FEATURED WRITER: Shreya Shetty writes on ‘A Leap of Faith that Created a Safer Work Place’

This is a work of creative non-fiction based on a real-life experience. The writer has changed the names and identifying details of the people involved to protect their privacy. The incidents written about have been reproduced with full permission of the survivor.
Shreya Shetty writes about the harrowing experience of a woman who dared to make a career change, only to be harassed by a predatory senior colleague.

Tossing up and down restlessly, fuming with anger Anna knew she had to end it once and for all! It was well past midnight and she was wide-awake. With a silent prayer, she pulled her thoughts together, and shot out an email. It was finally done!

Exactly a year ago, she had been desperately looking for a job change. She was not too happy with the way her career was progressing. She knew she was capable of doing much better and scaling greater heights, if she bagged the right job.

This quote by Steve Coogan resonated with her professional life.
“If you chase something desperately, it eludes you.”

Despite trying as hard as she could, she somehow kept missing out on a potential dream job. Luck was definitely not on her side, but she was determined to go all out and keep trying. After two discouraging months, she finally made it to the last round of a promising opportunity. The last round of the interview extended to a series of rounds in the form of video calls with the Divisional Head.

Anna liked the job description. She was assured an enticing pay hike and the company seemed great to add on her CV. So everything seemed to be going great guns! Except that she had to shift base to an absolutely unknown city! Anna had to start her life from scratch, distant from everything familiar and precious. Luckily her fiancée and family were more than supportive and helped her gear up for the next chapter of her life in a new city. The city of Cochin (Kochi).

Adapting to the drastically different environment was easier than she had imagined. She had transitioned into the new job force effortlessly and had connected with her peers well. Though there were those fleeting days when she felt the blues and was homesick, on most days she had way too much on her plate to even pause and think about her move in retrospect.

She had breezed through her first month and was in a happy place. However, she was yet to meet her Divisional Head who was travelling until then. And she was looking forward to meeting him in person.

Being a relatively shy and reserved person, Anna didn’t socialize much. All she wanted to do was focus on her career and work passionately towards it. The first interaction with him had left her feeling tad uncomfortable. Though they were meeting for the first time, he was overly sweet and pushy.

Much to her displeasure, in the weeks that followed, he began calling her after work hours and sharing personal problems with her, expecting her to do the same. He inundated her with requests to accompany him for dinners, casual outings and bought her gifts that were never accepted by her. It was getting increasingly awkward to politely turn him down each time.

He had discreetly positioned her workstation such that he could directly look at her all the time, making her cringe. He insisted that she shift to a flat accommodation paid by him instead of her women’s hostel setup. He expected her to call him for ‘cheap’ conversations and would throw tantrums because she didn’t give in. In spite of being clearly turned down an umpteen number of times, he persistently made requests for sexual favors and even followed up to check about her decision on his proposal for the same.

As much as she valued her job, it was becoming unbearably difficult to deal with him on a daily basis. He gave an impression that she owed him a favor for bagging the job opportunity that was awfully disturbing not to mention just plain wrong. And what felt worse was the feeling that she could not share this with anyone.

It was much later that Anna found out about the other women who had abruptly quit their jobs. Now, she could very well imagine the reason behind it. Anna was feeling depressed and unable to work in that predicament. Giving it all up and fleeing from there could have been easier but to her that was the coward’s way out. And this menace had to be dealt with and stopped! She didn’t want anyone else to endure what she had been through. And that led her to take a leap of faith! 

Anna knew very well how sensitive the issue was and she undoubtedly needed strong evidence to back her statement. You really need to be bold, strong willed and fierce to stand up against an influential bully. Someone who had been pompously misusing his power of authority and harassing her, had to be shown the door.

As she tried closing her eyes for the nth time, her phone buzzed. It was one of the company directors based in Singapore who also happened to be the CEO’s daughter. Her prompt response assured Anna of immediate action. The next morning, Anna confidently presented her case in front of a jury. She was interrogated for four days in a row, while working in isolation from the others. The evidences in the form of voice recordings had sealed the case in her favor. The man in question was completely stumped. Never in his wildest dreams had he anticipated the turn of events. Irrespective of his denial, the truth was evident. Strict actions were taken against him and he was fired.

