Why balance when you can blend?
Twelve years ago, I made a prediction inspired by my zeal to study life sciences that I’d have the job of a scientist forever. Undergraduate studies to graduation to internship to first job — it was always science. Suddenly, I lost the connection when couldn’t find a job (of course I was looking for a place/position better than the previous) in the city I moved after marriage. Days became months when I interviewed for my second job in a very contrasting domain, selling my skill set with a resume full of no relevant achievements. I still found myself working there successfully because they appreciated my willingness to learn and transferable skills from my past work experiences. Sooner than I realized, I had to quit once again — this time for my newborn. The raft of emotions attached to my professional exit swelled to very large extent. I felt guilty, excited, conflicted, angry, or relieved, perhaps all at the same time, and many other emotions in between.
Now, I want to stop sitting with my self-pity and guilt of becoming obsolete as I see that the traditional linear career path (or the five days 9–5 schedule) is not how it works anymore. I’m a biotechnologist, turned research scholar turned quality assurance professional turned project associate in a non-profit organization now turned a mom. I’m looking to start my third career and the skills that I have acquired as mom — adaptability, problem solving, multitasking — are the ones that will give me an edge in workplaces to come. In the world of work, new skills and new roles are emerging as fast as some roles becoming obsolete.
Remember, your major discipline, your first job or even your current job need not be what you’re going to do forever. It’s time we ask ourselves “What have I learned today? “and that appetite for learning can feed our curious mind to understand what we want to do in life. Shift your commitment to continuous learning from wanting a continuous job.
And my dear mothers — don’t get too attached or tie yourself to one line of work. Instead, commit to continuous learning and foster your natural agility and adaptability. Because it’s becoming that success is not defined by performance, but by the ability to learn, apply and adapt. I have come to understand that it’s not impossible to have successful career with the same confidence about raising our child.
I want to be a successful professional and a mom. It isn’t an either-or option; they can be mutually beneficial. Individual choices just like personal, are professional too. You don’t need to commit to being a full-time employee and organizations don’t always want you to. Instead you can choose where and how you want to work from full time to contract, part time or freelance. The NextGen work would be all about you choosing how and when you work, changing throughout your life. In way women no longer have to keep secrets in leaving early from work. In a way we no longer must try and balance to achieve, but blend. We can blend. We can blend confidently!