My Second Innings: Banking on Brighter Tomorrows

- Aafreen Azim Shaikh

I’ve been fierce across roles in my career, striving for success and growth. My initial stint started off as a Customer Service Support and in just 5 years was the Assistant Manager for pan-India Operations in a Japan-based company. It’s always been an upward and onward journey as I see it.

But when my daughter was born in 2016, everything changed. Suddenly she became the world for me. I took a break from my career and devoted my attention towards raising Rafa Konain . And just in a glimpse, 8 years have passed since. Now, the world as we know it has entered a hyper-growth era, but it’s also been equally challenging. I decided to recommit to full-time work to bring in financial security and be a role model to Rafa. While I had been searching for jobs since 2019, I didn’t find anything that fit with my priorities as a mother. In September 2021, I was visiting Bangalore from Mumbai to meet my sister. This is when I heard about an interview at Mashreq under their Returning Mothers program. The cherry on top was the Work from Anywhere policy – it’s a privilege that enables me to take care of my daughter who is in another city and manage work simultaneously. I seized the opportunity. I used to work in Reliance info COMM, but financial services are a completely different ball game. And an 8-year gap makes matters even more jittery. The industry had gone through so many changes, and I feared that I won’t be able to keep up. But to my surprise, the Returning Mothers program is designed such that it transitions you right back into the workforce over 6 months through training. I almost felt as if I never left. Of course, what helps even more is the great support from everyone at work and the inclusivity. In fact, during my training in Bangalore, I received an urgent call – my daughter had met with a small accident. My team immediately sent me back to Mumbai and let me continue my training remotely.

It’s the unity that matters and makes a real difference. It’s not an easy task to rejoin the workforce after years of gap. You’re often expected to push harder than required to prove your commitment. It’s empowering to have found the right fit and truly strike a balance between work and life at this stage. I now see myself evolving alongside my daughter and my husband, ready for our brighter tomorrows.

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