February 22, 2022
How to Find Balance as a Corporate Newcomer: An Interview with Darpan Bohara '18
Landing a new job is exciting, but when you’re new to the corporate scene, finding balance can be a challenge. Finding the right work/life balance and communicating your boundaries with managers is a struggle corporate newcomers know well.
Smithie Darpan Bohara '18 has worked as a technology consultant with Deloitte for the last 3 years. Below, she shares her experiences and advice in balancing professional goals with personal time to set the foundation for a successful career.
1. How was it starting in a full-time role in consulting after graduation?
When I graduated, I was ready for a new chapter in my life and I was eager to prove myself. I didn’t have any previous internship experience, as I was working with a non-profit in India during college breaks. Heading into the corporate world without corporate experience meant I had to learn the work culture fast. This meant determining my goals and boundaries, and learning how to communicate and enforce them.
2. What have been the largest challenges for you in terms of adjusting to a demanding work schedule?
One of the major things I learned early on in consulting is that I have to be proactive and help out my teams in a significant way. If I’m a good team player who produces impactful work, it’s easier to get support from my team when I need it. This also gives me flexibility to ensure I can set my boundaries with the team, because they know they can rely on me.
3. What is a typical day-in-the-life for a consultant?
In technology consulting, I help clients understand their technological gaps, determine solutions to fill those gaps, and finally prepare the built products for testing and deployment.
Client projects can range from developing a new organization within the company to automating older, manual systems, and everything in between. My day-to-day differs depending on the client’s needs and our project’s stage. Before the pandemic, we traveled to client sites Monday through Thursday, and performed gap analyses, workshops, deliverable readout, product launches, etc. Now that we’re remote, we do the same things, but have adapted to stay efficient.
4. What are your methods for winding down outside of work hours and focusing on yourself?
Being in the workforce has taught me the importance of work/life balance. Outside of work, I love taking road trips to go hiking, and have started creating travel content to share with my family and friends in Nepal and across the world. I also like to read, so my friends and I have started a small book club. Using my hands also helps me wind down, so I enjoy sewing, making earrings, and even tried my hand at making a table from scratch!
5. How do you communicate your boundaries with managers?
I find it easiest to communicate and enforce my boundaries by:
- • Setting clear work hours and blocking my calendar for fitness and hobbies.
- • Responding to emails only during work hours to ensure my team does not expect to hear from me after work. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of checking your phone and sending quick replies, but I refrain from doing this to give my mind a rest.
- • Taking all of my available PTO. This might seem like a no-brainer, but when I started, it was easy to push off vacations and breaks. I even wasted many days of PTO by not taking them on time. I have now started planning my PTO well ahead of time and communicating my plans to my project teams early.
- • Informing, not asking, my managers about my PTO. Managers are usually understanding, but be mindful of critical client times and schedule your plans around them.
- • Surrounding myself with others with similar work ethics. Because consulting is project-based, you move from team to team. For the most part, you get to choose who you work with, so I have formed a good network with people who have similar priorities in the workplace. This gives me the ability to perform well and maintain my work/life balance.
6. What advice would you give for recent graduates or other professionals new to the consulting space?
The world of consulting is full of amazing people, so I recommend surrounding yourself with people who support you. If someone is helping you at work and ensuring your wellbeing, keep in touch with that person. Also, take the opportunity to try projects you’re curious about and figure out what you enjoy as you plan your career.
Most importantly, figure out your boundaries and don’t be afraid to voice them. Keep the people who support you close, and don’t forget your goals. You got this!