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Your career after a baby?
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February 09, 2007
Part I: Useful tips for working women

How can a woman pursue a career after having a baby?

How does one differentiate between an innocent pat on the back and a deliberate touch?
These and many other questions bother women as they step out to work.
During a Rediff chat on January 31, Seema Goswami, author of  Woman On Top: How To Get Ahead At Work, addressed many such concerns.

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

sgn asked, Seema, I'd left my job once I got married; and now I have a 2-year old son. I feel like working again; but not happy to leave my son with baby sitters. How do I pursue my career? Is it not that I should be with my son more that going after my career. I've seen many of my friends working in this situations and a bit unhappy. They work because of necessity. For me, it's career and maybe to secure my future. I'm in a dilemma now. What are your suggestions/experiences of similar?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, You haven't mentioned what your field of work is, so it is a bit difficult to be specific. But if you really want to go back to work, then you need to create a support structure for your son before you venture any further. At two, he is used to having you around all the time and may react badly to what he sees as abandonment. My suggestion would be to ease yourself back in the workforce. Start off by working part time, so that you can spend some time at home as well. Once you are more confident about your childcare arrangement and your child has had time to adjust, you can look for a full-time job. But nobody else can decide whether it is better for you to stay at home or to work. That is your call.

Praseed asked, My wife works with a big organisation where there are only a very few amount of girls. She has been sexually harassed but the organisation does not take any action. What is that she must do?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, I think you need to read the book. There is a detailed bit on the legal recourse that is open to her.

Hello asked, Hi, a genuine concerned question! If a male is being harassed at work by his superior, what can he do? I believe I'm a victim of this. Not meaning that she is still harassing me, but I believe that she may make some adverse things in my appraisal for refusing to her needs. Please help! And also, about the new bill which would be introduced soon for sexual harassment prevention, will it help and protect only the females or will it protect us men who are genuinely feel harassed at work? And what are our options when a lady falsely accuses a manager of sexual harassment if she didn't get what she wanted? Please advice!
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, I agree that men can also be victims of sexual harassment, but the way you should tackle it doesn't differ very much from how women are advised to handle it. You need to build up your case, documenting incidents of harassment, preserve any SMSs or emails that prove the same, take other workers into confidence. If your concerns are not taken seriously at your workplace, you can take recourse to the law just like any woman can.

Neelima asked, Dear Seema, How does one differentiate between an innocent pat on the back and a deliberate touch?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, As a woman you know the difference. Just trust your instincts. If you feel it is an innocent pat, then ignore it. If you feel it is deliberate, then just politely say that you are not comfortable with this kind of physical contact and that he should desist.

Suppu asked, Hi Seema...I have recently joined a new company and I am really not able to adjust according to this new company policies...please suggest how to go about making your own place in the organisation and being your best.
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, That's too bad. The organisation is not going to change its policies to accommodate you. You have to make the effort to fit in. If you can't do that, then maybe it's time to move on -- though there are no guarantees that you will do any better at your next place of work. Maybe it's a change of attitude rather than a change of job that is called for here.

Monali asked, Hello, what should a women do in such a situation she is having a new born baby and willing to continue her job but her parents and husband are against her. So in such a situation what she should do?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, It really depends on how independent she is. If she thinks that she can take care of her baby without the support of her parents and husband, then she should go right ahead and continue in her job. But if that means compromising on the care of her child then maybe she would be better off waiting for a year or so when the child is a little older, before she makes this gesture of independence. Sometimes you have to put your children before yourself. That's what motherhood is all about. And anybody who decides to have children should keep that in mind.

Raynold asked, Seema, this is about a boss we have. We are an IT firm and our official work days are supposed to be 5 days. This guy keeps asking the guys to work late everyday and on weekends. How do we tackle this issue? The higher-ups are happy with him but not employees.
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, If all of you are unhappy, then all of you should stick your necks out and make your feelings known to him. After all, he can hardly fire all of you at one go, can he? But first I think you need to establish that these late hours are not really necessary and that you can complete your work within the normal working hours. Ask him to give you a week to prove that. And then, hope for the best.

Anson asked, Hi Seema, sexual harassment on especially women in BPO's are becoming so common. Is there any law or compliance that an organisation should need to keep in place for the women working in BPO?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, There is a section on the legal recourse available in the book. Please refer to that.

Thanya asked, Hi Seema, I have recently joined a company where my work is co-ordinating between the directors and the different departments within and also outside the organisation. Now my problem here is that I am not that tough and people around me do not take me seriously. So at times work is never done. Please suggest me how can I come over such situation because I really want to improve and grow?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, I think you know the answer to that one yourself. You need to become more assertive at the workplace. People treat you the way you ask to be treated. So, if you act like a doormat, then they will walk all over you. So, stand up to them, even if it involves a major personality change for you. If necessary, model yourself on a co-worker or a boss you gets things done, and try and follow their example. Best of luck!

Safalya asked, How difficult and important is it for a woman to work and take care of home simultaneously. what should be her first priority?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, I find it interesting that everybody only asks about how a woman can work and take care of her home simultaneously. How come nobody asks such questions about the men? Don't they have a responsibility towards the home as well? To answer your question, you have to divide your time and attention between home and work -- and that applies to both men and women. Nothing is a first priority -- both are equally important.

Amit asked, Hi Seema, how should one tackle a difficult boss without offending him as he is the link between you and the management?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, There is an entire chapter on how to handle difficult bosses in the book. Read it.

Query asked, Please suggest how to maintain good relations with your ex-team members and bosses, whom you had been working in past and have moved out now.
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, That's easy. Just keep in touch -- by phone, email or in person. Invite them over for a meal, go out for a drink and stay connected.

Rajanmehradel asked, Hi Seema - Are you the writer who wrote a delightful piece on Sourav Ganguly in one the dailies? However, to come to the point what is your view on a CEO who would like his secretary to travel with him all over the world ?
Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top answers, Yes, I did write a piece for the edit page in Hindustan Times. Glad you liked it. I don't see any problem with a CEO who wants his secretary to travel with him -- so long as that is the only thing he wants her to do!

Seema Goswami, author of Woman on Top says, Sorry folks, I have to be off now. Do have to work for a living. But it was great chatting with you. Bye. 

Part I: Useful tips for working women

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