Meet Neha Bagaria, a mom to two boys and founder of online job portal JOBSFORHER She has not only enthused herself and restarted her work life but is also inspiring and enabling many other moms to get back to their career after kids. Her story of getting there with a toddler and a baby in tow is rather amusing. Read on!
1. My Mom Quotient:
When my first-born came into the world in December 2009, a baby gave birth to a mother. Up until then, I had never thought there were any differences between a man and a woman. I was as committed about my career as my husband, and as ambitious and driven to achieve my professional goals. But suddenly, the difference became clear. I became the primary caretaker of this precious little life, and he became the core of my being. Nothing else held more importance, and I decided to take a sabbatical from work. I became a full-time mother and my life revolved around my baby, obsessing always about whether he was fed properly, burped properly, bathed properly. As time moved on, I become even more intertwined with him. When he was happy, I was happy. When he was cranky, I was upset. When he was sick, I was devastated.
And then three years later, my second-born came along and my entire perspective changed. The second time around, motherhood seemed like a piece of cake. I didn’t obsess as much about my second baby drinking 1 oz less of milk than he had on the previous day. I didn’t obsess about what was bothering him if he cried as I knew now that that’s what babies do sometimes. Most importantly, my attention was forcibly shifted from my first-born to my second baby and I realized that it didn’t negatively impact my now 3-year old at all. In fact, he started becoming more independent.
Motherhood has most certainly been an evolving journey and I’m certain that it will continue to evolve as the needs of my children change and we enter new phases of our lives.
2. My Mom Inc. Story:
In May 2013, I found myself on a beach with a toddler and an infant in tow, attending yet another wedding. Both cranky and behaving like anything but the model children I had planned to raise. It was then that I realized that it was about time I got back to being the person I used to be: it was time to restart my career.
I restarted my career at my previous company and started regaining my confidence. As my responsibilities at work increased, so did the quality of time I spent with my children, husband, family, friends. I was no longer in a brain coma, no longer needy and emotional, no longer sweating the small stuff. I became a happier and more fulfilled person which translated into becoming a happier mother and happier wife. Additionally, my renewed passion and intention to prove myself again, helped me contribute at work with greater dedication and commitment.
This personal journey opened my eyes to the accomplished women around me who stopped working and never returned to the workforce. It made me determined to enable other women to restart their careers, thus founding JobsForHer.com on International Women’s Day, March 2015.
The vision of JobsForHer is simple: to reverse female brain drain from within the Indian workforce. We do so by connecting women who want to restart their careers post motherhood/marriage/elderly-care to companies looking for such experienced female talent available at no-notice-period. The jobs on our portal range from full-time, part-time, and work-from-home to project-based, and we are also working with companies to offer Returnee Programs, which are internships for women getting back to work.
In the three months since launch, we have had 100+ companies posting job openings on our portal including Dell, Future Group, Kotak Mahindra Group, Narayana Health, SmartOwner, SnapDeal, Sobha Developers and Unilever to name a few.Moreover, these companies have been rewarded amply for placing their trust in our fledgling venture. We have been informed of candidates joining them in full-time, part-time, work-from-home as well as returnee internships, often in the span of a week.
3. Who Inspired/ Supported Me:
My biggest source of inspiration is Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and the author of Lean In. Her words in the book havedeeply resonated withme. Moreover, it has made me realize that I’m not alone in my work-life dilemmas; they are being faced by women the world over. It has made me realize how important it is that women support one another to succeed professionally, thus inspiring me to found JobsForHer.com to enable women to re-enter the workforce.
I would like to share Sheryl Sandberg’s words as the advice that helps me most:
a. 'Fear is at the root of so many of the barriers that women face.': Recognize your fears and name them; only then can you find a path to overcome them.
b. “Done is better than perfect.” : As women, we have a deep desire to achieve perfection but we need to remind ourselves that sometimes being good, and not great, is good enough.
c. “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.”: A woman’s career is often non-linear, so stop thinking there’s no path back to the main road once you’ve taken a detour.
d. “Shift from thinking 'I'm not ready to do that' to thinking 'I want to do that- and I'll learn by doing it.”: As an entrepreneur, you will be constantly thrown into the deep end of the pool and you need to teach yourself how to swim faster.
e. “If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat! Just get on.”: Grab opportunities and fasten your seat belt.
5. I love BabyChakra because Strong women are those who build each other up instead of tearing each other down. BabyChakra is a platform that does just that. It is critical that women support one another through the maze of our personal and professional lives, especially after motherhood comes knocking on the door.