SASHWATI BHATTACHARYA, PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT, CAPCO BANGALORE
It feels like just yesterday when I stepped into my professional life, so uncertain, so vulnerable, so unsure of what lay ahead. Had anybody asked me then, where would I see myself 10 years from now, the answer would probably have been “I don’t know”. Here I am today, 17 years later living, better still surviving, every moment of my professional life, managing an account for a leading bank from Capco India.
There have been several ups and downs in my career and if I actually start plotting a graph, it would perhaps juxtapose in such a way that every time I have achieved something or had some positive turn, in my personal front there has been a dip in the professional front. Such is life perhaps, but at times it makes me wonder what motivates me to hang in there!
My strongest push that keeps me running is my indomitable passion for shopping… I am sure my wonderful husband can never earn enough to support my pursuit of happiness, by himself! On a more serious note however, I have always wanted my daughter to look up to me and learn how to manage both her professional and personal life. I strongly feel that a woman should not only have financial independence, but a world of her own beyond her family and personal commitments.
Whilst growing up in Calcutta, India, there was, and still is in some communities, a perception that a woman’s place is the home. I’m very grateful that both my parents were so supportive of my sister and I in getting a good education, going to university and pursuing our dreams. I have often felt guilty that my mother had to give up her job in the public sector, which she loved, to look after us when we were young.
I have also been fortunate that for the most part of my career, I have had great male colleagues as my peers or managers who have encouraged, supported and guided me in my journey. At Capco, I have never felt like I’ve been treated differently because of my gender.
Being very competitive and through working in a competitive field, I have always had to keep up with industry change, which means constantly re-learning and augmenting my skills. Working with smart people also motivates me to stay on top of my game. Having been closely associated with sports in my younger days, one of the things that I learnt early on was one needs to give it their best to win, but one should also lose gracefully. Failure is an important part of life’s learning curve, after all. It’s unrealistic to think you can go through the whole of your career without experiencing any real disappointment.
I feel that it is important for women in organizations to be seen, heard and leave an impact. In order to “Press for Progress” (this year’s International Women’s Day theme), and additionally to reshape and redefine the role of women in technology, we each need to individually take on the role of owning our talent and expertise to keep that path moving forward. I feel that this will be one of the drivers of feeling empowered and executing change on a wider scale.