Returning Back to work story with Shraddha Doshi

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Through our Returnships Podcast, Nabanita De tells stories of people who have managed to sucessfully return to work. In this episode, we have a candid conversation with Shraddha Doshi and learn more about all myths of returning to work, possible challenges she faced along the way, her experiences about how Returning to work is different from any day job, where to get help from, to return to work and many more.

Here is a bit of info about our guest:

Shradha Doshi is an Engineer turned Product evangelist with a decade long experience in every stage of product development while leading and motivating teams. As a Product Owner at Comcast Business she is involved in managing the order entry and order management platform for Comcast Business customers. She uses empathy-based design principles, upholds user voice to tackle problems and find solutions based on the user needs. Her love for problem solving, artistic inclination, enduring curiosity and ability to synthesize a complex idea into simple pieces of information helps her understand user needs better that transforms products. She hopes to help men and women who have been on a career break see the infinite possibilities the re-entering into workforce has to offer. When she isn’t working, she loves hiking, traveling, reading, doodling and writing.

This effort is brought to you by Non-profit initiative, www.returnships.org, an one-stop-shop for everything related to Returning to work after a long haul in career. We also share free training/job resources for Returning to work on our Facebook Handle: https://www.facebook.com/returnships.info and on our instagram: www.instagram.com/returnships.info

Welcome to return ships start in for podcast. In through this podcast, will be telling stories of returners have returned back to work. Today we have Shadha here with us, who's going to talk about her story. So let's hear from Shad Sashata, tell us a little bit about yourself. Thanks, nebenether, for this opportunity. I'm Shata, though she I am currently employed as a product owner at podcast business. My background is in by medical engineering. I did my master's. I was a firmware engineer with seeing your medical which is now appit labs, for over six years and then I decided to take break as we had to move to the east. Goes you to my husband's job and my shorts break went in from like six months to about four years, after which I decided to return back and I was clueless as to start and where should I go, what jobs should I apply it was a yearlong journey from which I kind of fell into a product management kind of area and landed up as a product owner. So my next goal is to go up to become a product manager in next couple of months, maybe a year. So yeah, that brings us to you today. That's awesome. So for that. What are some of the struggles who saw while we were trying to return to work? So the struggles, I think, our internal and external. Right the biggest struggle as far as myself was that I was very low on self confidence going back to work. I used to go on Linkedin and see the people who were my ex colleagues had gone a long way ahead from where we had been and that just that gap seemed so wide that I felt I don't know where should I start? Should I be starting right from the beginning? What where am I at? So that was my internal struggle. But externally also, I faced a lot of no, no support, right from being no empathy, because I did not have any people who had been through this process. So when my husband if he wanted me to support but he did not realize what internal struggle I was going through and what it means to not be in a career for four years and go back. So I even if people wanted to help me, they couldn't because they cannot empathize with me. Not just people support, but also opportunity support or everything. Like talking to a lot of people who contacted me for interviews when they heard that I had a four years gap. They would not even ask me an explanation. So those denials, these were some of the struggles that I started remember...

