I Quit My Job As A Tax Consultant And Chose To Write And Travel Instead

Posted on November 1, 2016 in My Story, Society

By Swati Saxena:

Just like me, you may not believe in god, luck or destiny. But let me share a new thing I have learnt. You may choose to consider it and call it belief. It’s called the principle of the ‘hiding hand’. Remember, how as a kid, you sat on a bicycle without even knowing if you’d be able to maintain balance? Let’s just say that an invisible hand provided the support. It did its magic and you were not just riding but also showing off those zigzag movements with hands in the air.

What went wrong while growing up? Why did you stop taking risks? Why did walking on a rope as an adult suddenly become not just about maintaining balance but a lot more? It was the fear of failure, damaging your reputation and underestimation of your capabilities. Finding faults somehow became easier than following your heart. No, I’m not blaming you. We are taught to be safe than sorry. But how would you know what lies behind a mountain unless you cross it?

Around the same time last year, I had taken a decision after giving it much thought. To quit my job as a tax consultant. It used to pay enough to afford a decent rented accommodation, clear hefty bills of over-priced eateries often. Moreover, I could invest a part of the earnings for a secure future and still save almost one-third of it.

But the long hours, repetitive nature of the work and gloomy Gurgaon days had totally fatigued me out. So, I took a long leap of faith and quit my job. The lure of owning a car and a house was never my thing. Parting ways with a five-year-old committed relationship to the desk went smoothly. But what next? I had no idea. The three tentative goals at this point were:

  1. A lot of time for myself. To read, explore, write, sip coffee and go for long walks.
  2. Focus on choosing experiences over money-making.
  3. Looking for alternative, interesting and meaningful ways to meet expenses.

Initially, the romanticism of travel took over. So, in the first six months of this newly carved way of life, I gave a chance to a lot of things. I signed up for a Himalayan trek, managed to successfully execute a couple of solo trips around Kerala, Maharashtra and Goa, interned with a small start-up working on rural tourism and even spent a couple of weeks in Bhutan. When not on the move, I was usually found in Delhi, cribbing about the city and dreaming of owning a book café in the mountains.

But, this wasn’t it. The intention to go back to the desk was non-existent. I was continuously looking for opportunities that involved relocating from Delhi, writing great content, frequent travel or something that would make a significant difference in the lives of others. Any possibility of a combination of these would create enough anxiety to lose sleep.

The things I had initially worried about never happened. For example, the fear of being mugged on the dark streets of Varkala got replaced by a newfound faith in the strangers on the road. The immediate urge to write for travel magazines and websites became a more controlled ambition. It was to be achieved gradually.

Similarly, some unexpected occurrences followed. A few writing assignments that came my way were neither enough for me to gain financial stability nor to feed my soul. The short term volunteer projects weren’t helping anyone. The bank balance had hit an all-time low, and even the apartment’s rent was being paid out of savings.

With time and effort, problems started getting solved. I found myself working with brands and people I believed in. I would work on my own terms and conditions. My options and means to overcome obstacles were visible now.

Shahrukh Khan, in the movie “Om Shanti Om”, said, “Hamari filmo ki tarah, hamari zindagi mein bhi, end tak sab kucch theek ho jaata hai.” (Just like our films, everything in our life become alright at the end.) Maybe it wasn’t such a Bollywood thing to say.

In July 2016, I joined the India Fellow Social Leadership programme. India Fellow already seems like a huge extension to my experimental phase of life. Let’s see where life takes me now.

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Image provided by author.

 

About the author: Swati Saxena is an India Fellow of the 2016 cohort currently working with a grassroots women empowerment organization called Chaitanya.

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