Before I begin, I’d like to mention that this article isn’t a preachy ride telling you how you should live your life. It isn’t even one of those accounts that’ll tell you how following my heart changed my life. It’s just my take on an approach that has made me a happier person and could make you too.
I am an MBA graduate from a relatively renowned B-School from Mumbai, and a few months back, I left my well-paying job in an FMCG company to become a sports writer.
I decided to take the risk of choosing a career that I felt could make me happy. I didn’t really listen to the society (which also includes my parents) that judges the worth of a person based on his or her bank balance and took the leap of faith.
But this wasn’t who I was some time ago. For the many years that I was a student, I lived under the impression that a big fat pay cheque would give me immense happiness. This belief was ingrained within me by multiple people over the course of my life.
But just a few months in a sales role at an FMCG company were enough to tell me that a fat paycheck will not add to my happiness. But rather, it was what I did to receive that paycheck is what will make me genuinely happy. And that’s why I chose to be a full-time writer.
So what led me to this sudden realisation? Did I have an emotional jump-on-the-train moment like the one in MS Dhoni’s biopic? No, it was much more than that.
All of this could only happen when I became unapologetically honest with the most important person in my life – myself.
I spent many years lying to myself. Many years of living in denial. Denial about the fact that there are possibly some things in life that others can do better than me, and that I should let them do it. I constantly told myself that I could excel in a sales job (and just about anything in life) if I worked hard.
Perseverance is good. It pushes you towards your goals. In fact, we are all taught to persevere till well reach our destinations. But at times, perseverance can be disastrous, if it’s in the wrong direction. It can take you to a goal, which once you reach, makes you realise is not what you wanted. For me, a successful sales career became that goal.
But with writing, it was different. I had always enjoyed doing it. In fact, even when it was just a hobby, I was always keen on getting better at it. I also realised I could contribute to the world in a better manner by being a writer, and not through a sales job. This realisation came by being honest with myself about my strengths, motivations and weaknesses and pushed me to take the plunge.
But I am sure some of you might say that your motivation in life is to get rich and enjoy all the luxuries that come with getting rich. And all I can say to you is – please go ahead. I am no one to tell you that leaving a well paying job to become a scuba-diving instructor will provide you with a fulfilling life. We are all different and what motivates us is also different.
I would advise against rushing into a career that you might regret choosing ten years later. You could stand in front of the mirror and ask yourself if what you’re chasing will give you a meaningful and happy life. It would be better not to believe in what other people think happiness should mean to you.
And if you don’t know what you want to do, please take some time to find out. Try different things, and maybe you’ll stick to one for life.
If you can’t figure out a sustainable career option, give the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator test a shot. It worked for me, and it might work for you too. It has its shortcomings, but it’s a proven effective tool across the world for personality identification.
And don’t bother about how old you are when trying different things or taking that test.
But here’s the catch: being unapologetically true to yourself can be a really tough task. It often means not living up to the expectations of those around you. People might even leave you.
But here’s the good part – you finally start meeting people who believe in you and the choices you’ve made in life since they mad a similar choice of being honest with themselves too.
A downside to leaving my corporate job is the possibility of missing out on a lot of pleasures in life. I could have afforded a foreign vacation next year had If I were still working in the sales department.
But I’ve come to realise that pleasure hardly has anything to do with happiness. I’m a much happier person when I put in nine hours at work every single day, trying to bestow to the world my version of creativity. That vacation doesn’t even matter now.