Tonight was my farewell along with 3 other people. People said nice things, as they are supposed to at any farewell. But what they said is significant because I have tried hard to earn that affection. I have spent nights wondering if people will like me. I have tossed and turned worrying that am a fake, was promoted by accident and everyone will find out sooner or later.
Sure, people lie. As you climb higher up the ladder, the less criticism you get to hear. But my mentor had advised me last year “when someone in the team doesn’t like you, you will pick up the cues. You will know it. So stop worrying”. All five people in the team can’t tell the same lies, right?
Why this means a lot is because am not a people person at all. Over the years I have been told that am an individual contributor and work better alone. After 3 years of an individual contributor role, albeit in sales so there are always people to collaborate with, I moved to a team management role. People who have more experience, more confidence and are male. Some of them are diplomatic and will never be upfront about their views but there are others who are brutal with their feedback.
To hear someone say that they would always want to report to a female is a big, big compliment. This opens doors for many, many women in the future. You just need one good female professional to change everyone’s minds and perceptions. Just one of us has to step up.
At the same time, all the men around me have taken care of me. From making sure am not travelling alone late at night even in Gujarat to wanting to pick me up from the airport at night to ensuring am completely safe in interior MP while travelling at 10 pm on streets with no paved roads. The best part about working in West region is that men don’t see your gender as a disadvantage. I have worked in North and in West and there is a stark difference in how am treated. I have worked in both regions of two different organisations.
But more importantly, I haven’t just grown as a professional but personally too. Like I was telling DS the other day, there are skills I learn in the corporate that I wouldn’t learn if I wasn’t working or I had my own startup.
KC told me I don’t look happy about moving to Gurgaon. He is right. I haven’t even started thinking about Gurgaon or the new life awaiting me. I have been too bogged down by what am leaving behind, professionally and personally.