I went off-ramping after a successful professional journey. Internships helped me get back in the game 10 years later.
Prachi Mendiratta is a homemaker who worked in a variety of fields before taking a career break to spend time with her family. She shares how internships helped her restart her career and gain financial independence.
Born into a family where ‘no’ was never a response when it came to making career choices, I grew up believing I could do anything that I wanted to do. The liberal attitude of my parents gave me the freedom to make my own mistakes, paving the way for myself. My passion for learning new things gave me a chance to explore a variety of professional courses.
After twelfth grade, I completed a one-year course in multimedia. Inspired by the graphics tools, I learned the tricks of Photoshop and interned as a graphic designer in an ad agency for some time. I had a creative side as well which I discovered when I joined painting classes in South Delhi.
Under the guidance of Ms. Tara Mirdha Singh, a BBC award winner artist, I learned a few painting techniques. I spent the next three years experimenting and introducing my own techniques in my paintings.
I was busy taking workshops and putting exhibitions of my artwork and got press coverage and accolades. Looking at the newspaper cuttings from that era still instills a sense of pride in me.
While learning professional courses and working different jobs, I postponed my graduation. Thirteen years later after schooling (1994), I satisfactorily graduated in the year 2007. By now, I was also a postgraduate with Diploma in Montessori Teachers Training. As the saying goes, ‘Variety is the spice of life’.
So here I was with my hands full of the choices that I was making along my life’s roadmap. My professional journey so far had proved fruitful. Then, I got married in the fall of 2007. The man I married was the same boy I fell in love with when I was in eighth grade, and it all seemed like a fairytale. I decided that my new life deserved at least two years of undivided attention.
And so even though my extended family never had any issues with my work life and even encouraged it, I took a career break. Within two years, I gave birth to our first baby. My life revolved around my newborn, but one thing that I made sure didn’t change was our frequency of traveling. In fact, we traveled even more. Again three years down the line, we welcomed our second child. Life became busier than ever.
All this while, I could not curb my lust for learning. Along with taking care of my kids, I started updating myself with Photoshop and video making & editing software. I also joined an online course to improve my writing skills as writing had always been my forte.
I started helping my husband, family members, and friends with work concerning social and print media. I designed flyers, posters, newspaper ads, logos, and edited images in Photoshop. I also made showreels, video mashups, and milestone birthday & anniversary videos. Though I was yet to be financially independent, it worked well to boost my confidence and hone my skills.
Opportunity always seemed to be finding its way back to me. In 2015, I was introduced to the world of blogging. I spent a few nights working on creating my blog and started posting poems and articles. It was a pure joy to realise that there were readers out there who enjoyed my work.
Later that year, my sister introduced me to the website mycity4kids where mother bloggers could join as a member and share their parenting stories. Sooner than I realised, I was writing sponsored articles at mycity4kids. Thereafter, I became very active on social media. I was now looking for a work from home option for content writing.
One day while scrolling on Facebook, I came across a work from home internship online. The idea of providing internship to women like me, who either had taken a career break or faced a long hiccup in their professional journey, encouraged me to register on their website.
It was my chance to become financially independent and so I started applying. One of the internships that I had applied to was a content writing stint at Budget Wayfarers, a travel website. In response to the questions asked in the application, I talked about the various places that I had traveled to.
Ms. Akriti Mattu, the founder, also went through some of the articles that I had written for mycity4kids. After exchanging a few emails about the places I had visited in Australia, I was finally hired to work from home as a travel blogger.
I was given my first assignment with a deadline of around 10 days and my first travel article soon got published. I came back from Chail a couple of days ago and now plan to visit Khuri Sand Dune in February for a music festival followed by a visit to Hyderabad for my next articles.
My new journey has just started, and I’ve got a long way to go. In the end, I would just say that life is not about the gender one is born as; it is all about prioritising. Being born as a woman does not make us eligible to postgraduate in the subject of self-sacrificing. So let’s stop postponing ourselves as a primacy in our own life; everything else will follow.
Author of the Article: Prachi Mendiratta