I have been writing for quite a long time now. And, recently in January 2017, I made it public to my family and friends and my tiny but growing reader base that I am going take this activity forward as one of my career prospects, with the launch of my professional website showcasing my works.
Since then a number of people (especially a few from my college) asked me about how I was so confident that this is what I want to do in my life as a mainstream career as they were still trying to discover what career direction they should pursue.
For some reason, I could never figure out how did I get to this juncture after all. But then as usual while reading on Quora I was asked a question which got my thinking machine running- “When you can’t master a field because of lack of interest, will it be considered as your failure or a reminder for you to work more on it?”
And, it was while ruminating over what to write on that question and gathering together germane thoughts that I realized how I got to the decision that I am going to pursue writing as one of my mainstream career prospects.
And, this post is all about that journey from “what I was” to “what I am today” on my career chart. I hope the reader gains something beneficial and insightful in this post that can add some value to their lives.
So, let’s begin!
When I was in 8th Standard, my father bought me my own computer. It was a second hand one, but to me all that mattered is that it was mine! We didn’t have an internet connection back then. So, I got a bunch of PC Games like GTA Vice City, RoadRash and a handful of others sourcing from friends in the neighbourhood.
One of the games, “GTA Vice City” blew me off the hook. I had fallen in love with everything about the game. It was unbelievable that someone created a game which seemed so real and diverse. It was the first time that I had come across a game like this moving beyond the classic video games like Mario and Contra.
Yes, there were games with much better graphics back then like the one from the fabled “Need For Speed” franchise- Most Wanted, but those required installation of an additional graphic card to the computer which had the potential to rock the household budget which had already been strained by the newly bought computer.
So basically, GTA was the big thing for me. And, believe it or not, it played a very grand role in determining my first career direction. I would sit straight staring into the monitor for several hours. I would have both my hands juggling between the keyboard and the mouse with a sheet of paper with a number of cheat codes listed on it resting next to the computer monitor (One which I can remember being, “Leave me alone” which would get rid of the police).
And, it was this love for a computer game which laid in me the foundation of desire to be a computer engineer one day. I did not know what I would do if I ever got into the profession but I knew that I liked to play computer games and thought I would get to play more of those and even create some if I chose this career domain.
The desire was further fuelled when I was in 10th Grade. The newspapers had got into an all new rendezvous with the IIT and BITS Pilani chaps grabbing placement offers above the seven digit figures (In Crores)!
Name any news daily and every month that paper would make out a celebrity out of someone who was known to nobody before that day for in a nation of 125 Crore one boy from a great grad school kick-started his career with a big bang boom!
But, I was a fool and I let it all immerse into my head. Papa would often say, “When you would achieve something so grandiose, I would dance with all pomp and show and tell everyone in the society, family and friends with great pride.” And, therefore I had no more qualms in my head anymore.
I had got it all set up in my head. I was going to get into IIT Delhi, get placed in Google for 2 Crores. Within a year I would own a big house, and my parents would be happy and proud like never before. I would find a beautiful wife then, have a couple of kids who would all love me for the great life I would be providing for them.
I had envisaged a blissful future for me, and nothing could have gone wrong except everything. In the next few years, all of that was to change. Then, all of those changes would expose me to a lot of new things that would eventually shape an absolutely different and blithesome future in toto.
As of this writing, I am a student of IT engineering enrolled at IIITM Gwalior who has no interest in the domain of Information technology or Computer Science anymore. Kind of a sea-sized shift for someone who had been so imbued by computer engineering until just a few years ago.
Here is what happened in these years-
I couldn’t manage to get a seat in IIT Delhi, so I settled for an otherwise decent Institute christened IIITM Gwalior which is one of the four prestigious IIITs in India. I am underscoring on that because not many people know about the IIITs other than IIIT Allahabad. However, the other IIITs, including mine has not made a stellar progress and development like Allahabad either.
So, moving on from trying to spread the name of my college. Here, in my first year, I took up Programming in Python. I thought maybe this would get me into Google and I told myself that an IIT brand is not a compulsory insignia to get into the Bay Area behemoth. And, I was right, to belong to the IIT fraternity was not necessary for getting to work for Google.
But, that realization was not enough. I was still not able to focus well on programming for some strange reasons. Maybe, the motivation of getting into Google, a sound placement package and other fancies like a beautiful wife to wake up to for rest of the life were not enough to get me going, I thought. But, I was wrong. The problem was this-
All through my school life, I had been learning the things that had been prescribed by someone sitting in air-conditioned board rooms with several other intellectuals, who though had wise intentions but had no idea of an individual’s interests and special traits. Ergo, they crafted a one size fits all kind of a framework for every student to follow.
