It all started, after I finally decided to join office (after 7 months of maternity break). The day I came to know that I have conceived, suddenly the future of my career had started ringing loud bells in my mind. Having worked for a decade had made me workaholic; so leaving it just like that was hard to digest.
I rejoined office and since there was no public transport available, I took radio cabs to work (to-and-fro) for 10 days. Although it was getting heavy on my pocket, but I still thought of continuing the job, but suddenly developed some pain in the neck so had to again go on leave, may be too much travelling was leaving me exhausted. For some days, I went on medical leave and tried to find out more economical ways to commute. When nothing worked, I put in my papers.
As I had to continue working, I looked for options in my proximity. Soon, I was approached by a ‘gen now’ startup company, funded by one of the most prestigious and oldest industrialists in the country. I found the role interesting and also shared the sample article with them.
They liked it and called me for an interview. Not to mention, the interview went well and HR round also happened on the same day. During this interview, apart from asking the standard questions like “how many months of maternity leave did I take,” “who is going to take care of my baby,” etc. I was told that though I am being hired for the lead position, but won’t be given the designation until I prove yourself in first three months.
I knew that companies usually do that to new mothers. But, had thought that freelancing during the maternity break would be taken into consideration. People might understand my seriousness and determination towards work. Despite being hurt, I took it into my stride and promised myself that I will work hard and show them my worth. But I was wrong…
Next day evening, I got a call from the company’s HR person, who told me about the offer. I was happy to know that they were offering me a 30 per cent hike on my current salary and started eagerly waiting for the offer letter, which was never emailed.
To find out about the delay, I called the HR person. Surprisingly, she started kind of interrogating and bombarding me with questions, “why did I take such a long maternity break,” wanted my bank statements and all. To know the actual reasons behind her long questionnaire, I decided to call the HR head, who had interviewed me earlier.
Initially she tried to dodge, but soon came to the point and in a very disappointed tone said, “We can’t hire a person, who takes so many leaves,” and by those ‘leaves’ she meant my ‘maternity break’. After a long discussion, she told me that they would discuss my case again and get back, which she never did. (To put it on record, they had initially approached me after knowing about my skills and experience, which didn’t matter now).
It might be just another thing, but it disturbed me to the core. Of course, I wasn’t sorry for being a mother to a wonderful little baby. Having a baby had made me complete, wise, more responsible, mature, punctual and above all, patient.
This incident made me think how harsh can we be on women who already go through so much – physically and mentally to bring a life into this world. The ironical part is that the people behind such horrendous behavior are all females.
It may have taken me days to come over, it but I have come out of it even stronger.
I want to tell them that it takes a lot of thinking, courage, and encouragement from the family to structure your work after having a baby.
A big hug to you, as I search for the right job… Thanks!
Disclaimer: The names of the people, writer and companies have been withheld.
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