the curveball was very adorably packaged in a ‘TWIN’ bundle, when I became a mother! Though a step back from work became a necessity, I thoroughly enjoyed watching my girls grow and achieve all their kiddie milestones.
However, I must admit here, that a break was a very tough pill to swallow. I cannot quite remember the first 6-8 months, but later, on the rare occasion that I was not drowning in fatigue and exhaustion, the suppressed thought of, what am I doing with my life would crop up. I would dutifully brush it off — I had no time to delve! Soon a couple of years drifted by, the fatigue changed its face, and after a day of near meltdown, the point hit home. It was hard. I needed more to my day! I was not prepared to lose my sanity, and believe me, twin toddlers can do that to you. That price was too high for me to pay especially with a drained-out bank balance!
From this point, the intent was clear, but the steps were very hesitant. I would often find myself stuck in a spiral of doubts, “How will the twins take it?” “Will they be able to manage in my absence?” “Will a hired help look after them properly?” “Will they enjoy my absence too much?” ‘Will they forget me?”
I knew I had to STOP questioning myself so much and just take that leap of faith! The more I thought of this the clearer it became, I wasn’t taking this step just for me, I wanted my girls and my parents to be proud of me, too.
When I landed at the GS Lab office for my interview, I had almost forgotten what it was like to be in the workspace. I didn’t quite expect to feel all the familiar emotions hit me while I was sharing about my work and my experience during the interview rounds. So, when the offer to join came through, there was no doubt in my mind. I decided to give this opportunity an honest-to-God attempt and brushed away all the second guesses. I realized that if my attempt is true and honest, even if it takes time, even if I hit some bumps along the way, things will eventually fall in place.
As expected, the first few days were rocky, my rusty mind was trying to cope with the sudden influx of information – policies and processes et al. Lunch times were tough, I would often miss the twinnies and there were numerous calls home to make sure they are doing okay. There were moments of self-doubt too. I would question myself – “Why am I doing this?” “Why is this so important?” “Is this the right time?” But going back to the waiting hugs and happy faces made it all worthwhile. Hearing them tell their friends, “My Mumma goes to office” made me beam every time!
What helped me in this process was an extremely energetic and fun team. And to date, there has never been a dull moment! I am not just thankful for their support; I also admire their dedication towards their work. On those off days, it keeps inspiring me to pull up my socks and get back in the groove. They reaffirm my belief that it may take a few adjustments every now and then, but you can balance it all.
It will be two years in July since I joined GS Lab and without a doubt I can say, it is simply great to be at work every day!
GS Lab has started a program called “Restart” for women in the technology space who are currently on a break and want to resume their tech journeys. To know more, please visit, https://www.gslab.com/careers/restart-program
Shilpa Damle | Senior HR Partner
Shilpa has more than 10 years of experience in varied aspects of HR with a focus on Talent Management. In her current role, Shilpa drives many key initiatives such as data-driven decision-making, change management, company culture nourishment, and employee experience enhancement. Shilpa has worked with large multinationals and holds a Master’s degree in HR.