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Useful tips for working women
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February 08, 2007

Part II: Your career after a baby?

How can a woman be assertive at work without coming across as rude or unfriendly?


Should a working woman feel guilty about having her mother-in-law look after her 1-year-old daughter?


These and many other questions bother women as they step out to work.


Seema Goswami, author of  Woman On Top: How To Get Ahead At Work, addressed many such concerns during a Rediff chat on January 31.

For those of you who missed the chat, here's the transcript.


Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top says, Hi, this is Seema. I am ready to take your questions.



alka asked, i m a working woman n mother of a yr old daughter. my mother-in-law take cares of my daughter. but sometimes i felt that is taking good care of her, if i stay at home than i should take goodcare of her is i am wrong or right?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Hi Alka, You are very lucky to have a mother-in-law who takes care of your daughter. I think you should make the most of this. You can pursue your career without worrying unduly about childcare. And as long as you give your daughter lots of love and attention when you are around and make her feel secure, there should be no problem. Best of luck at work.


chandrani asked, hi' i am chandrani and i have lots of questions to ask you as i am unable to handle my relationship with my husband it is getting bad to worst i nedd your suggestion please
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Hi Chandrani, It would help if you told me what the problem is.



ravinder asked, kya har office main log ladies of buri nazar se dekte hai main nai manta
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Hi Ravinder, I don't think anybody has said that, or even believes it. So, you are in good company.



raj asked, i also do agree that women can wear anything they feel comfortable then for that u cant blame gentlemen to stop glaring at you
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Hi Raj, Yes, that's what I have said in my book as well. So, thanks for endorsing my view.



raj asked, even if a guy makes a move...if the girl restricts him at the first instance then he moves back
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, That's true of decent guys. But not all of them are decent. And before you get outraged, not all girls are decent either. Human beings come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. You have to just live with that.



sunitha asked, hi seema, i hear from many of my friends that in film industry the director and producer seek sexual pleasure to offer a role in their film. how far it is true? and also in corporate world the higher ups ask the every women have to please them for us to survive in the industry
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Yes, I have heard that as well, but can't enlighten you further, as I have no first or even second hand knowledge on the subject. But it really is up to the women, isn't it? Nobody is holding a gun to their heads. They need to stand up for themselves and do what they think is right.



Anuradha asked, i working as s/w engg and i have a baby who is 1 yr old.few days ago my office was near to my home i was able to manage all those stuff but now office has moved far away from my place i have been in this organisation for more than 3 yrs .. should i change the company because the office is too far .. i am afraid of change if i change the company.. pls help me
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Hi Anuradha, Change can often be a very frightening thing. We get so used to a particular environment and people that even the thought of making a change makes us anxious. But if you are truly inconvenienced by the move of your office, then use this opportunity to see what possibilities are out there for you. See this as a new beginning and make the most of it. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.



Soma asked, Hello Seema. I have noted that it is impossible to work for the media if one wants a day shift, five-day week, and no late evening shifts. Is the measure of a woman's abilities merely the amount of time she is ready to spend in office? What about women who like to spend time with their spouses, go shopping, watch movies, read, play the piano on Saturdays and Sundays and come back fresh on Monday mornings? Are they any less intelligent than their colleagues who remain single, eat office food even on weekends, and spend their evenings in the office premises?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Hi Soma, I have worked in the media for more than 15 years now, and I know what you mean. There is always pressure to spend more time in office, deadlines get delayed, you have to work weekends, etc. I have done my fair share of that. But the good news is that once you have proved yourself and gone up a trifle on the ladder of success, you can pretty much write your own rules. These days, offices are very flexible about people filing from home, working five-day weeks, etc. Of course, there is a downside to that. Those who put in more work will reap richer rewards. It all up to you. What kind of a life-work balance do you want? Work that out for yourself and then find a job that works for you. And by the way, I manage to watch movies, read books and go shopping, as do all my journalist friends. So really, it's not that difficult, so long as you learn the art of time management.


f22freak asked, There are lots of women who just use their office as a place for timepass and give a damn to the cmpany.
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Yes, there are some women who are merely marking time before they get married and have babies. But these women don't do very well at work or last very long either. That gives you more opportunity to shine. So, what are you complaining about?



Renu asked, Hi Seema, I liked reading woman on top I have a prob at work, hope you can help me sort it out. Recently the boss whom I was reporting resigned & I was asked to report to another person in the lower hierarchy and simultaneously another person who joined this company on almost the same level but different department expects me to discuss each & every issue with him. I am confused & dont understand how to handle both of them. there veiws does nt match. & i dont understand whom to support.
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Hi Renu, Yes, this is a rather tricky situation. You have to tread carefully so that you don't offend either party. The best thing I can think of is that you have three-way discussions rather than one-on-ones with both of your bosses. That way, you could work out some sort of compromise. If that is not feasible, then maybe you could take a senior who is higher in the hierarchy into confidence, divulge your dilemma and ask for help in solving it.



sahib asked, what do you suppose - has the role of women changed to a career minded people. You know working women numbers are increasing? Does that mean they are compromising their life for work - which is just a momentary bliss? Women want to equal men, Where do think this will lead in the near future?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, I believe that every person has a right to follow their dreams. And if the women of today, dreams of making it in the workplace, then she has every right to pursue that dream. Life is tough. It's not as if women who stay at home do not work. Sometimes they end up working even harder than those women who work in an office. And it's not as if working women abdicate all responsibility at home. They are constantly doing a juggling act, trying to make everything work. I don't think that women want to equal men. I believe that both men and women are equal. And that is time that men pulled their weight at home as well as in the office. Life is all about compromise -- and perhaps it's time that men learnt to make some compromises of their own.



jumbo asked,  I've been asking this for sometime now, but recieved no reply - how can a woman be assertive at work without coming across as rude or unfriendly? Seema, can you please give me some tips?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, I think that is self-evident. You need to show confidence, not aggression. Make your point without getting needlessly aggressive with people. Remain polite even when provoked. Maintain your calm at all times, no matter how difficult that may be. It is always more useful to whisper than to shout.



Sonali asked, Hi Seema, I am married since one year and working for an MNC company. I am struggling a lot to manage my time efficiently but i am failing doing it. Please guide
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Hi Sonali, You haven't mentioned a specific problem area so I can just give you some general pointers. It is always useful to have some sort of time schedule in mind to perform different tasks at home and at work. Once you have this worked out, print out a rough schedule and paste it to your desk or your computer or your fridge so that it is always in view. Try and follow this as closely as possible. Set yourself small, achievebale goals. Set yourself weekly targets. If you fail once, try again the next week with a fresh mind. You'll soon get the hang of it.


ram asked, one women in an office can create lot of problems for men and also it creates lot of tensions in it true?if true why?it is better to have a different office for men and women
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, That is a truly bizarre suggestion. If you really believe that, then why just stop at offices? Why not have different cities where men and women can live without interacting with each other? End of problem, right? No, actually you couldn't be more wrong. Men and women are not just competitive, they also compliment each other in many ways. Just ask any of your friends -- male or female -- who is in a successful relationship. Yes, some women create problems in office -- as do some men. The solution is not to ban them to different rooms. The solution is to create an environment in which differences can be resolved amicably and with justice to all.

Part II: Your career after a baby?

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