...and, I think, come across. Yeah, so how did you, like, from where did you draw inspiration, while you found like you, nobody was helping around, like, how do you, I guess, come out of that entire face? I think the biggest thing that like inspiration was from a lot of upskilling that I did. That gave me a lot of confidence. I took some UX courses. I also met up with a life coach, not just a career coach, but a life coach, who was helping me through understanding. Okay, what what should be my next step, because I wasn't even sure if I wanted to go back in as my previous position. So I was very confused. So those things kind of helped me initially to break through the ice and then, as and when I met through more denials, I started preparing more, I started gaining more confidence and even though there were more denials, I saw the that my answers were becoming more and more refined and it gave me confidence. I also attended a lot of workshop or gave given by my local library resume workshops linked in profile workshops. Talking to the people around their gave me an ability to give sort of a pitch for myself in an into the first question is tell me about yourself. So talking to people kind of helped me gain confidence about talking about yourself and once you would nail that question, the rest of the interview, I think, is pretty down like uphill from there. Like you know, okay, I have done a tabother job about telling about myself. Now it's all easasy easy. So and reading. I read a lot. I read a lot of blogs that read a lot of books. That helped, especially about how to interview. Listen to PODCASTTS. I on a daily basis, during commute, during grocery shopping walks constantly. Kind of help my mind get into the mode of keeping up with my goals. So shut you talked about going through life coaches, right. So could you tell us a little bit about how did life coach come into the picture of how what kind of support was a life coach able to provide that helped in your journey of returning to work? That, I think, was a huge help, thankfully, for me, this person the life which was herself launching her own consulting about life coaching. So she was trading like she was coming from order real work while she was doing a certification, and it helped me because she had that empathy I was looking for. I initially mentioned right, I'm at cross roads. I haven't...

...worked in four years, I don't know if I want to go back to the same job. I don't have self confidence, and she was able to empathize with that. She was able to offer me alternators on where. What would my first empty? And I would always be overwhelmed what my first step should be among so many steps that I could think and she's like, what would you do if you had every like? You know, which career would you choose? And I was like, I always wanted to become an artist and now, if I was given a chance, I would go into UX. And she's like, okay, so if you wanted to get into us, what would you do next? And I said, okay, maybe I'll have to upscale because I've never done any kind of Ux. So I started upskilling from there. From once I started up skilling, it only grew and I landed into product management, where I felt that my artistic passions and my engineering background kind of merged together with the empathy that I have for users and it was a sweet spot. From there on, I just once I figured that out, I only went on and on to get the right positions, even though they were denials, but I knew that this is the path I wanted to be and that what we're going. So I have like a follow up question. When you talk to a life coach and I through your entire interactions, you for like you could have asked earlier that could have directed you to the right direction or any of those things you want to share. I think the biggest point about life coaches you should have the kind of relationship right. Not every life coach will work out for you. So the life coach, fortunately that I had, she had a similar take on how to tackle challenges and she saw me that how overwhelmed I I used to become with options. So every person is different and I think that relationship kind of worked for me. So you might have to check out, like talk to a few until you feel that, okay, this is the person that can be my friend. But as my life coach, they has the right empathy or the thing that you need. I needed the empathy in the support somebody else might need something else. So maybe asking questions, like around whatever is bothering you, and if they are telling you the things that kind of are Oh yeah, that makes sense, then you think that okay, this is going both ways. Versus if their form buddy, like I also met with a coach, was aggressive and she used to tell move what good you can go get it. But that that kind of approach never sat well with me. So that's how I discripsed what kind of relationship I wanted, because I definitely think, like even in our website, reternships are INFO, we have linked life coaches and career mentors and I definitely attest to the fact that they definitely help you point to the right direction. So that is definite lying if you kind...

...of lost in the process and want more help while navigating through this entire process. All right, coming back to return ships in general, so I want to ask you what what did you wish you at the time, while you were turning to work, with the certain guidance or advise, a feedback that you would have wished you someone gave you r you would want to give your older self while you in the process. Yeah, so I think in general. I'd never faced failure in my life before that. So that was one of the biggest thing that I learned that denials are okay, failure is okay. It's only redirecting you in the right direction, it's not stopping you. Even as a returnee, that I can negotiate my salary leverage my previous experience. I thought that I was always at a differ, granted because I had a Roup, but I never thought that I had eight years of experience before that where I've learned, contributed to a team and that I could bring to the table. A lot of people don't have that. When I was look starting to get back, returnships were only starting to, you know, get into the picture. So I wish there were more returnships and I would have made a lot of use of that then. Also, I should have kept in touch with my ex colleagues. So I kind of fell off the face of the earth when I took time off. Maybe not just in touch with colleagues, but some kind of brushing up on my skills or doesn't matter if it was just career related, but something. I did not do that and I think, yeah, about going back to the colleagues s part that I wish I knew that once I'm off the career path, my colleagues would not acknowledge my request. So I had a lot of places where I would send requests to my colleagues to give me Linkedin recommendation or something. So do that when you are in touch with them, have that and maybe, if you are the kind of person that can keep in touch with them throughout, do that, because that can definitely help. After four years, when I was reaching out, I did not receive a lot of I received re responses from complete strangers. I was surprised that strangers would respond to my request but not my colleague. So yeah, these were the things that I wish I knew. I learned through disappointments and then I was like okay, that's fine, got to move ahead. So that adding to your point. Like listeners, if you're trying to return to work, I definitely recommend you to go to Linkedin and reach out to the people who are hiding. So basically you can search the hiding keyword or Linkedin and it will list you all the people who...

