June 6, 2017. 4.00 PM. I have couple of hours before I start my journey back home after end of Term 1 of PGPX – 1 Year MBA at IIM Ahmedabad. Program started on 13th April and it has been 8 weeks of roller-coaster ride. PGPX is a very intense and rigorous program. with an ongoing medley of classes, assignments, quizzes, cases and pre reads on any day. In term 1 we completed core courses in Accounting, Operations Design, Decision making, microeconomics, Marketing and Organization Behavior. Obvious learning is the direct knowledge and skills we gain from these courses taught by the best professors in the country but I am going to focus on the not so obvious learnings and experience of staying away from family.
New | Fresh | Different Perspectives
When you have worked in one function and one Industry, the perspective gets set in context of your function and Industry. The first step of learning here is to unfreeze the current perspective and then start looking at the problem, case and the world itself with new perspectives. Our batch is as diverse as you can get – doctors, lawyer, Ex Navy, CA, PSU and private sector professionals, with each one bringing a new perspective. Learning to look at the work and life with new perspectives and appreciating those different perspectives is one of top take away from this course.
Prioritization | Time management | Speed | Efficiency
Term 1 made us practice a very important tenet of productivity which is the ability to prioritize and manage our time more optimally. The fast pace and every day rigor of program teaches you an important lesson in prioritization of tasks and efficient time management, without which it wont be possible to complete the tasks at hand. Without prioritization of activities and proper time management, there is no way you can get through a day in PGPX. Limited time and multiple heavy-duty cases in a day not only requires time management but also speed and efficiency in execution. I could see speed improving over the term. First few cases took much more time than the later ones.
Now how the mother in me got through the self-imposed exile and how did the kids manage.
Kids manage it better than adults. Kids are very resilient and out of sight, out of mind concept is pretty strong with kids as they live in present and haven’t learned to think and then miss what they do not see. It was very hard in the beginning for both sides but then we got used to the new normal. Also with grandparents at home and support system of helps, their school, routine and usual life at home was not interrupted. You must have good alternate support system set at home to continue life as usual in your absence. We settled into our new routines and weekdays passed by smoothly for me as well as kids.
Trouble was with weekends. Weekends are relatively challenging because that is when you spent maximum time at home with family. Everybody is at home on weekends and you are used to doing things together. Weekends were tough for me as invariably I would miss home and kids more. One more reason was that weekends was when we were talking more and video chatting more and when you see each other, you miss them more. Video chatting is a double-edged sword, you want to see your family but when you see them you miss being with them.
Get a routine for communication set. Figure out what works best for you and set a routine for talking and video chatting everyday. I would talk briefly to my children when they are leaving for school in the morning and when they are back from school and then at night before they went to sleep. Nothing could replace the physical presence but at-least predictable times set for talking brought some stability and security that I am just a call away and they could share experiences at school and home with me on a real-time basis. I would also keep a tab on if everything at home was being run as it should.
How did you manage home, kids and work together? This was the questions asked by my husband after first few weeks of him taking up my role at home. There are few things in life which you are able to appreciate fully when you experience it yourself. It was one of them. For him, it was first time real-time experience of how challenging and stressful at times it is for working mothers to continuously juggle between responsibilities of home, children and work with all being equally important.
My biggest achievement of Term 1 would be that I managed to do something I couldn’t imagine doing ever – staying away from my children. I hadn’t stayed even a single day away from my kids since they were born and it has been 50 days since I last saw them. I really had doubts If I would be able to do this but I managed to do it and it has powered my determination and self belief so much that now I feel like I can take on any challenge. This was the toughest challenge I had ever taken in my life as I take my role as a mother very seriously. What possibly could be harder for a mother than to voluntarily stay away from her children.
I have been eagerly waiting for this day to come. In my mind, I have run multiple times the moment when I would see my children and hug them. Umpteen times I have felt the joy of anticipation of seeing innocent faces of my children and finally be able to hug them(something you can not do in video chat). As I sign off on this blog, my taxi is here to get me started on my long awaited trip to home and to my kids. See you in Term 2.