Returning to work through translating your caregiver skills to Professional Setting with Microsoft's Jhansi Reddy

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jhansi was out of workforce for 10 years and returned to the industry at Microsoft. She is a passionate Program Manager Architect with a successful track record of delivering highly available, resilient and scalable cloud services that can be leveraged to build products to empower millions of users. She works for CSE division at Microsoft. CSE is a global engineering organization at Microsoft that works directly with the largest companies and not-for-profits in the world to tackle their most significant technical challenges. Her role within the Commercial Software Engineering team (CSE) enables her to work with a breadth of industry scenarios to solve real world customer problems, side-by-side with the customer, and then use these solutions and knowledge to benefit all our customers . She applies her expertise with understanding customer scenarios and working with Development teams to offer the best possible solution. She co-develop with the customers to create a combination of products and solutions to best suit their needs.

Through this episode, she emphasizes about the importance to translate your caregiver skills to professional skills and takes us a journey on how to land a job at Microsoft after 10 years of gap.



Yeah, Hi everyone, my name is no Bonita Day and you are listening to another episode of the return to Podcast with Nabonetta from the nonprofit initiative returnships dotog. We help people to return to work after gaping career. Through this podcast, we amplify voices of people who have successfully returned to work. Today our special guest is chauncey ready, who had a gap in career of almost ten years and was able to return to work to Microsoft. So let's sear it from Jassey. Thank you for NY and how I return to work for a time. So I am Microsoft years and my journey has been interesting, I would say. I India my uncle and I also to the US. I started working in the area as a software engineer. I work the company and also substant almost nine years and then relocated ye at the area and that's when I quit my job and stay home with my two weeks at the time, they were both very small, in which school and I stay home for almost seven years. And then after that I started thinking about how to come back to work and I had a interesting journey. I've been working part time. I also went and and taught part time in a community college. The very enriching expias. So I think things and then eventually decided that I wanted to return to work full time in a tech company, and that's when I started down the Jewing and finally be planet a job with Microsoft. So it's eds, like you mentioned. Initially, for the first three four years I was working as a developer in my software and learning artization, and then after that I became a program manager in the theme park and recently I did two years ago, I moved to a different or called commercial software engineering team at Microsoft, with we both with them as your customers and really strategic customers on their technology projects. That's been my journey. That that is truly awesome. I mean that is truly incredible to know that you know, you are Microsoft and you have an actively, you know, being involved with the technology because you that you mentioned. So I wanted to ask you that, like what I guess led you do like this side to return to work, is the really specific thing that came up. That kind of, you know, was a catalyst towards returning to work. Yeah, it's a great question and every does. So after I took a break, and the reason that you can bring is that you know like I mentioned, I had a small children and I wanted to spend some time with them and we acted in life during that phase and then one play started growing up and they independent. We also had a couple of other lifestyle changes in our family, my health and who was at that time working from time, he decided to quit and, as that is on a small started so they don't a couple of you know who, incidentally, you know, and big changes in life. That happened and that's when I really part about getting back to work for time. Yeah, awesome.

So when you did decide to come back, what what were you like struggles, on the top of your head that you can think of that you faced in your job? So Journey, this was ten years ago and I said fasion was very, very different at that time compared to how many is now not that many online resources available, especially for return ships. Really check the career at that time and to be honest, I didn't even know where to start right and and as that kind of easy me to the full time, what I thought was the best option would be to do something part time. I wrote that. Just change between then and now. Now they are not that reliably part time positions especially in the technology industry that I see. So I I was like really actively looking for something part time. Maybe five to think them re city and the children are in school. I should be able to do some of some good work and they be back home when take come back from school, because you know they have all these after school activity and God. So that was one of the part things to find something part time. So that's when I actually ran into the open position for instructor at a community college and that seemed like a project bit right where the speech an out of school, I can go teach a classroom to and then be back and all my class preper training. But so that's when I went in up like for that job and and they were having to be a programmer prior to leaving and having that experience differently help and you know, I really had a very good experience teaching in the Community College. And that went on actually almost for three years. I would teach part time in couple of community colleges in creases in central and when you college and being in those, so what did you teach in those colleges? So I got several programming classes, you know, as part jobs play. I got a beginning world. I got it. I got advanced Ja my introductions. So it's like varidea classes, whatever they needed help with. I'm sure that like that entire teaching would have helped you so much during the interviews. So when you did want to come back to work after that gap in career, did you see huge difference in interviewing as verses if you were in that role continuously? Do you think the questions were different or it was a kind of the same? I think that that much, especially, as you may know, in the in the software industry, especially for programming type of roles. You know, they all tend to be very data structures alder them and specific questions and people are interviewing their mostly interested in your thought process and you you're alid the make up Roach to answering questions and you know, yes, we do write some code and you sat access be right in all but the easies. You understand location, time and space constrain. So in that different but it requires some preparation. I can't be from that right. So after really you're not in judge with that. You know how there's very starting underis work and how will work? All that we gotten. Yeah, I mean I would recommend listeners to look at some resources like lead code if you are specifically applying for programming positions, and you can even just go on Youtube and search data structional Gorthms, and there are so many videos that can utilize which are for free, and you can learn completely the entire procedure, from graphs to trees to a race to be the...

...structures to link clists, to all the sub ship mentioned as well, moving on like so, what do you think are some of the resources that like literally like stoed out in your process of returning to work? At everything that comes to your mind? That helped hugely. Yeah, it Susus that and maybe can shape my experience. I wanted to think about easy something that I want to do and a lot of times in whether you take to take care of by aging parent or reasons or ornamentality break, when you come back something, re assess rights. We's is really something that I'm passionate about here. That might be a good opportunity to change your direction and career to something that you're passionate about. So I think the evaluating is definitely a good option, and also think about part time or full time option. I think it might be few more opportunity now for part time positions and see they know, maybe want to be easy to something part time and eventually, you know, turn that into a full time. Question. And also think of your ideal job that you want to return to. People be the same in a profession or level that you left and you want to come back for the same thing or something, and that is equally take stock of all the skills that are needed. But that and we are at TA skills and right there might be secute technologies that emerged since lass. You laughed, and for a pression on those, may take an online course on you a go to the many person coursing on my course is not working over you. So at that time, and like I said, it was ten years ago or not that many online options available. So I think you know, buy some books. I also into think a couple of classes, community college classes and on anything like you mentioned. In any damp. For me, that in touch tect teaching was really helpful. So I was always being in touch with the technologies in very like a programming pads or various languages. That definitely up and also, even though I was not working, I was being a lot of other kind of qualitary work. Right, I joined a volunteer organization and project management. I joined the PSC. I was helping all this, even though you think that you may have related to your job. The those are all the skills that you gain in that process. It will be interpersonal skill or of time management, project manager Skilling skills. They're all very important that they are all there. I think a follow up question that comes to my mind, and I'm sure some of our business already thinking of it, is how do you translate the skills or the you talked about taking a part time rules and if there is something that is not really relevant to the job that you're applying for, how do you it translate the skills on? How do you present yourself? Other tips from that is definitely I think the package that you reduce them write. Some of this is that you had prayed to, you know, putting the job those keys for kids learning your breaking the example project management right, so you can, if you know why. I was a great for example, and I was getting in my skate school catalog. So we involved react and...

Microsoft publisher. Those are some texts right, not program but they want some texts that in sucase. So I think it's just keeping catalog of all the things that they are you acquired in that process to various activities and bringing that to the Jase can be helpful. I think, based on what you just describe, what I'm hearing is like you really utilizing all these technological jobs and even the if you're in a job role which doesn't, which isn't, isn't like huge a technological focus, but I think almost all shops currently utilize this, like text skills, like you have to know Microsoft office or Google Suite or some sort of these resources that are didn't end across all of the jobs that are there today. So basically learning them, even if you are like doing the small job, like utilizing them and learning them would help you a long way and a right you know how in collaborating and contact management, I mean there are place of fame. You know, they will be contexts and usually working through that pect management and carry all those things are right. Yeah, absolutely. I think you bring up such such an important point that, like you know, in every interviews there is like a technical side, but there is also a behavioral side where they ask you about you know, like tell me about a time that you had a conflict with the employee or tell me about a time that you failed. I think these are very normal questions that we often overlook while preparing for my interviews. So I think listeners, like an excellent point chassis brought up, is like make sure that you will translate the challenges of your life into these sort of behavioral skills, while the interviews the interpersonal skills, and I think that will really help you stand out as compared to any other candidate. Absolutely all right. So my next Adia that I want to ask you is like, like, now that we've talked about your journey a little better and we have talked about like all those things that you used, I want to know a little bit about your journey Microsoft, like now the fact that you have been with the company for so long, like I think so many mist SI interested in program management, in technology programming. So tell us a little bit about a journey which are like if there is any major projects that we have worked on, anything that you want to call out of your journey? Having to talk in that yeah, starting for a job and landed, at the time, role at Microsoft. Co Incidentally, it was in Microsoft learning organizations and they seem like a great quick at that point you're being interested in teaching and technology and and learning, in being able to land a question in Microsoft learning at that time for the UN. So I started it. I worked on developing online learning platforms. These are like a practice services that about these platforms, training and certification platforms. So that I worked on that almost for three years as a software developer. Initially, you know, I was a you know, in independent contributor in that project and then after some time I began to notice that I was enjoying having the whole perspective on the project and also on having a vision for the...

...project and how I can make a difference and bring new features and prioritize those speeches and how I can effectively work across various organizations and various teams and also with the customers. So that kind of got me thinking and then I made a sweech to be a program manager in the same organization. So I also talked about this in my blog and when I was going through that process, I asked my mentor for some advice, and the advice that I got is that, you know, if you want to change something, change don't make too many changes. Such once. Don't change the team, don't change your role all at the same time. So I decided to just change the role and not the team. So within the same team, when there was an opportunity to apply for a program management position, I applied and then I started working at the Tam in the same team. And then once I started, I never look bad because I knew that this is what I wanted to do. Being a PM and kind of putting off of the other pieces together and having a vision for the problem in a project or product and kind of seeing that in fruition was was a, you know, a big satisfaction for me. And then two years that go I we can Microsoft. I switch to another group or commercial software engineering team. Will we work with ING or really strategic Microsoft customer on their journey and we actually cold without customers and we bring technology and solutions to our customers in that process and it's been a a or nothing but the very positive experience. I'm like so glad to hear about your junior and I think something that really is anated with these like don't make too many changes at the same time. Like change one thing, like I absolutely stand by that. So I'm very curious like I'm pretty sure, and listeners who are suppecifically interesting product management. For somebody who is trying to return to work like now, the fact that you have kind of conver this entire journey, or there's something that you would want listeners to do for specifically for people who are trying to get into product management? Yeah, they are several things. That I can averment is that you know, first of all, talk to some product managers and and see, you know, what they do on a day to day bake is right, program management, product management, project management. They are kind of slightly different flavors. It also depends on the company at each company has their own roles and responsibilities for these are also, I think, just talking to a few polks to see what you think is product management and program management in is what it is, right. So I think that's a very good started point, is to talk to peoples are already doing it. Then also, when you talk to them or to Internet search, the e. The skills that are needed. But this job it would be communic, you know, having very good communication skills. You know, how do you generate clarity? How do you do prioritization and feature you need like a Nadia product owner, certification from scrunt you understand igen processes and I know you also have like a good technology background if you want to be a technical program manager. So just again, just like any other job search or any other a career move, we take stalk of what Gills you have and then you also assess the skill gap. You know, this is what I have, is what I need to acquiet the new skills, and you go on doing that and in that process, as a network with people, are talk to a few folks who are already in the job. I think these are, like exception really valuable knowledge. I definitely agree that it's really very important to know about joint processes or water from model or what it will the company is basically using at that point, and then being able to scope that,...

