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Do I have to become a superwoman?

“I don’t believe this”- Meera checked the promotion list again.  Her throat had gone dry; her hands were sweating. She saw Arun’s name. Her name was missing.  

Meera was the operations manager at the main branch of a leading private sector bank in the city. She worked very hard to improve the branch performance.

Arun, her batchmate, was in charge of marketing in the branch. He was smart, did not work too hard, but was always in the branch manager’s cabin sharing jokes. He was now all smiles, distributing chocolates to celebrate his promotion.

Meera could not control her tears. She ran to the washroom and sobbed.      

 “Meera, are you ok?” she heard her husband Krish’s anxious voice.

Meera woke up with a start. She was still sobbing. “It was a dream” she whispered.

 “Oh! Just a dream”, Krish was relieved. He patted her head softly and went back to sleep.

 Meera was shaken by the dream.  The promotion list would be out by the end of next month.

The next morning Meera walked into the branch manager Ram Prasad’s cabin. “Sir, you have always appreciated my work.  I am due for a promotion this year. Can you please confirm that my name is in the promotion list?”

She was shocked when he smiled and said “Meera, you are doing very well now, why do you want a promotion?  You would need to take too much pressure if you take up a higher role. You have got married last year. This is the time for you to enjoy life.”

“Sir, I have worked hard to improve the performance of the branch. I want to get promoted and take up higher roles. It is my dream to become a branch head like you.”

Ram Prasad was taken aback by the force in her voice. “Meera, promotions for this region are decided by the Regional Head and Zonal Head. It is not in my hands. Please, your customers are waiting.”

Meera got busy serving customers throughout the day and reached home exhausted at 8 pm.  Meera went into the kitchen to prepare dinner. Her mother-in-law followed her.

 “Meera, you are working too hard and coming home late.  It is time you both think of having a baby.”

Meera poured out her anxiety to Krish. “I am worried I won’t get promoted whereas your mother wants me to quit.”

 “Relax Meera, I think the work pressure is too much for you. Be happy at home.”

Meera was confused. Was she wrong in wanting a career growth?

 However, on Monday, when she saw Arun joking and laughing in the branch manager’s cabin, she felt angry. “This is not fair.”

Just then her team member Priya walked up to her desk. Priya was very organised and efficient in serving customers.

 “Meera, I am getting engaged next week”

“Congratulations Priya” Meera hugged her warmly.

Meera noticed that Priya’s eyes were red. 

“They have asked me to quit my job. My parents have also agreed.”

Meera held Priya’s hand warmly. “What do YOU want Priya?”

“I want to work Meera. I love this bank job”

“Then don’t quit Priya. Meet your fiancé and explain. I am sure he will agree.”

 “You are our inspiration Meera. We all hope you get promoted as our branch manager.” Priya’s eyes were sparkling.

Meera felt a current pass through her body. “What do I want?” she reflected.

“Krish, I love my job and I know I am good at it. I don’t want to quit. I will meet the Regional Head this week” Meera’s voice was confident.  

Krish sighed, “Ok, go well prepared. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

 Meera met the Regional Head two days later.

She presented her performance supported by data, charts and customer appreciation letters. She was enthusiastic about her vision for business growth in her branch.

The Regional Head was happy. “Good work Meera.  I am sure we can do something next year.” 

 “Thank you for your support Sir. I want the promotion and the role of branch manager this year. I promise to deliver business results. I want to work with a leader like you.”

 “What would you do if I you don’t get the promotion?”

“Sir, can you give me one reason why I might not get my promotion.? I have given the best performance this year. I think you are happy with my performance, capability and vision for the future. I will definitely prove myself to be worthy of the new role.”

“Ok Meera. I will take this up. However, you must know that it will involve more responsibilities and work pressure.”

“Thank you, Sir. I will manage.” Meera was excited.

At home the reactions were mixed.

 Krish said “I am happy for you Meera. I am expecting a promotion too, which would mean, I might have to travel for ten days in a month, so you must take care of the household.”

Her mother-in-law looked disturbed. “Meera, promise me that you will come back home by 6 pm.  I am getting old, I can’t do all the work. You have to take care of cooking breakfast and dinner. And I want to hold my grandson in the next one year.”   

What should Meera do now?   

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