Updated on 29th March 2013: This post has been selected as one of the top 10 entries in the International Women's day blogging contest conducted by Sulekha. Details here.
A YEAR AGO:
A YEAR AGO:
Radha was fuming. It was official. She will not be leading the new project. Than the sense of betrayal, the unreasonable reason that her boss had quoted for not choosing her was more vexing.
“Look Radha”, he had told her earlier during the day, “You may be consistent, you may be enterprising but what I’m looking for is commitment. That’s where I think Suresh fares better.”
When Radha dared to ask him what made him think so, pat came the reply, “ You see, Suresh is unmarried and fully committed to work. But you know…you… have other commitments; I mean family…, kids…. This project has very strict deadlines. If your child falls sick and you suddenly go on leave…like how you did a year ago… hmm, hope you get the point…”. His words reeked of chauvinism.
Radha was dumbstruck.
Six years ago, this very same corporate life seemed like a bed of roses. A fantasy turned into reality. A programming job in one of the IT majors. Not sure if that was what she wanted, but she, for sure wanted to ride the wave. A first month salary that was way higher than her father’s last drawn salary. Whether well-deserved or not was a question deserved to be asked at that point but remained unasked. As a multi-talented, intelligent and diligent person, Radha basked in her new found financial independence and expressive freedom. She almost bordered on being a workaholic. In addition to working hard, she gave vent to her creativity too, participating in office cultural events and what not.
Lives change. Hers did too. The sugar castle started crumbling, slowly but surely. As work became more and more hectic, the changes in her personal life sheared her from her work more often than she wanted. Marriage, pregnancy, miscarriage, maternity leave etc. crossed off several days from her working calendar. Radha had to admit it – she was not really enjoying this life. When in office, her mind lurked around home and vice versa. She just remembered how long it had been since she penned down anything. It used to be her favorite pastime. “What was the last book that I read?”, she thought. She felt as if she was being whisked away into a gloomy black hole.
“Enough is enough”, thought Radha. This was it. The incident had driven her into the retrospective mode. “What makes me stick on to this job? Do I take pride in being a technologist? Well, not really. Creativity is my forte. Then what, money? Hmm, how do I make money and still be entitled to living a guilt-free life?”
Radha thought hard. Then it dawned on her. The power of internet seemed to be the panacea for all her woes. With the moral support of her understanding family and to her boss’ utter dismay, she succeeded in getting a 6 months long sabbatical. She weighed her strengths – she had a flair for writing, had a working knowledge of four languages, could design logos and doodles and had a leaning towards jewelry designing too! She went ahead, enrolled herself in many freelancing websites and subscribed to their feeds. She established the much needed contacts – she interacted with many writers, translators and designers on social networks and local hangouts. Her semi-orphaned blog too got a new lease of life; she started posting almost on a daily basis, all the while aggressively marketing the same.
The first 2 months were almost dry. But soon after, work and hence money started trickling in. She took up a part-time, work from home job as a social media consultant – her job was to update the company’s facebook, twitter and blog accounts. While this ensured a fixed income every month, she got ample time to hone her skills and be on the lookout for fresh work. She understood that not all her hobbies could fetch her revenues – she had to be really good at what she was doing, keep doing it consistently and most importantly, stay afloat and visible. Hence she stuck to writing and translation. She eventually learnt which jobs required lesser time and effort yet paid more. She figured out how to spot that one interesting, well-paying piece of work from a host of other mundane jobs. She also built up a loyal clientele for her niche skill – top class regional language translation work combined with excellent writing abilities. Through her friends in the media, she landed on a regular ad-scripting contract. She definitely wasn’t making as much as her well-heeled job, but it was a glimmer of hope.
Radha has quit her full time job and established herself as a good freelance translator. Her company is very happy with her blog posts and status updates. Her monthly income is a little over half of her corporate salary, but her heart brims with contentment and a sense of accomplishment. Financial independence + Quality time with family + creative freedom. What more could a woman ask for!!!!
|Courtesy: Google image search|
Radha is fictitious, but has shades of me in her. Having successfully established a work-from-home career in the past 2 years after many years in the corporate world, I bet it’s a realizable dream. However, here are a few words of caution:
1. Freelancing/working from home requires a great deal of discipline. If you love lazing around/sleeping, then this may not be your thing.
2. You have to be critical of yourself, almost all the time. The day you feel you are the best, is your doomsday. However, be confident and exude this confidence when bidding for a new project or talking to a prospective client.
3. There are zillions of jobs out there – be selective. Apply due diligence. Do what you think you can do best. Translation, Social media consulting, focused writing(food, travel, web, media etc.) designing (jewelry, clothes, accessories, websites, furniture, logos, pamphlets, brochures and more), tailoring, painting(for sale), dubbing etc. are some good options, especially for women.
Now, dare to dream! Dare to quit!
(This is my entry for the Sulekha blogging contest - 'Alternate careers for women')