...being able to see the product into and work with customers. I think these are are very, very important skills. Are you do need to have when you're trying to get into product or program management. So, sticking to that particular path, now that we have a product like reternships Totog, which basically lays down to you the entire steps of returning to work right from the part that you know you are in your kitchen, you're thinking about turning to work, all the way to like empar you to basically return to work. So how do you think something like this would have helped you in your journey when you're just starting off? Yes, I did look at it. returnships that are and I see the wealth of information that is their REPELIDA and I would have really you know, I had really good experience if I had something like that when I was looking right, I really like the listing of all the companies that have a reternship programs. It is really good to see the catalog of them. And how do you contact those popes? And the other thing that, like I was mentioning in sense of community, right, like you can meet other hopes and you can go on this journey together, right. You don't want this to be like a lonely, lonsol process. You want to really connect with other poles who are in a similar vote and you can exchange information, you can have like an ei month these things with them and see what is working and what is not working. I think doing it collectively makes it easier and, I and more fun, rather than will each other. I kind of did it. I was saying a hard, hard way because I was kind of trying meet out all by myself. But having that community and connections and also some guidance. I saw on again track that you have put together. How do you start? There was no track for me right I had to my own track for Brian. So, yeah, having something like that and saseful. Yeah, I mean like I have been like talking to so many people who are we trying to return to work, and I think the biggest hurdle they feels like, where do I start? You know, I think it's like just like pushing them in the right direction. I'm getting the ball ruling. I think like just having that, all the things laid down in one place at least that gives you a starting point and then you can basically big deeper into where do you need more help on? What? If you need mentors, we need coaches, if you need training, or if you just want to connect, like you said, with other people, like returnships at Dorgue has all of those right now on the website. So yeah, if listeners, if you're listening listening to us for the first time today, go ahead and check out this website called double doublet on returnships dot org, which also has a free course as a podcast, has a forearm to connect with other people and bunch of different things that you would need to return to work. All right, chassis, I want to ask you all up question for you, Julie, like you mentioned about mapping the skills of what you do in the gap and mapping them two interviews. Are there really specific skills you felt like you didn't not hope that you could biblically co relate to our work? Okay, to just to clarify, what the are you referring to technical skills and know it or some other skills? I just meant like in general, any skills that you felt like, why are you with your family and you taking care of your family, or did any things that, if you date back home, that you feel like you can utilize and scale? It could be like a behavior will scale, it could be a personal it could be anything that now you see that it is really useful at work. That's it's a very good question. I actually I think there are a lot of skills that I know while I was at home that I develop. You know, whether it is organization skill comes to my mind. If you have a two small children and then you know their activities and school and you know all the other like a household organization that you have...

...to do. It definitely as reading the organization that you have to do at work. Right. So there are so many tas that you need to do. How do you organize, Kip track of them? What is done, what is not done? What is the High Prihigh is priority to us? I think that's one one place where I see a lot of correlation. And then the second one is also patients, right, you do have, you do develop a lot of patients, you know, with their kids and staying home and you know all the in a small trials and tribulations of all those things, and you do develop a lot of patients in that process and that can be very useful because you can kind of, you know, have like a empathy towards others and you can understand you different working styles of people. There has personalities. So there is a lot of translation of our skills that are not technique and that happen in our home. That translated work. I am sure that you know like this. Having the said that, break must have been like really transformed me there. But although a lot of people you know, like, Oh my God, I have this breaking care you know, I personally believe that having the break, you know, like you mentioned, like all these skills that you can, you know, develop at home that is directly useful at work. And then even like I think you mentioned back in your conversation that, you know, having the time to think and basically going after the career you want. I think having that thinking time also definitely has, I'm sure, husband helpful. Chelsea, I want before I wrap up the conversation, I want to know if how to listeners get in touch with you if they have any questions about program management, about microsoftware, about your journey at Microsoft. Yeah, yes, they're definitely. We can look way up on Latin Dancy Ready, J Ansi or Ey Microsoft, and there should be able to find me and linked. It sounds great. Yeah, I think this was such an excellent conversation. I think we got so many good tapes. Thank you soone, Chasse, for coming on podcast and, you know, basically taking us through journey. It has been such a great experience talking to you and just learning about how you can translate the skills that you do have, how you can get into different rules that are offer currently and then basically slowly translate to returning to work or bead like you talking about your program management, like all the skills that we use. I think all of those information was extremely, extremely useful and I'm sure that listeners who are listening to this definitely this was a huge, huge help towards moving towards program management. Thank you, everybody for listening to us today. We would continue to do more and more of being podcasts. So if you're interested in coming and speaking at our PODCAST, be free. Two messages on Returnshipstorg or just go on our facebook page, contemple double dirt facebookcom laternships at Info. Thank you, boy. Thank you, every death by everyone.

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