Ashwini Jadhav

“I was frustrated with my first job which was in Bombay. One day when I came back from office I just booked a train ticket for Kerala. I got it and this was the first time I was traveling in a general compartment. After some time I felt uneasy there and went to a luggage boggie at night. By morning when the TC came, I got a little scared and came back to the general compartment. I didn’t know where I was heading to. One lady asked me if I was going to Gokarna. With no clear answer in my mind, I nodded and she told me to get down at the next stop. And guess what! I did the same. With bare minimum money in hand and a couple of clothes in my bag, I went on to explore that place alone. It felt so relaxing and calming, I just loved it. Normally I’d go with my family for vacations but this was my first solo travelling. That day I realized what I wanted, which could result in peace of mind. I could see the rise in my passion for travelling.

I didn’t want to leave my job. But wanted to do travel parallelly. I was planning to go to Spiti, since 2019. But my job was super hectic. As an HR, I used to handle the entire training, payroll department and operational work too. All the things I could do was just weekend travel by taking a one or two days leave. The workload had increased a lot post-pandemic. Most days my work time surged way beyond the working hours. In the meantime,I became a victim of covid. I had saved my leaves for traveling but since there wasn’t any covid leave policy in my company, so most of my leaves were exhausted there.

There was my cousin’s wedding and we were travelling from Bombay to Aurangabad. My sister was driving the car, dad was sitting and I was doing office work, attending meetings on the go. Because of me, they had to adjust themselves, sit quietly most of the time while we were supposed to enjoy the drive to the ceremony. It was probably the beginning where my saturation point had started to bloom. When I moved to Bangalore after my MBA, I was staying there alone and didn’t know how to cook at that time. My diet schedule was screwed. I’m a yoga practitioner, fitness freak, and love to dance but I can tell you, I hadn’t worked out a single day for four-five months on the trot then, due to my super hectic work schedule. My office work used to start when I woke up and used to end at my bedtime.

Last year during Christmas and New Year, since our client had granted a longer vacation, so here at offshore, my workload had been reduced by half. I promptly took advantage of that and asked for a short leave. I hired a scooter and travelled to a place in Tamil Nadu with my cat. I felt happy again and could feel living my life to the fullest that time, I could relate it to my existence. But if you have to wait for a time like this, so that you can escape from your work to travel and enjoy, then you’re probably not living your life. However, I joined back office and the same routine followed. By January and February, I started having anxiety issues. I had to drop my cat at my parents’ place because I couldn’t give her time at all. I was skilled at my job but I had started making blunders at work, I was panicked when I got a call from my office. I was on medication, my hands used to shake if I didn’t take medicines on time. I was the victim of anxiety, depression, fear, and what not. Hence I asked my manager for a leave of ten days but he wasn’t supportive enough to allow one even when I had enough leave balance.

One day I just took a decision and put forth my resignation. It was this covid period and I didn’t have any other offer at hand. Hence this was a tough decision for me. I was fearful and skeptical about my future and career but to save my life, I had to quit this job. Since I was a very good resource, even the CEO had tried convincing me to stay back. But I showed them my medical certificate to make them believe that I’m not lying about my health issues.

This is an irony that how I had helped people in my company to deal with depression but now I was there, too low on self-confidence and was going through the same where I couldn’t even help myself. A best friend of mine had referred me in her company, she asked me to try and have a backup, and see if I could join later, when I was mentally stable. I went through their selection process and scored highest in the aptitude test. That gave me a sense of confidence and boosted up my self-esteem. Luckily I got selected and they wanted me to join very soon. But I told them that how I loved my work but due to a bad work-life balance, I couldn’t sustain in my last company. They were convinced enough to grant me a three week break to reset myself and then join.

One day I was scrolling through Instagram and came across one travel post about Spiti Valley. I enquired about the trip, and finally, I was in! It was my birthday while I was on the trip and somehow the organizers came to know about it from my identity card or somewhere and helped me celebrate my birthday there. I was waiting for the Spiti trip to happen for so long and considering the phase, I was going through, it turned out to be the best trip of my life. And when I came back, there was a considerable good change in me. I joined this new company after a week and they had a good work-life balance. People from different parts of the country came to know me from my social media handle for travel and I too got chances to give speeches on some occasions. When you share your story with others, you get motivated too. In subsequent times, I used to plan small weekend trips. Now my work, personal life, travel and everything else seems to be going smoothly. I feel satisfied and contented with a life that I was not able to manage earlier.

As an HR and having handled the recruitment and exit formalities of companies, I can tell you that it doesn’t take time to find a replacement for a resource no matter how good he/she was. You dedicate yourself so much for your work, drop dead for money and you think your company needs you. But as a person, you must not fall for this fallacy, or lose your inner light and mental stability in the process. I have realized, that there are lots of people who go through this. I do understand, money is important but not at the cost of your tranquility. I have saved my life and feel fortunate to have helped some people in this regard too.”

Total Work Experience : 4.3 Years (Quikr , Redcan IT Services, Tricon Infotech, Novartis)

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