Wanting to fly with clipped wings….

My friend on the phone to me : I work for T**, deployed at C** office.You know they have 200 databases, all of them are RAC enabled, they are PCP configured too. There is sooo much to learn.I am on support project, loads of issues to solve on this environment. even development and test env is on RAC . You know V!!  we only learn when we get hands dirty on support projects.

Me : Awwwh !! that’s so nice. how you managing. I mean do they comment if you can’t solve any of those ??? ( fully knowing what kind of knowledge me and her possessed in our previous jobs !

Her : so far ok! But I need to put in lots of efforts. The environment is very complex .I stay uptil 7 PM and take a volvo back home.I reach by 9 P.M every single day. I need to give in my best for the next 6 months till I settle down.

Me( By now my face fell.. the hopes of seeing myself working on that environment had subsided). How do you manage ?? what about the baby?

Her : so far ok! husband leaves office early so that he is home for the baby.  But you know, no time for the kid yaar!!! no reading to him… he just plays all day on his own. I didn’t have to ask any further. She was a close friend, She stayed with in-laws who took care of the baby all day  while the parents were away.

Me : (partly jealous, party acknowledging).. hmm I know. I don’t think I can survive something like that. I don’t think I can walk in every day at 9 P.M. you know too well, I don’t have a support system. I don’t think my husband would like if I walked in at 9 P.M every day!!!…and my kid falls sick often.. How will I manage such a tough environment


I sit back at my desk now, wondering who and what defines one’s career. In the job role that me and friend are in, we can be called into work anytime of the day or night !! These are the only environments you learn a lot as a techie for our domain.Can a mother survive that?Can you survive sitting at the desk for 18 hrs at a stretch…??? Can you call in at work and say my kid fell sick when you are responsible to attend to critical databases running 24*7? Can you login on a sat/sun for maintanance on env’s ???Can you rush to different regions of a city on a motor cycle , doing fire fighting for various banks/clients when their systems go down ? Can you miss coming back home one night and stay put uptil the fire is dozed at work ?Can you work on shifts? Can you login at 6 A.M for a support call , just when your toddler wakes up asking for that glass of milk?

Do we jump into Engineering blindly because the dad/brother/neighbour is into Engineering? Did you do a B.E because medical seats are far too difficult for open category !!! and a doctor’s job is all the more difficult. A lady in the apartment works night shift while her 6 yr old and 2 yr old is taken care off by grand parents+ a full time aaya. Some one in the play area once commented, the aaya is the mom because she is the one available 24/7 for the children!  The aaya is the biggest support system they have now.

Today my friend from the girl’s hostel works from home as an architect. She took a break when she had her first baby. She went back to work when the baby turned 2, did some small projects on her own.She is doing a small project for us now,telling us firmly before hand, come June she would not devote time since she is expecting her second. She doesn’t earn as much as an engineer does, but she possesses the flexibility that an engineer lacks in his/her profession.

Can you as an Engineer take the break that she took? Wouldn’t you worry that technology moved faster than you would catch up with ????

Do we make disastrous career decisions as women?