How I am returning to the workplace after a career break of two years

About the author: Meha Rusia is a data science student. She shares her story of working in the education field before her career break and then rejoining the workforce through a course in a new field and internships.

Soon after I completed my graduation, I started working as an assistant professor of digital electronics. I taught first-year students and worked in this role for two years until I got married and moved to rural Rajasthan with my husband when he had a job transfer. Once there, I started looking for other work opportunities as I did not want to put my career on a hold. One of the job roles that I applied to was teaching science to school students. Upon getting shortlisted for this job, I went through an interview round and gave a trial class after which they extended me an offer letter. When I started the job, I realised that teaching school students required different skills compared to college students. Initially, I struggled with this change but slowly I got accustomed to it, and it turned out to be a great learning experience.

A few years later, I had to take a career break due to health issues, which got prolonged to 2 years because of the Covid outbreak and another job transfer that my husband had. This break left me with some spare time, so I started taking courses on Python out of interest. This interest was sparked during my time as a school teacher. I had maintained databases for students and teachers on MS-Excel, which I quite enjoyed. On researching a little more about it, I realised that there’s something called data analytics. This prompted me to learn Python. Gradually, I got more interested in it and also talked to a friend who guided me on making a career in this field. Hence, I enrolled in a data science course. Once this course started, I got more serious about resuming my career and started searching for jobs. 

I was unable to land any job because I was new to the field and had a career gap. Therefore, I began looking for internships but could not find any. Then on a cousin’s recommendation, I tried Internshala. Although I was shortlisted for one of the internships, I got rejected after the interview round. However, the company I interviewed with shared feedback on improvement areas that helped me get my first internship. The feedback consisted of preparing for specific topics that were bound to be asked. I incorporated this feedback in my internship preparation. When I read one topic, I would search for interview questions related to that topic and do some assignments. I would also go through the job description properly to understand the company’s requirements and prepare for my interviews accordingly. Eventually, I got my first internship as an R programmer at Sirpi Visualize and Decide.

Since this was my first work experience after the break, it took me some time to settle in. I started interning with 3 other interns who were in their early 20s. I was nervous at that time because they had good technical skills and were speedy in carrying out their tasks. I felt myself lagging comparatively. In fact, I was the last to set up my laptop on the first day. I was uncertain that I would survive one month of the internship. But gradually, I got better and felt more confident in my role so much so that the internship got extended to 3 months! I have also improved my communication, time management, and other technical skills. Moreover, I have learnt how to ask the right questions, which is a significant part of the job. As I was eager to learn more about the field, I asked my team lead if I could join the client meetings to ask a few questions.

This internship has helped me gain experience and bridge my career gap, which will lead to more career opportunities once I complete my course.

Are you looking to get back into the workplace? That’s great! You can get started by registering on Internshala and applying to internships for women here. You can check out all other internships here. All the best :)

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