Date: Sometime last week
Time: Sometime in the afternoon
It was a casual afternoon. I opened LinkedIn to do the ordinary. A post about mistakes caught my eye. Allegedly, the individual had messed up a crucial release for the CEO of the biggest retailer on the planet. They corrected it immediately. They made an obvious mistake and were not penalized. They did not lose their job and were promoted to the next level. Cool, and really lucky? How many of us are spared to tell the tale? Definitely not me! I usually get punished even for the mistakes I do not make.
I spent the entire first mile of our routine family stroll (the baby likes to go out once a day) thinking about my string of errors/regrets. That made me wonder how many of my mistakes have been ignored? Or, for how many mistakes have I been penalized? The list was undeniably endless. I decided to focus only on the ones from this year to simplify the matter. Let me know if any of these resonate with you.
- Ignored gut feeling – My PERM petition was messed up multiple times. My gut told me to switch jobs ASAP to save my visa status. But every time I thought of commencing the job search, something threw me off track – Grandma’s grave health concerns, we caught Covid (we’d managed to dodge it for 3 years), GC process finally started (so I would have to stay put for 2 years at least), etc.
Penalty: I was laid off. All the heartburn around PERM initiation was a waste. We missed our India trip due to the layoff. Due to the canceled trip, we lost a ton of money on stay and travel arrangements. I could have saved my despair had I switched when my intuition asked me to.
Reward: My resume was ready the day I was let go since I had done some groundwork earlier. I had lesser heartburn when I was in a bad state.
- Spared a month of medical leave – My EX-employer offered no maternity leave (along with no free coffee onsite). I was offered an ‘unpaid medical leave’ for 3 months. I had used up only 2 months of that and had spared a month for our trip to India. In hindsight, I should have taken up the three months at a stretch and spent quality time with the family.
Penalty: I resumed work a day after the baby turned 2 months old. I had not recovered fully, and the first few weeks were really unimaginable. I had trouble sitting for long hours due to delayed recovery.
Reward: I got my buying power back. I started working while my family was still around, which gave me much-needed comfort and support during my transition.
- I did not maintain a work-life balance – I worked long hours until my due date. When I resumed work after delivery, I worked long hours to get back on track. Once I settled in, I worked long hours hoping for a promotion. Overall, I prioritized releases and perfection over spending quality time with my child (PS: I did spend quality time with my child, just not as much as I wanted to). In retrospect, I should NOT have put in those extra hours.
Penalty: I lost some crucial time with the baby. My health was impacted.
- Trusted people easily and quickly – I trusted my EX-employer to do an excellent job with the PERM initiation. I trusted my leaders when they promised a better future. In hindsight, I should have followed my intuition. I should have remembered that revenue is more critical for any enterprise, and employees are highly replaceable resources.
Penalty: This did not bode well for me professionally, personally, and financially.
The penalties obviously outweigh the rewards. I would do things differently if I had to do it all over again – choose an employer that offers maternity leave. This could be me disrespecting my decisions and myself in the past, but it is what it is. I am considering passing this post to my future employers as my annual retrospective.
What regrets have you had in the past year, and were you penalized?
I look forward to hearing from you all in the comment section or DM me!