October 4, 2023

Motherhood Can’t Be A Shackle In The Corporate World: Neha’s Stance

Neha Jain

Practice Lead Vlocity

The word ‘Women Empowermenthas taken the internet by storm, and no one is even surprised that in the 21st Century, women are proving their mettle in multiple fields across the globe. While keeping their femininity intact, they face challenging roles at work with sheer commitment and passion. Women today are mothers, wives, sisters, and individuals with independent identities. We have Neha’s story to strengthen the example of empowered women of the 21st Century. This is Neha’s journey—her tryst with transitions and tough times—of battling all her odds.

Neha grew up in a joint family setup and was always pampered and nurtured in the laps of love, care, and family. She says her family members are her anchors, and because of them, she can make decisions on her own and survive any difficult situations. Moreover, to date, she is scared to imagine her life without her family members around. She loves to be surrounded by like-minded and fun-loving people.

However, the student, Neha, was average throughout her school life. She had to switch her board in 11th grade, which was the first major transition in her life that shook her completely, and little did she know that this was just the beginning.

After school, Neha enrolled in an engineering program at college. In the placement year at her college, Neha got a good work opportunity outside Jaipur. This felt like a dream come true for her. As she always wanted to experience independence. Neha was ready to take over the world, but little did she know that this experience of going out and staying all alone was going to be extremely difficult for her, as she had never stepped out alone in her life. She was always under the safety net of her family members.

Upon reaching her new work location, she was extremely homesick and scared. She was extremely confused as to what was to be done. How can one even survive without family? What is she going to do? Will this work out? She had a million questions in her mind with extremely low self-esteem. Whatever was happening was the complete opposite of what she imagined. The well-planned independent life she had imagined felt like it was vanishing! This was the time she needed to get hold of her life, which she eventually did, but first, she did panic a lot. She says that things started to get better only when she shared her concerns with her parents, who helped her regain her lost confidence and instilled faith in her and her dreams.

This push and encouragement from her supportive parents paved the way for the corporate world she had stepped into. She regained her confidence and picked up the “give me a task, and I’ll get it done” attitude for everything in life and work. Neha was getting bolder and much more evolved with each passing day from yesterday. This was when she was doing well for herself as a software developer.

While she was enjoying her independent working phase, there was another major transition waiting for her at the next turn. Neha got married at the age of 21. However, she communicated her desire to keep working after marriage to her husband, and he was in complete support of her decision.

Neha was working as a .NET developer in Jaipur, but her work was very boring, and the technology was comparatively outdated. She felt that her work wasn’t challenging enough and might not have any weight in the coming years. Meanwhile, she kept in touch with her cousins, who were also from similar technical fields, and from them, she learned about the blooming technology of Salesforce. Thus, she decided to reinvent herself and brush up her skills for better opportunities in the future.

As things were going according to destiny’s plan, coincidentally, she saw a banner of S2labs while walking in the lane next to her house one evening. And there it was, her sign from the universe to go ahead and reinvent herself. She immediately went to classes, inquiring about the course and the timing. The hustling and journey to reform her career had gotten started since then. It was a nervously exciting feeling for her, as now she had to manage everything  her work, house, and training.

Initially, it was tiring, exhausting, and overwhelming, but the hope and desire to learn something new kept her going. She would attend the morning 7:30–9:30 am batch and immediately after that, she used to board her cab for office. After a hectic day at the office, she would return home and spend time with her family. After everyone slept, she would sit back and study for the Salesforce training. This continued till she completed her training. Seeing her perseverance and dedication to work and training, Neha was offered a job in the Salesforce domain as a developer at Shrey’s company, Cyntexa.

When Neha joined Cyntexa, the company was still in its budding stage; a small core team where everyone was closely connected. Here, she got the kind of exposure and learning she always wanted. She was learning the basics of the Marketing & Sales cloud while working on their specific client projects. The road to perfection for her was not very easy; it was hard and taxing for her. She failed two client calls miserably, and this incident shook her confidence to the core.  Plus, many times things went haywire and were mismanaged. However, she did not give up, kept improving herself, and also got help from her colleagues like Vishwajeet, the CTO at Cyntexa, who stepped in as her savior and helped her regain her confidence. They both used to sit for hours and rigorously have mock call practices and other client interaction practices. After much effort, Neha was finally understanding and improving with the client interaction part.

While Neha was still accepting things, she was again put to the test and had a tough time handling rejections. She recalls an incident where she was supposed to sit for a Salesforce Certification Exam, and after coming out of the exam hall, she knew her result, but she chose not to acknowledge it and accept the fact that she had failed the exam. She was so worried about the people’s judgment, that she couldn’t even gather the courage for days to face them. But for how long could she escape?

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Finally, when she returned to the office, she met Shrey and spoke with him. That time, she only needed a push and a pump of encouragement from someone who could tell her it was okay to fail! It doesn’t mean the end of your possibilities. And Shrey exactly did that. He helped her understand her caliber and that one exam doesn’t decide her potential. There was Neha, all convinced and ready to face the world, her peers, and most importantly, herself with more confidence.