Despite the daunting threat to her career and the possibility of tarnishing her image, Anna had chosen to fight it out! She took a leap of faith and turned out to be a big inspiration for her colleagues. Employees who had previously been victims, reached out to her and expressed their appreciation. The company already had training for its women employees on ‘How to file a sexual harassment complaint and tips on self-defense’. After this incident, the company made it mandatory for the male counterparts, including the senior officials to attend sessions on ‘How to interact and respect female employees’.

Anna’s decision transformed the system and paved the way for a better and safer work environment for her colleagues! She is a true hero for them and continues to inspire everyone with her passion and vigor.


About the Writer:

Shreya Shetty is a former fashion stylist and senior fashion merchandiser who worked in online fashion portals. She is a mother to a very enthusiastic three years old and apart from doing a lot of DIY art and simple activities, mindful eating, resorting to no screen time, reading and exploring the world together with her munchkin, she blogs on parenting, travel and fashion @theblogofbabymishka on Instagram.

Shreya also worked on her writing by participating in a 'Creative Non-Fiction workshop' with Shweta, the Editor of Inkspire.
This piece is the culmination of the six weeks of hard work she put in. She had this to say about the workshop experience -

The workshop has definitely helped me understand the fundamentals of each genre and how to approach and go about them. For someone who randomly started writing, it has given me more clarity and direction. Also, your valuable feedback has thrown light on things I need to work on and improve. Thank you for your support!" 


  1. Inspiring piece of writing! May every woman be as brave as Anna!

  2. Well done Shreya ...
    congrats beautifully written

  3. "A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit." Richard Bach.

    This is a simple and perhaps obvious quote, but it’s also incredibly heartening. All of your favourite writers were once amateurs just like you. The only thing separating you from them is a few years of experience and a whole lot of persistence.Go for it Shreya. You are really good 👏👏👏👏👏

  4. Awesome article Shreya...you showcased to agony of Anna so well..More power to you

  5. Several things come to my mind as I read this short story:
    1. Strong protagonist displaying her moments of weakness/helplessness that elaborates the complexity of human behavior
    2. Passionate writing that delivers the message without overly elaborating some uncomfortable moments and yet the reader goes back feeling discomfort and empathy for the central character
    3. This is a story that not only describes the underlying problems but also solutions the issue. Such stories resonate well with people especially women who are still fighting to make a mark for themselves.
    For someone who is an amateur writer, this is a great effort and looking forward to more.

  6. Very nice article .. super proud of u Shreya ..

  7. Brilliant write up.... Great start

  8. Precisely put up words on a strong issue! beautifully written shreya ...truly inspiring!!

  9. Hey shreya well penned article which truly brings out the problems faced by the women workforce. Am sure will inspire a lot of women not to take things for granted and fight out the system.Keep it up. God bless

  10. Simple is powerful. Appreciate the clarity in your writing. This should encourage more women to step forward, and taking decisive and timely action.

  11. A very inspiring tale. Truly gripping from start to finish. Well written! Looking forward to reading more from you.

  12. Story of Anna is truly inspiring. Hope that many more woman come out and counter such work place issues bravely. All the best on all ur upcoming endeavors.

  13. The emotions and situations are so well expressed.
    Excellent work shreya.

  14. You were able to express Anna's emotions so clearly .. very well written Shreya!

  15. Beautifully written good work Shreya

  16. Very well written shreya. I love how I can picture Anna in my head as I read about her. Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  17. Story is very inspiring and a good lesson to be learnt. Very well written Shreya. Excellent and very proud of you

  18. An inspirational story written beautifully......keep going, Shreya. I'm waiting to read your next piece of writing.

  19. Very inspirational and a good lesson to be learnt!

  20. What an amazing story Shreya. Loved reading it. You kept your writing style, crisp, with never a dull moment. The story just flowed and made an amazing impact. With non fiction, you mostly can guess the end part most of the times, but I still wanted to read it all because I needed to know how she did it.

    Very well written.

  21. Nice one, Shreya! Keep up the good work!

  22. Great write up Shreya! I like that the write up is crisp and clear and also keeps one engaged till the very end. Keep it up .

  23. Beautifully captured the moments of Anna, indeed very well written and tends to keep one engaged till the very end and yet seeking to read more from you.
    "Pen is Mightier than a Sword" - So very true :)


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