I strongly believe in learning from other’s experiences and I take guidance from such stories to improve my personal and professional life. Here I wish to share what I’ve learnt through my experiences:
I was born and brought up in a family filled with chartered accountants. Hence, chartered accountancy felt to be the most appropriate career path to pick.
After clearing my first chartered accountancy examination, I started preparing for my IPCC (2nd level) examination. It didn’t take long to realise that a career in this field wasn’t something that I was excited about or motivated to pursue. But since I had already committed myself to this, I kept my happiness on the side and still gave it a shot.
I failed my first attempt of the IPCC. I was advised to give it another try and study harder this time. So, I did. But I failed my second attempt as well.
Of course, at this point, like many would, I started questioning my capabilities and was filled with feelings of incompetence. The question that kept taking laps in my head was, “What now?”. My mind was drawing a blank and I was clueless about what I wanted to achieve. All I knew for sure was that I was in the final year of my Bachelor of Commerce program and I had a year to answer this question.
I started experimenting to get a taste of other potential career options. I took up a short course in photography and website development. I enjoyed these courses and was curious to learn more in the creative field of arts and design. However, I was reluctant to pursue a career in this field because of societal consequences of discontinuing my family’s line of profession.
Eventually, it came to a point where I knew I had to do something about my situation. I sat down with my family to speak about this. The conclusion was that I should sign up for a 3-year Bachelor of Law program because it’s considered a respectable degree in the society.
So, I started my new journey by getting admitted into a reputed college. 3 years went by quick and I did well to achieve good grades. After graduating, I got the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience with successful lawyers. It was an exciting role but, of course, there was still something not quite right. And guess what, I realised that I wasn’t a right fit for this and decided to quit.
I was back to square one and felt like I had wasted 4 important years of my life.
My brother-in-law advised me to take up a short online course in marketing and finally, I found something that piqued my interest. I spent a lot of time thinking about this and even spoke with a career counsellor who told me that in this age, people find the "right" career after experimenting with at least 5 different ones. So, I decided to keep societal concerns on the side and jumped right into it. An internship with a reputed digital marketing agency and a job at another gave me worthwhile experience in this field. This had been the turning point in my professional life.
Today, I have my own little start up with a team and great brands to work with. It’s been a great journey and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
Here are 3 important things that may help you if you’re in a similar situation:
Don’t let others’ opinions impact your choices & decisions
You’ve got to make sure that you do what YOU think is right. Yes, you must take the advice from experts, mentors and role models, but don’t base your decisions purely on societal concerns. Find someone who will be unbiased in giving you constructive feedback on your opinions. Take a step back ask yourself, “Am I doing this because I truly want to do it? and will this action make me happy?”.
Take that leap of faith & start with testing your decision
“Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” — M. Scott Peck.
Rough patches in our professional life foster the most critical decisions. If you’re not satisfied or happy with a career decision, you should be quick to learn from it and work towards making better decisions. Take a breather and spend time on understanding yourself and your aspirations. Once you’ve done your research and you know what needs to be done, dive right into it, but apply precautionary measures and good planning.
Begin by testing your idea/decision on a small scale. For example, you can sign up for a short course in the field that you want to pursue OR start conversations with people experienced in that profession.
Once you’ve found your path, be persistent & don’t give up
Transitioning careers and trying to master something that you may not have done before, is not easy. Many will discourage you, but few will support you. Quitting may seem to be the easiest option but be patient and be willing to give it your all. The challenge is to wake up every morning and make sure you’re still chasing your dream. Set clear goals and document the steps and resources that will take you towards these objectives. Regularly assess your progress and motivate yourself to keep going.
"Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt