Back to corporate after a three year hiatus

I quit my last corporate job in Oct 2016 intending to take a 3-6 months break but ended up traveling in Latin America alone for a year. Traveling full-time for a year changes you in ways that are unimaginable so when I returned I didn’t care how my resume looked, I cared about skill set and what I really wanted to do.

Also, I didn’t want to jump into anything so I took time to travel within India, meet friends and family I had not met in over a year and spent quality time with everyone.

Weeks turned into months and months into years, Before I knew it, I had spent 3 years away from corporate doing random things documented here.

What am I doing?

I currently work as a HR consultant with one of the biggest conglomerates in India. I’m based out of Mumbai and my work arrangement is flexible but I need to show up at work at least a few days a week so I end up going everyday as there’s no cost benefit to working from home.

In HR I work in Diversity and Inclusion space.

sunset over highrise buildings

One thing I don’t have to compromise on – watching sunsets

How did I find this?

While most people would call it a happy coincidence, I believe it was a manifestation of my thoughts.

I was slogging on my website while half-heartedly applying for jobs (must have applied for a few 100 at least, some even sincerely). Through this, I was thinking of writing to someone at Godrej as I remembered them from my MBA days and was very impressed with the whole team. It’s known to do some impressive work in Diversity and that was an area I wanted to explore working in.

One fine morning, while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across an opening in Diversity at Godrej AND they were looking for a woman on a career break. How is that a coincidence? That’s obviously a ‘Amen’ on my dream.

I wrote back with a sincere cover letter within an hour of seeing that post and two hours later, I was on a call with the HRBP from Godrej.

Two weeks later, I was signing my agreement with them.

At this point, I should also add that I didn’t sit around waiting for this opportunity. I was pulling 14-18 hour workdays, I had not seen a movie in months, no youtube video was seen for entertainment purposes and most importantly I said ’No’ to every opportunity that didn’t excite me enough, didn’t pay a decent income, or just sounded not right. I made a strict rule of no working for free or working with no margins. This allowed me to truly focus on my personal dreams until I found an opportunity I wanted to grab with both hands.

Is it easy to find work after a break?

Of course no. But it would also depend on your skillset and network.

I didn’t use my network at all to look for work and I did find something in HR that was paying as much as I used to earn within a month of job hunting in Mumbai but the profile wasn’t exciting and I believed I deserved a better compensation so I said no. Taking up a project that paid much less later is another story.

It’s not going to be difficult to find work, it’s going to be difficult to find something that would keep you engaged because a break would give you time to think of your likes and dislikes more than you ever would have.

Why am I doing this?

After spending years on my blog, months on travel writing (and everything in between), and torturing myself with setting up a hostel for other people, why did I return to HR?

One, I have no plans, no mentors so I do what seems right to me in that moment.

Two, While my freelancing efforts had started paying but making decent income off it is still years away and I had no money to sustain my freelancing life anymore while trying to pay off my education loan.

inside Mumbai local train station

At least I had a place to stand

How does it feel to be back?

It’s a mixed bag of emotions of course. As a consultant I feel I’m still hanging in between and playing safe but at some point I will have to take a call.

The initial days were surprisingly not as difficult, my enthusiasm to work in this space overshadowed everything else. But 6 months later, I do crave the remote life every once in a while.

Having to wake up and show up irrespective of how I feel that day is the most challenging thing for me.

Girl overlooking sunset from a promenade

Picture taken by my ultra talented 4 yo niece 🙂

But there are equal number of things I’m grateful for. I don’t get stressed about money while traveling, I don’t have to take the cheapest hostel out there, I pamper myself when I want to, I’m learning new things at work, I have a great boss, and a lovely atmosphere of highly talented people around me, the conversations are not around travel but they are interesting nevertheless esp. all the psychology related conversations.

This is the longest I have spent with the same group of people in 5 years, it’s intimidating at times in my head but in reality it’s mostly fun only occasionally annoying. 

Does it leave me any time to pursue my passions?

Some days, yes, most days, no. But I didn’t expect things to be any different. I’m still working on my personal goals just the progress is slow.

What next?

I recently accepted another 6 months with this company so I do know I’m in Mumbai until mid July but I have no idea what next.

I would love to know though so that’s going to be my focus coming months. Figuring out, what or say where next?


Manisha Singh

In 2016, out of sheer hopelessness towards life, I quit my corporate job. The idea was to find happiness again. On this quest I went to Brazil and from there started my year-long journey in Latin America. A journey that was no short of a dream from soaking sun on the beaches of Brazil to witnessing calving glaciers of Argentina, from trekking to Machu Picchu to swimming in Mexican sink holes. And, life has never been mundane ever since. I continued traveling full time thereafter primarily in India stopping every now and then to find paid work.

6 Comments

https://onanexpedition.com · April 3, 2020 at 21:09

Hi Manisha,

Your stories are very authentic. Hope you are enjoying the new corporate life.

    Manisha Singh · April 4, 2020 at 21:59

    Thank you. Yes, very much so. Looking forward to the next phase after this ends though…

angie2787 · February 3, 2020 at 09:37

All the best !! Hope mumbai treats you well

    Manisha Singh · February 4, 2020 at 09:28

    Thank you so much. It’s so much easier with family around though 🙂

arv! · February 1, 2020 at 14:02

I’m sure thsi will provide you a welcome change from the life you had been living for last 3 years. All the best!

    Manisha Singh · February 2, 2020 at 10:18

    Thank you so much. It is a good change 🙂

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