Alas, this size didn’t fit me and I turned out to be an oddity like countless others. So, I never got to understand what my specialities, qualities and abilities were, and thus had no way to parse which career domain would suit me the best.
So, I was never really trained to understand what domain as a career had the potential to bring out the best of me to the world. All I was ever taught was that the stream of science is where the intelligent students go, commerce was for the mediocre ones and the arts was for the people with no bright future prospects.
So, I blindly followed the preached path like hundreds of thousands of others, connecting the dots one after another as my teachers and in some ways even my parents and the peer group had programmed me to- “By following the herd and becoming part of a meaningless race.”
But, this epiphany didn’t hit me right in the first semester of College. No one told me about these things either. So, I spent an entire semester learning to write codes for generating Fibonacci numbers and several other programs in python language.
It took me another three semesters to ultimately realize what I wanted to do and how I should make a fresh start. During this course, I tried a number of things to convince myself that I was meant for computer engineering and I can get into Google this way. And with each trial, the battle between reality and my programmed head drew closer to a conclusive end.
I tried Web Development. I then gave up on that and began learning various algorithms to strengthen my skills as a competitive coder. And, I did a few other things and decided- This has to stop! It was only then that I learned that getting into Google was not really the dream I wanted to realize. It was no doubt a dream that could have made my parents really happy and could have shut the mouths of the society for sure.
But, hitherto that day I had never realized that it was only one of such dreams that could have made my parents proud and added to their joys. There could be many other dreams that could help me achieve that. And, many of those dreams would overlap with my interests and passions as well. So, I told myself- It is those dreams which I wish to realize not the “Google fantasy”. But, there was a problem. I did not know what those dream were.
All I knew was- These dreams were about my passions, activities I enjoyed and the traits which made me stand apart from the crowd all around me. So, I dedicated the entire next semester to focusing all of my strength, time, dedication and energy upon various of those traits to understand better which passion drives me crazy and happy at the same time.
So, crazy that I should never feel bored, vapid or tired despite hours doing the same job. I looked back down my memory lane and picked up activities that I had pursued in the past with such enthusiasm and came up with a number of things like sketching, writing, interests in subjects of psychology, philosophy, life, economics, International politics and diplomacy and also the innate desire to serve my nation and the society in some way.
So, I spent that entire semester trying each of those activities. The day I would realize that a particular activity is not what I see my future into, I would leave that domain for then and dedicate more time to the other interests. I let aside my academics to make more time and dedicated it all to those activities. I had to strike gold this time, as I had wasted enough years of life chasing a dream that was never really mine.
So, I explored all of those fields. When I could not choose between any two or more, I found the common ground where I could continue to master each of those. And, that’s how I got to writing. I had taken up writing as a habit in my 7th standard to impress my English teacher Mrs Monica Dhingra, who happens to be this 22-Year-old’s first crush. But, when she left the school, I lost the zeal.
Later, I took up the habit once again after I had lost my father and needed a medium to channel out my affliction and the emotions that were draining me. And, since then I had never stopped writing but had also never been prolific at it either. But, eventually with the realization that Google dream was a fallacy and I wanted something else, my passion for writing only incremented.
Also, I could never really give up my interests in the fields of psychology, life and economics and politics. So, I found a common ground where I could pursue all of those together without any hassle no matter what. I wished to learn more about life and psychology which governs it, so I began to read books on germane subjects and writing what I learned and experienced on Quora and my blog.
Similarly, I began to read editorials, blogs, answers on Quora and various books on subjects of economics, politics and history of the modern world. And, what I would learn, I would write about it. And, that’s how I found what I wished to do in my life in the real present. But, then another question arises. Is this it?
Never. I have learned in my life that there are going to be no full stops else my prospects and opportunities at hand will be barred after a certain extent and the enthralling activity that brings it all to me, the activity of exploration and self-discovery would stop. Ergo, I am going to keep exploring.
This does not mean that when I find something else I would give up on writing. Not at all. I am definitely never going to give up on writing or studying further on all of those subjects I mentioned above till of course, I take my last breath. What I meant was this-
I am going to keep discovering and learning about the ways I can find more common grounds to excel in the domains of each of those subjects and the new ones I find intriguing.
If the reader has already figured out what they wish to pursue in their life, I wish them all the greatness that they have envisioned for themselves. May you develop abundant resilience, compassion and wealth.
And, in case the reader is still trying to figure out which way they should head towards, I hope this post about my journey helps you discover your means to greatness in some manner.