According to the New York Times, Vice President Kamala Harris said that the 2.5 million women who have left the workforce since the beginning of the pandemic constituted a “national emergency.” According to Labor Department data, that number compares with 1.8 million men who have left the workforce. For many women, child care demands, coupled with layoffs and furloughs in an economy struck by the pandemic, have forced them out of the labor market.
For Women’s History Month, we want to honor the women juggling many domestic duties while maintaining a fruitful career. Our goal for the Women@Work Dairies campaign is to capture internal and external employees’ raw and honest experiences with juggling working from home, taking care of their families, all while surviving a pandemic. We want to capture these transparent and genuine conversations and share them externally to act as an example of how other employers should shed some light on this issue by offering support to this subgroup of employees.
We created an audio series that showcases the faces of career women handling domestic duties and work-life stressors to gain their authentic perspective of how it’s like to juggle both lives. Learn more about Shipra Jain, a mother of two and Senior Test Engineer Designer at Glassdoor, and her experiences as a working mother.
Glassdoor: Thank you so much for choosing to participate in the Woman@Work Campaign. Could you please introduce yourself?
Shipra Jain: Hi, my name is Shipra, and I am a senior test engineer at Glassdoor. I joined Glassdoor a little over a year, and I enjoy working here. I have two kids, a fourth-grader and a toddler.
Glassdoor: Great. Could you please share your experience working during a global pandemic while also having to take care of your children? How has it been for you?
Shipra Jain: Work has definitely been a big challenge while taking care of kids. This pandemic came out of nowhere and none of us were prepared for it. I would say it was equally hard for parents and kids to adjust to the new normal. As we were already used to working from home, occasionally kids never had experience of learning over Zoom calls. I had to help my daughter with school work during the day and it was impacting my work, too. As she is in fourth grade, so she gets a lot of homework. Juggling between work, home, and kids, felt like I was on a roller coaster ride. Everyone thought that this pandemic is going to end soon, but it was not happening. So over time, like everyone, I also learned how to adjust between office and kids and all the work. I started to adjust my meetings on my kids’ schedule, started blocking my calendar to cater to my kids and home duties. I used to catch up on my work during early morning, late evenings, and even over the weekends, which has helped me a lot to be able to deliver at my work.
There were some occasions where I was attending meetings by trying to pacify my toddler and he was in my hand, and I was attending meetings. And sometimes even during the meeting, my colleague could hear my child crying. On the brighter side, I enjoyed working from home because I was able to spend a lot more time with my family than before. I was able to adapt healthy lifestyle and manage to get some time for my workout. And I am proud and very happy to share that I shed off 20 pounds during this time, which was a big win for me.
Glassdoor: Amazing. Congratulations on that. So recently, Vice President Kamala Harris said that 2.5 million women who have left the workforce since the beginning of the pandemic constituted a national emergency. How have you felt like you have to sacrifice your career at all during this pandemic to further support your family at home?
Shipra Jain: In the beginning, I thought I will also have to take a break from my job to support my family because I felt so overwhelmed with so many additional responsibilities. Restaurants were closed. Kids were at home. Taking care of all these things was a lot of work. But then, I and my husband sat together and we created a plan of sharing responsibilities and that helped a lot. And it worked out all well for us.
Glassdoor: How has Glassdoor been supportive of your career journey during COVID-19?
Shipra Jain: Glassdoor has been very, very supportive during the pandemic. I was so happy to hear that our leadership team recognized the challenge for working parents, and they offered a flexible work schedule. We also started getting additional company holidays, which was a big help.
Glassdoor: Have you been enjoying being able to work from home? Has it helped to balance work life and professional life?
Shipra Jain: Yes. I love working from home because I save three hours of commute time per day, which is huge. It has helped me bond with the children. I could spend quality time with my daughter. I could do some painting, even in the daytime, when she was getting bored and I did not have any meetings and all that. I could see my daughter growing up more closely and doing cute naughty stuff during the day, which I would have missed, otherwise. I absolutely loved it.
Glassdoor: Lastly, could you share some advice for other working mothers? What would you like them to know?
Shipra Jain: I understand the challenge of working mom, managing everything. And I understand the managing everything is not a piece of cake, but I would share a few key points which helped me tremendously.
Have clear communication with your manager to have the work-life balance. Set realistic goals and don’t beat yourself if you’re not able to do something. Lastly, share responsibilities with your partner so that you can find time for yourself to relax and recharge, this is very important.
Glassdoor: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
Shipra Jain: You’re welcome. I’m happy to be here and I hope it help other parents.