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How My Manager Supported Me In My Career During My Pregnancy

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By Jeyashri Ganesan (4 min read)

My first day as an IBMer is still so fresh in my mind – 15th May 2008. It seemed as if I sleepwalked from college directly into the IBM campus as my dream came true. I was awestruck by the corporate culture and ethics and values of IBM. The great teams you get to work with—both locally and globally—has given me a panoramic view of all aspects of life. As days changed to months, months to years, and years to a decade I am still captivated by the values IBM stands by. Just as my roles in life got enriched, so has my IBM life.

One of the most touching experiences I had at IBM was during one conversation with my manager who not only talked about IBM’s value of ‘Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships’ but also followed it to the dot.

I worked as a Delivery Analyst before I was promoted to a Lead role. This was a big leap for me and I was greatly motivated to work harder and smarter to soar higher in my career. I considered this as a great opportunity to prove myself. Within a couple of months, when I came to know that I was pregnant, I was torn between the joy of being a mother and skepticism that my career will suffer a huge setback. I was not able to celebrate the occasion as I was very apprehensive about how having a child will affect my career. I was not even sure if I would still be retained as a Lead. Being an ambitious person, the very thought of a dwindling career terrified me.

I finally gathered the courage to speak to my manager about my pregnancy and my concerns surrounding it. He gave me a patient hearing and let me speak my heart out. To my surprise, he was very empathetic and supportive! He said “Jeyashri, you deserve to be in this position and I certainly know how hard you have worked to be here today. Bearing a child is a gift and I want you to stay focused on taking care of your health. I have complete trust in you and I know that being pregnant or coming back from maternity does not deter anyone’s talent/skills. IBM recognizes every employee equally, values every employee’s decision, and has many programs to support them in their decisions. When you return, I assure you that you will get a role that best matches with your skills and passion.”

This trust and assurance not only drove my anxiety away but also gave me the much-needed confidence in myself. Today I am so inspired and engaged with IBM that I made it my second home and I go the extra mile with a smile to make all my projects more successful. That conversation has helped me manage a work life balance and excel on the roles I have taken up. That was the day I realized about the positive impact you can have on anyone.

Being with IBM now for a decade, and having matured both as a person and professionally, I realize this is something that is ingrained in IBM’s culture. The values that IBM stands for, the consistent practices to manifest them in day to day activities and the personal responsibility every IBMer carries to fulfill it, makes IBM what it is.

In line with Jeyashri’s story, we are pleased to see a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest HR professional society, discussing the importance of creating programs that support new parents and its impact on retaining top talent. Read the story here.

 

About the Author
Jeyashri Ganesan has a degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering. She  started working in IBM as a Mainframe Operations Specialist in 2008, then moved to Quality team & became a Delivery Analyst Lead in 2013. She is now a Business Analyst in the worldwide cost engineering team.

On the personal front, her husband is also an IBMer working in IBM Security. They have two boys, ages 4 and 1. Her elder son wishes to be in IBM someday just like his proud parents. She strongly believes that ‘Information is Wealth’ and constantly tries to enrich herself in every aspect of life. She loves to paint and read books in her free time, and has participated in IBM Club painting competitions.

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