Maintaining the perfect work- life balance: In conversation with Abhrekha Jain

Michael Jordan, the basketball icon, has rightly stated that ‘Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it.’

In every individual’s life there comes a time when he/ she has to work on problems and overcome challenges. We got an opportunity to talk to Mrs. Abhrekha Jain who is a technology expert. She was a software engineer at one of the multinational corps in India when she had her first baby. She found a work- life balance with her job and two sons. She didn’t give up her career nor her duty as a mother. She shared with us how she faced her challenges during motherhood and how she never let anything dampen her spirit and zest for life.

Q. How did your journey with Accenture begin?

I cleared all rounds and I was campus placed. I was also the topper in my college.  For me it wasn’t that difficult as I was always very committed.

Q. In an age where women did not normally work and be a mom,  what made you decide to stand out and hence manage it?

I’m not too old! I have 2 children – 2 years and 6 years old. My husband travelled a lot. I will not lie, it was challenging. But it was also fulfilling and it kept me happy. It’s all about your attitude towards everything you do. What matters is what you give more emphasis on. Like I would finish my projects but also not miss out on my child’s football games.  One should know what to focus on.

Q. Being an engineering student yourself, you believe that technology can help women in a lot of ways. Please elaborate on your views on this.

I do believe that technology can really help women. Computer is practically my life. Society has this image of women that after graduation they should marry and start a family. In this process many lose their identity and self- respect. Women can rust if they don’t use their full potential. We have the ability to reach our full potential. I have come out of my comfort zone and have always had a clear vision. I try to do my best. While technology is important, social media can help develop your hobbies. You can learn to-dos and how-tos on Internet or Youtube. They can help taking your art to the next level. They also make it easy to get connected to everybody. Eg – as a baker, one can start selling cookies and cakes from home itself. One can also do trading from home with the help of technology. After children grow up, one may become frustrated, as there is no purpose that’s fulfilling and makes you happy. That’s why one should pursue a hobby, even if it’s just singing at home! Women aren’t machines neither are they mechanical. They can start a small business or give tuitions at home. I believe every single human is blessed with a certain skill set. Use it to your full potential so that you feel happy. I lost my dad to cancer. But even in his final days he used to open Youtube and sing. I asked him why and he said it made him happy. In my opinion, technology is easy to use and is compact.

Q.  Please share your involvement with women related initiatives and your future plans?

I am the key speaker in my organisation for women empowerment. Being in the core technical team can be challenging. After motherhood I chose less challenging projects in order to give time to my children. I don’t consider it as a sacrifice but something that I myself wanted to do. I wanted to work hard and be there for my children. I have always known how to balance. I stepped down professionally but in my personal life I was content. I switched to smaller projects to give priority to my children.

In personal ways, I help out my friends and other women in my society. I connect like-minded women together. I helped a friend who was a victim of domestic violence. A single- parent friend of mine wanted my help to make a basic power point presentation for her work. This shows that everyone has the knowledge, they just need to know how to project it.

Q. What made you want to start this initiative towards helping other women?

What can I say! Gratitude and humbleness have motivated me. I wanted to spread happiness. Our needs as human beings will never finish. When you choose to be happy, life becomes better. People read about me and know me, therefore they come to me. I want to make people believe in themselves. It’s difficult, but not impossible.

Q. Lastly, you are an women empowerment, please share a few tip for women on how to balance work life and motherhood.

Be happy in whatever you do. (5 days if I work hard, 1 day I party hard!) My husband supports me. If he tells me to look after the kids the day he has to work, I happily do it. But I ask for one day for my own leisure time.  Women are the anchors in the family. If they are not happy, the kids or husband won’t be either.

Happiness is within. Its how you take it. You can either crib about certain things or see it in a positive light. One should take out time for oneself. Come out of your comfort zone, believe in yourself and do not rust at home. Work to your maximum potential! Be ready for challenges because hardships will always be there. But be strong and do not fear. Try to give everything a chance. Like work for a year after having a baby. You will know that at least you tried! And always keep yourself upgraded. When I was not working for a year, I read a lot and kept myself updated so when I came back, no one could say that I was out of touch. Grow as a human being and be content and happy in life. And of course, spread happiness.

Inspire yourself everyday by reading stories of others, talking to other people. Have patience and do not give up easily. You will be rewarded for your efforts. Help others and yourself. As they say, charity begins at home. I had a friend who was suffering from domestic abuse at home but I couldn’t interfere in her marriage. She was a brilliant artist. So I encouraged her to take her art forward and she did achieve success. Her husband also appreciated her and the abuse stopped. So now whenever she is frustrated, she channels it through her art. Hence, nothing is big or small. Stop blaming your circumstances and learn to bounce back from situations!

Abhrekha Jain now speaks to women to guide them in attaining a work- life balance. She has definitely proven that no matter what, it is always possible to overcome the obstacles coming your way. Her zeal, positive- approach and go -getter attitude in life are truly inspiring. Everyone especially women should consider her motto in life to use their skills to their maximum potential. It is important to develop oneself but also help others and spread happiness.

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