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Lavanya Bahuguna

Blogger-in-Chief

Sing ‘Business Lullabies’ with Vinita Badlani – Story 4 on Work Maternity Leaves

  • JWB Post
  •  May 13, 2015

 

It’s been long that we haven’t updated you on our campaign ‘Business Lullabies’ meant to celebrate the return of working women after maternity leaves. The campaign is done in association with Sheroes, women career network, and Delhi Public School, Jaipur.

As you’re aware, we have selected 5 small kids from DPS who have working moms. The kids are currently preparing for a presentation to advocate their mothers in a boardroom of a corporate house. The idea is to break the stereotypes of the corporate world towards women who get back to work after the sabbatical period.

We have already shared stories of 4 mothers out of 5 –> Engg. Pramiti, Yoga Instructor Prerna, Dr. Mandira & Proff. Terjani. It’s now time we know the story of the 5th mother – Vinita Badlani, a businesswoman, in her own words.

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Introduction

I was a banker for many years in the UAE. I was heading Sales department and had to deal with a team of 13 men from different nationalities. Not for a moment did I think the job is masculine and that I have less to offer. Rather, the bank was impressed with my head-strong attitude towards every challenge. I was the woman employee who got appreciations and rewards for fulfilling more than 100% targets.

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While I was pregnant with my son, Rehan, I never stopped working. I remember, I delivered him on Friday – and till Thursday I was working. During this period, I was awarded as one of their best employees. After my son, I worked till 3 years before quitting the job.

Maternity Leave

I took a total of 75 days break from work. When I returned back, I noticed my efficiency going down. Maybe the reason was an added responsibility of a child who needed extra care of the mother. My targets went as below as 70%, and I was given a formal warning letter. That was enough to rejuvenate myself and do my best both at work front as well as at home.

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Quitting the Job

I and my husband decided to shift back to India, considering the future of the child. We wanted him to grow under the guidance and love of his extended family. At the UAE, we had no social life, and Rehan started spending time with I-pads and video games.

I left the job at a stage when I was about to get promoted. Somewhere I felt bad, but then I looked at the better part of my life. I always wanted to start a business with my husband, at that I wanted my son to grow in a homely environment. I was about to get both my dreams fulfilled, and that cheered me up.

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Changing Career Lines

From a banker, I was stepping into the business world, that too in a different country with a different system and rules. In UAE, I broke many stereotypes and overcame challenges like getting a driving license earlier than it is supposed to be assigned to women drivers, getting placed in the core Sales department where only men are allowed, becoming a boss to male employees, etc. Although India has similar gender discrimination, I now know how to deal with it.

However, there is one funny thing that keeps on happening, thanks to our male dominated society – whenever I am chatting with a client for the 1st time, since mine is an online business, the client thinks I am a man and addresses me as ‘Hello Sir.’ (Vinita manages her manufacturing outlet of garments with the name ‘Shri fashions’ )

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A crafted flower we spotted on Vinita’s office wall.

Role as a Mother

I start my work when my son goes to school, and come back before he finishes his evening play-time with friends at the local park. He understands that his mother is working, and that I have to handle much at work and home. So he tells me: ‘Come home soon, mumma’. Sometimes he takes advantage of the situation and asks me to get him something from the market on my way back.

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About Supporting the Campaign

I think women who don’t work are exploited by their families or the society. We might not notice, but the family starts belittling such women, maybe in a funny manner. If you ask me, I will say that every woman must work. Feel independent, explore yourself and stay happy.

Photographer: Shashank K Tyagi

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