Nov 27, 2023

Suggestions to my 27-year-old self

 I received this question as a DM - "What advice would you give to girls in their mid-20s, working for MNCs as you have gone through that phase of life?"

My mid-20s are different in many aspects:

No social media (just getting started with FB), no smart phone. So there is no constant pressure to prove myself to the outside world.

Of course, there was pressure to do well in my career - mostly self-imposed - to go up the ranks. And the dreaded question - "When is the good news? When are you starting a family?" status updates from near and dear ones, causing more stress.

From a work perspective, I believe that in the decade of 2000s, employers(especially MNCs in India) were a lot more reasonable in terms of work expectations and timelines. But this has shifted quite a bit in the past 7-8 years due to various factors - growth pressures from investors, competition, uncertain economic situations, all leading to unrealistic project timelines.

Instead of advising girls in their mid-20s, I feel it would be more appropriate if I could travel back in time, meet my 27-year-old self, and share a few suggestions.

  • Do not ignore the delays in your monthly cycles. It is not something to be taken lightly. It is not something to feel relieved about when you are getting the monthly cycle only once every 3-4 months

  • The PMS symptoms you are facing are not normal. Take the help of an expert to understand the root cause of extreme mood swings and painful cramps

  • Motherhood will happen at the right time. Don't get stressed due to peer pressure or random comments from family/relatives/neighbors. Focus on getting your body and mind ready to experience this beautiful (and challenging) phase in your life.

  • Have NO expectations that family members will support you during the phase of motherhood and help you balance your home and career. It is completely up to you and K to plan and decide how you would get back to a job if that's what you want.

  • There will come a time when you will hear a wake-up call to understand your priorities and interests to pursue in your 30s. When you hear it, don't ignore it. I understand it isn't easy to make critical decisions at this juncture, but at the same time, don't keep hanging onto that indecisive state for too long.

  • Management career path may not be the right choice IF you need to plan for time freedom and flexibility in your 30s. IC (Individual contributor) role might give you flexibility and more options to work independently. Evaluate your decision to shift to management based on these criteria as well.

  • Having said that, just go with your gut instinct and the flow. Keep your curiosity alive and try multiple initiatives. 30s is the time when you get opportunities to discover yourself. Do not resist the experiences that come your way.

  • And for God's sake, please put that packet of Lays chips down and go for an evening walk!

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