...are hiding for different roles and you can filter by your roles or what you're interested in. or by the companies are interested in, and definitely like reach out to them, because they are like the direct managers or direct employees who are hiding. They don't feel shy and of often times they might refer to you to different jobs or different opportunities that you're looking for. So I would recommend like doing informationals and learning more about the role when you're trying to get back to work. Absolutely, yeah, all right, sure, at the moving on, so you talked about like an advisor you would want to give you like older self like now, coming to the fact that we have a website, like you, ton ship rot in for Wich, links all the resources that possibly would need to return to work. How do you think you would have reacted if you had this resource at that time, or how do you think it would reflect you at the time? For the first thing, I would have felt at there is somewhere, or at least a lot, of pople who are in my position. It was very lonely the whole process from beginning to the end. So I think that kind of would put me in a better position mentally. That okay, there are a lot of people going through this and also I've been through your website and it beautifully lays out the steps. So initially, I mentioned, I was very overwent on where to start. So I think something as simple as that okay to this. Even in my mind I know that these are the steps, but you are it's so chaotic the wood process that it can be hard to sift through your thoughts. And when is put out on a web platform where a lot of people are using, you kind of get that confidence. Okay, this is the first step, if I do this, I can go to them Ottep and mean your journey in a way that is achievable. So if I had that, I think I would have not had the mental issues that like in the beginning and I would apply and then I would completely stop because I was overwhelmed and to call back on so at least you would not have that if there was some resource like this. Yeah, definitely. I think that is why I like the website. If you go to return ships dot in for and Click on get started, so you can follow through like step by step procedures that generally looking if you can, even if you're not trying to return to work, you can just review all the content, even if you are in the industry already and I'm sure there are a lot of resources that can that you can make use of on the site. Yeah, yeah, moving on. Do you think there are any common myths that's related to like returnships, that you think people should know of? That okay, like you know, you think of it a certain way and you went through the process and saw something else. Are they only things like that that you came across? I think myths. Wise, a lot of people say that when you take...

...a career break you need to start back from square one. I saw that when I was applying. Of course they were denials, there would road blocks, there were people who have hung up on me, but then, more and more I kept applying to the right jobs, I was able to see that I was adding value. I didn't have to start from square one. There was a value for whatever work I had done, the experience that I had gained, even though the technology changed. Probably in those four years things that changed. There is still value to that experience and people, I say people, not just women, a lot of men I know sort have taken a brings of people who have taken a break should definitely be confident about their experience. And then I think one other thing was the time that you spend the break is also very important. I think how I have handled I know I took a break with no goods, but I achieved a lot of skills at during that time that I use as a product managers to this day. So whatever's like, you think that those soft skills don't matter, I think they do. Like when you're negotiating in a club room full of product managers or whatnot, who are using those skills that you have gained when you were on a career break. Those soft skills help you. So don't discount the break or the express before the break. It will put you in a better position this. This makes me ask you the question. Are there any common questions? That way, while you were going through the interviews, you saw people would had asked you knowing that you will you had a career break and you returning to work with there any common patterns you're noticing your interviews? Most of the people ask me why I took a career break and when I said it was because of the kids, I didn't have a lot of follow up questions, but I would follow up myself saying that, okay, I did advising up Skilling I have done this volunteer work helping with project management skills. I have done this resoridification for Lensi Sigma, and that would kind of bring out question. Is that okay? How did you apply at how would you apply this? So I think I've never had like really negative experiences, especially when they interview started going. I know a lot of people do not call me because of the break, but once I started talking, I don't remember having a bad experience. Per Say. Yeah, I mean you definitely seem very composed and you know, very well put together with all the experiences that you have. Actors a lot on how you present yourself on the day of the interview and how well you're a bit of talk about all the things that...

