Embarking on a professional journey after a career break can seem daunting, especially for mothers. However, my experience at Maersk has defied conventional norms, shaping not just my career but also my personal growth in profound ways. Namrata Pilikunje, CI Manager for India, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka shares her personal experiences on returning back to work after taking a career break.

Seven years ago, I joined Maersk as a consultant through the B2W (Back to Work program), designed for women returning from career breaks. Little did I know that this opportunity would mark the beginning of a transformative journey, where motherhood and career seamlessly converged.

Initially, I stepped into Maersk as a consultant, tasked with filling in for a maternity leave position for six months. Coming from a non-shipping background, I immersed myself in understanding the intricacies of the supply chain. This involved everything from learning the basics through mock calls to directly interacting with customers to gauge their needs and preferences. My primary focus lay in enhancing customer experiences, especially during critical periods such as cyber-attacks.

Over the course of seven years, my role underwent significant evolution. From starting as a Customer Experience Manager to eventually becoming a Training Manager for the IBS area, the journey has been nothing short of exhilarating. Each role presented unique challenges and learning opportunities. However, one constant remained – the commitment to imbibe Maersk's core values within every individual and enhance their skill sets.

Surprises and motivations at Maersk

What surprised me the most during my tenure at Maersk was the mounting emphasis on Learning and Development. Seven years ago, interactions through phone and email were the primary channels, with quality being a subjective measure. However, with the advent of digitization-focused strategies, the landscape underwent a significant transformation. The focus on continuous learning not only elevated interactions but also equipped every CX agent with the tools necessary for success.

Moreover, Maersk's commitment to fostering a conducive work environment for working mothers has been commendable. Flexible work timings coupled with above-industry-standard pay post my career break provided the much-needed support. Additionally, cross-functional learning opportunities and guidance from supportive managers accelerated my transition into a full-time role.

Reflecting on my career break, Maersk's unwavering support played a pivotal role in maintaining career possibilities. Regular project reviews, peer support, and encouragement to exchange ideas fearlessly instilled confidence during a crucial time. Beyond professional growth, this support system nurtured personal passions, such as my love for solo travel. Through solo trips, I explored five countries in five years, with Maersk standing as a pillar of support throughout.

Navigating Challenges

One of the most challenging periods during my journey at Maersk was navigating through a cyber-attack. As a consultant, I had to play a pivotal role in boosting team morale and maintaining operational efficiency amidst chaos. Launching initiatives like "Q4Q" (Quest for Quality), we turned learning into a fun-filled endeavor. From mirror exercises to call calibration sessions, each initiative aimed at fostering a positive work environment while ensuring continuous improvement across our CX community.

In conclusion, my journey at Maersk exemplifies the power of resilience, support, and continuous learning. From navigating through career breaks to confronting challenges head-on, every experience has been instrumental in shaping both my professional trajectory and personal growth. As I look back at the past seven years, I'm filled with gratitude for the opportunities, support, and camaraderie that Maersk has provided. Here's to many more years of growth, learning, and success in the journey ahead.

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