While everything at work was going fine, she handled clients and worked on multiple projects. This was the time when she got to know that she was expecting. Motherhood is one true blessing for all women; Embracing motherhood got Neha and her family members very excited. Everyone was happy at the thought of welcoming a baby at home. With this chapter of her life unfolding, she also focused on her work as before. The workaholic she is, she kept on working till the last day of her pregnancy. As she says, doing work gives her happiness and a purpose! While Neha was on maternity leave, she missed her work dearly and wanted to resume ASAP!

When Neha returned to work, she thought she would bounce back within no time, but to her utter surprise, everyone with the same pace as hers when she had left was way ahead of her regarding knowledge and skills. Neha was very disheartened seeing herself in such a situation. The maternity break was long, and bouncing back with the same energy and efficiency was difficult because of the constantly changing nature of technology, and then there was her struggling at each level to prove her worth.

Seeing her condition deteriorate with each passing day, she thought that this couldn’t go on for long. At that point, she felt very hopeless, so before her condition could deteriorate she gathered all her courage and decided to speak with Shrey. She explained her situation, stance, and concerns regarding working. He guided her to start learning and mastering a new technical cloud. And be prepared for evolving skills and upscaling her knowledge with effort and hard work. Thus, Neha started to learn Vlocity (Salesforce Industries).

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Learning Vlocity from scratch as a student along with managing working hours and mom duties altogether was a certainty. Certain days were okay, whereas some days were horrendous, tiring, and extremely exhausting for her. But Neha kept going; she had the desire to prove herself again. She dove into putting in as much effort and hard work as required. After managing all her responsibilities diligently, when everyone at home used to sleep, she would stay awake and study for Vlocity.

While remembering this time, Neha recalled an incident when she had to take her first client call post-pregnancy. She felt like she was doing this for the first time. She was nervous, which eventually caused the client’s call to become a disaster. She felt underconfident and disheartened. However, she soon took control of her life. She prepared herself, and with the same driving force to prove herself again, she got things back on track. She was the same old confident Neha again, and she felt her hard work paid off!Though she was leading a team at the office, she was tirelessly struggling to make peace on her personal and professional fronts simultaneously.

Not knowing that she was dealing with severe postpartum depression under the label of frustration, lack of sleep, and new-mom anxiety. It was difficult for Neha to balance all her roles. She let that feeling of mom guilt all pile up in herself because her child was very young and very dependent on her, and somehow she was managing things. Because she was piling things up in her mind, she wasn’t able to fully concentrate on delivering her projects well. This led to a series of her panicking and failing in her deliverables. She remembers a gut-wrenching experience that is like the worst nightmare for moms!

When she was working in the office, her child was about 2 years old, and he had started noticing her absence. She used to get hit with the feeling of immense mom guilt when she was occupied with office calls after office hours and couldn’t give time to her child, who would wait the entire day for her to come home after office and spend quality time with her. She was literally in pieces, with tears.When she was once taking a call and her child craved her attention, he kept banging on the door, hoping that his mumma would just come rushing towards him and take him in her arms. Contrary to that, she had to shout at her son to stop doing that. But how would she even expect a two-year-old to understand the gravity of the situation? She never considered leaving her job throughout her professional journey, even after facing multiple challenges and seeing many ups and downs. But after this incident, Neha was torn apart, and she decided to QUIT HER JOB!

Her husband and family members were by her side when she was going through all of this!They assured her that they were with her in whatever decision she made. She had almost decided to quit her job and entirely focus on her role as a mom, again. Neha was going to do something she had never imagined! She had decided to Quit her job!

Since she has made up her mind to quit her job, the next big thing was to inform Shrey about her decision. That walk was a tough one for her, but she did it. She was sad and disheartened when she communicated her concerns to Shrey, that it wasn’t her lack of efforts that brought her to this conclusion but her inability to be competitive enough at this stage in her career because both her personal and professional fronts demanded her time. It took not one or two but multiple conversations and a time of good two months to get things aligned and to find solutions so that Neha doesn’t feel that motherhood has become a shackle for her growth.

Neha today handles the entire work of recruitment and training of the engineering department which is a completely different ballgame for her along with her Vlocity team and multiple other things. Again, pushing her limits and walking out of her comfort zone altogether until life throws a new transition again!

Today, Neha focuses on doing her best: work in peace! When asked how she manages all the roles in her life so beautifully, she said, “When I’m in office, it’s all about work, work, and work. But as soon as I step home, there’s no work.”Neha also sets a benchmark for other working moms with just a few tricks, including looping in family members to take care of your child because it is not easy to raise a child without having supportive family members, especially for working moms. She also believes that one has to learn to make peace with the fact that every transition takes time, to allow yourself to be vulnerable, and to trust the process. Moreover, conveying and communicating with the right people helps make things easier for everybody.

Her story is the perfect example of what a modern-day empowered woman looks like. She is a loving mother and an ambitious, career-oriented woman at the same time. She didn’t compromise on her dreams of independence and individuality at any cost.

Witnessing such a beautiful journey is truly a spectacular experience, and talking to somebody who has seen the most vivacious transformations at every step of her life is truly amazing and enlightening.

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