...you have done and kind of related to the job that you're applying to. So please feel free to like apply. And there are so many returnship opportunities. We are posting on our page, even on the facebook page, if some of the users are not aware of it. So go to facebookcom re turnships or Info, and we post a lot of content on returnships also on different courses you can take for free. So yeah, definitely check them out. All right, coming back to you should the are there any anything that you want to talk that we haven't covered yet? I think we've covered most of it, but just one I don't think I can say enough. Of this is that believe in yourself, your education and experiences stand buy them, because only you can sell them. If you don't believe in them, you can't sell them, and that they will definitely be of help. I have not mentor but help three of my friends who have been in a similar journey and once they had this kind of a support where they started believing in themselves, they had immediate success in their journey. So I think that is the most important step, in my experience as well and what I've seen other people who have held that. Once they you have that, once you take that leap of faith, it becomes easier. So yeah, you have all the answers, you just have to find it. That's Mantra for two thousand and twenty one. One follow up question returned to work. Can you talk a little bit about your day to day experiences and do you think the fact that you took a career break and you came back, do you see any difference in the way you work, or are there any additional things that you're seeing at work which is more related to return ships versus a normal product management of product manager roof. Most definitely. I think when I started looking for jobs I was constantly regretting my decision of taking the break. But once I had returned, I was a very different employee than I what I was before. I had these different ways of perceiving things that people who have been in career for ten, twelve years, they've never had that break. So when I took that break I kind of realigned my perceptions. I had a new way of looking at things and I think a lot of people value that. At my previous company, at my current company, they still value that and I it comes from breaking from the more note to the right and I think everybody should take that kind of a break, maybe just for personal reasons or maybe it's a sabbatical or whatever, but definitely helps looking at the same things in...

...a different way. It makes for a bit of product manager is generally speaking, and there should be someone like when you have a new person who is youngster join you, they have a completely new perspective. Right right. That's something. But I saw myself as and armed with experience m kind of puts you all together in a different volume. Right when I started new, I did not have the experience, but now I have the new perception and the experience to back me up and I feel so confident in the meetings, in everywhere that okay, even if I'm wrong, I want to put my voice out there. So I was a completely different person and I think, if you given a choice, I won't do this again. That is so wonderful to hear. I feel like it's very, very important to like realigned and understand where do you want to go, focus on, what are your goals, and I definitely agree that having the time to reflect and realign your goals to your perfect career path. I think there's no better way to do it than having that career break and then returning to work and then finding your ideal job. Yeah, thank you so much, Truda, for like joining us today. It was like wonderful to chat with you, and I'm sure all the listeners were listening to you. They they have gotten excellent advice from you. So is there a way that listeners who listening to you can reach out to you they have any questions? Yeah, I mean, they can find me on Linkedin, or they can email me at shor add Chakdoshi at gmailcom solutely. Thank you so much, tart. That well, listeners, thank you for listening to us today. This was an amazing, amazing interview. We will continue to tell different stories of returners will return to work. So if you're interested in getting featured on our podcast, feel free to reach out to us at www dot returnships dot info, on on on our facebook page double dot facebookcom. Last returnships, doting few. Thank you, take care and good night.

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