Story of Surabhi: From the spouse of an IT Guy to a Salesforce Developer
Technology? Whatever even is that!? I’m not a tech savvy person by nature. I know how to get by, but I never saw myself working with a tech company using techy phrases, talking confidently about integration, implementation, project management and what not! I was the home maker, the artist, the mom and the wife. Being a first generation immigrant from India, my entry into the US was that of a spouse of an IT guy. Just like any other couple, our initial years in the US were challenging from every angle. Without much of a support system here, without being able to showcase my Masters degree of Psychology from India, I didn’t see myself working full time at a tech company AT ALL.
With the challenge of settling in from a foreign country and my top priority being that of homemaker, wife and mom, my career and ambitions took a back stage. It was more important to be there for my family, to be there for my kids, attending to all the needs of motherhood and home maker. I spent several years running art classes from my home and actually enjoyed the satisfaction and the relaxation I got from this experience. After 5-6 years of doing art on the side, and with the kids growing up, I began to feel there should be more moms active in the workforce. I always ended up with the debate of “study this”, “do this online course”, “ join this college to get your degree”, but I still didn’t find my way into the workforce without compromising the needs of my family. Sometimes it was the lack of technical know how, at other times physical location of the work place was a challenge and more than ever I started loosing my confidence. I didn’t think could do it anymore. I thought I had missed the boat. There were younger people entering the workforce, technology was evolving at an unimaginable pace, and I was feeling left out. My options of joining the active workforce were limited to teaching or an entry level recruiter job. Both of which were not satisfying in any way for me!
I guess God had different plans for me. I met Reena Gupta, CEO of Avankia. She was introduced to me through a common friend as a person looking to move into Pleasanton. We met a few times and she became interested in sending her daughter to my art classes. She would often come over and watch as the kids painted. One fine day she comes to me and says, “Why don’t you learn TargetRecruit!” I agreed and that’s when it all began. I never actually thought she had meant it in all sincerity, but maybe just in passing. She soon started asking me regularly if I had actually taken a look at the system and was interested. Honestly I had not even given it a serious thought. Suddenly she came up with the idea that she can place me as a user of TargetRecruit with a current Client, if I was willing to train and learn. I still didn’t quite take it seriously enough, but she was true to her word and soon she set up meetings with clients for me. My first reaction was to hide away and find a reason to skip it. I was full of self doubts and was very skeptical of succeeding after all these years of being out of regular work.
She would not take no for an answer. She encouraged me as a friend and mentored me to learn step by step at my pace. I finally felt ready to work for that Client as a user of TargetRecruit (an end to end Recruitment System) in their staffing business. Within a few weeks, I had become an avid user of TargetRecruit. I worked for that client for about a year and half before they decided to move their business to another location. Once again Reena came to my rescue and asked me if I was ready to work on the other side of the table. This was the turning point for me. I became involved in the product from the back-end side and learned one step at a time. It was like drinking from a firehouse because there was so much to learn for me. It was uncharted territory and even simple tasks were challenging at times simply because of my non technical background. I didn’t let that come in my way! With the team’s active help, mentoring and guidance I realized that if I was willing to learn, put that into action, and work hard, there was nothing I could not achieve.
I was partnered with some of the most competent folks in the company and shadowed them on several projects and tasks. Each day was a learning leap for me. My willingness to learn and the team’s ability to drive into me the confidence that I can do it brought me to this juncture of my life.
That’s some of my story, but this is not just my story. There are so many stay at home moms who are willing to get back into the active workforce. All they need is a little guidance and an opportunity. With so much talent hidden all around us, and such a high demand for dedicated workers, the stay at home moms need to be channelled back into the workforce. Employers willing to train this hidden pool of talent, have a lot to gain in the long run.
Relaunching moms back into different professions has undeniably proven a home run for all employers. If TargetRecruit can do it so can you. We as moms can help mentor, or coach one on one, or in groups more mom to continue this journey just as we have. We need employers to take the initiative and help moms train and get back into the workforce. We all need to do our part in helping to tap into this amazing talent pool.
Today I am working full time from the comfort of my home, in a fast paced, competitive and high tech environment. Currently I am working on several projects in the role of a Project Manager which was almost a dream just a few months back. The long years where I craved to work and put my education and skills to use are now a thing of the past. The work is crazy and even at times chaotic, challenging in terms of learning new concepts, and applying them on the job as I learn, but it’s so worth it. I find it very stimulating, satisfying and at the end of the day I feel fulfilled and like I’ve made a difference. It feels great to be able to work from home while being an important part of the work force. My journey has just begun and there are so many more to begin their journey just like me.