I have taken sabbatical from my career many times. I hold a record for most sabbaticals. First,I took sabbatical to complete my M.PHil, next time I quit job to join my husband, who was working abroad, next after my son was born, then after I had a life threatening miscarriage due to ectopic pregnancy with twins, after that I took a break after I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (IC) a rare auto-immune disorder that had left me bed ridden. In 2016, I quit my job to take care of my bed-ridden father. That was technically my last ‘office’ job. Nevertheless, I continued working with the company from home till last year when the company was taken over by another group. PHEW!!!!!!
I started taking up freelance assignments for two reasons, firstly I was tired of the daily commute and staying confined in an office space for 12-14 hours and secondly I wanted to spend more time with my son as he was going through a mental turmoil after his grandpa’s death. He was extremely attached to my father and his death affected the little boy in more than one way. His dyslexia became worse and I decided to give him more time to help him cope with the tremendous pressure that Indian Education System puts on a child. Especially for dyslexic or other slow learners this system can be gruesome.
However, in a way 2016 onward it was a productive period for me. During this phase I started my patient advocacy group for Interstitial Cystitis that led to me help numerous IC patients within and outside India. I traveled extensively attending conferences, I wrote for many international medical journals, gave speeches and it was undoubtedly a phase of growth. During this period, I also started this blog, took part in A-Z challenges and published my first book. During this period, I also wrote for various online magazines on numerous issues related to women.
Since the end of 2019, I partnered with an old friend and started working on a new project that we were about to launch by April 2020. However, COVID crisis hit us badly and the financiers backed out leaving us in a lurch. For the first time in my life I am ‘jobless’ without a choice.
I have hit a stage in my life, where I am utterly confused regarding my career. And let me confess, I am scared. The ground scenarios is tough. Freelance assignments are going away like hot cakes. People are willing to work for as low as 15 paisa per word. Jobs from good companies are now having more than 2000 applicants. The worst was when my ex-boss put up a public post on Linkedin almost begging for a job. He had started a new venture that tanked due to COVID crisis and now for him it is hard to pay even the fees of his kids and other utilities.
Many of my friends have started new ventures during this lockdown. I am not sure if they are doing it ‘only’ out of passion or due to the pinch in their pockets. I just pray it should not be the latter. Suddenly, COVID has made the world a competitive place.
The first few months of Lockdown was crazily hectic. I was actually happy to be jobless, because honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to manage a full-time demanding job after juggling a demanding husband, cooking four full fresh meals in a day, cleaning dishes, cleaning the house, homeschooling and little bit of work for my patient forum was enough to keep me on my toes.
Thankfully, now I have time and so all the thoughts are coming back. Should I finish the book that I had started to write? should I write a new book on all the travel anecdotes? Should I start a new blog??
Will keep you posted.It would take lots of courage and patience to move out of the comfort zone but will try.