Love, Marriage & Career
– Moments of Elusiveness –
It’s been TWO years since Rohit and Sheetal got married and she is still looking for that one elusive job offer, even though she is willing to work at half of her last drawn salary package or even like to be considered as fresh graduate. Now, she is exploring opportunities in other professions to be able to support her husband and keep that “professional” in her alive.
This is not an isolated case. There are many Sheetal’s out there whose career has been killed prematurely by the ‘so called matured recruiters and prevailing corporate culture’.
The Love Story….
Sheetal Sharma  and Rohit Bajaj  are Software Engineers and work for Bearberry Software Private Limited [BSPL].
Sheetal is from Delhi and Rohit from Mumbai. By this time, Sheetal has completed THREE years with BSPL. She pursued her passion in Quality and become Certified Six Sigma Green Belt from American Society for Quality [ASQ]. Rohit is trying to become a PMP certified Project Manager.
Both of them graduated from National Institute of Technology. In college, Rohit was TWO years senior to Sheetal. Call it coincidence or destiny….both of them is now part of a same team.
With the flow of time, their friendship blossomed into affection and turned to love. At this juncture of their life and career, they decided to get married. They persuaded their parents, who after initial objections, agreed for their marriage.
Last year, Rohit bought brand new Honda City car. He is paying EMI of 15,000/- INR. It is mutual understanding between Rohit and Sheetal to not to plan family expansion for next FIVE years, so that they can save enough money to pay down-payment of their new home. Their marriage has been scheduled for SIX months from now.
Every Love Story has a Villain….
Software Development Department of BSPL is not large enough to have multiple teams. BSPL has a policy for husband and wife to work together in the Company:
- Husband and wife cannot work in same team.
- They should not be reporting to one another or be in a position to influence the performance or merit increase of one another.
- Neither of the husband and wife can work in HR or Finance department.
Company doesn’t seem to be able to accommodate them without changing their shift timing. For a newlywed, this is not feasible for Rohit and Sheetal at this stage of their life. Hence, either of them had to look for job elsewhere.
The Search is on….
Both of them begin the process for job search. Sheetal managed to get few interview calls. She always managed to get through technical round of interview but couldn’t succeed in getting job offer.
Every recruiter she came across was more curious on Sheetal – Rohit post marital plans. Every time that question was asked, she used to assure that ‘career is their priority’ at this stage of life & marriage is only a next step in the ‘Journey of Life’.
However, things seem to be not going in favour as most of the times, she got to hear this from the recruiter(s):
“I am sorry but I will not able to hire you. You are on the verge of getting married and might be you will pregnant and then you will either take maternity leave or leave the job. This is very critical project and hiring you will be a big risk for the project”.
The Moments of Elusiveness….
Having got such experiences, Sheetal felt if she needs to be dishonest to the interviewer and not talk anything about her marriage as these thoughts were haunting her:
“What if they want me to join in a month or so?
Will they give me leave for my marriage?
I cannot join any organization until I return from my marriage”.
In the midst of such elusiveness, Rohit being one of the best resources that the Company has, BSPL is willing to go extra miles to retain him, besides promising a good merit increase along with promotion. As such, Sheetal and Rohit decided to slow down their job search for a while and focus on the most important event of their life – their marriage.
Two months later Sheetal resigned to her role at BSPL. At the time of resignation, Sheetal was exuding mixed emotions. She was HAPPY because she was getting married to love of her life. She was SAD because she had to give-up on her job. She was TENSED because she was unsure of her career.
The Haunting & the Haunted!
After the marriage, Sheetal took THREE months to set their house in order and make it “home of love”. While she was settling down, she continued to apply for jobs. In her resume, she changed her marital status from being “single” to being “married”.
Along with the change in her marital status, her “job gap” also began to haunt her as she was getting less interview calls when compared to what she was getting before marriage. As usual & as always, she continued to successfully get through the technical interviews, it was the personal round of interviews that were ‘haunting her’ as she now gets to hear this from the recruiter(s):
“So, now you must be planning about babies?”
While it is so embarrassing / private affair for a woman to discuss this in the interview, Sheetal continued to convince the recruiter(s) by saying:
Currently, our priorities are different. Having kids is not our priority.
I will be working and supporting my husband.
However, it’s been 2 – years now, Sheetal continues to be haunted…..and was elusive of the offer that can come her way.
This leaves us with lots of questions…….
- How ethical are interviewing managers to ask personal questions to candidates about marriage or family planning or change of surname?
- How marital status of an individual does affect her commitment, professionalism and ability to deliver quality work?
- Do you think Sheetal should have lied about her plans of getting married and thereafter about her marital status?