C.h.a.n.g.e!

If we knew each other a few years ago (let’s say 2015) and happened to have a  discussion on how to integrate passion with career, I’d probably have had just opinions and not a clear-cut answer. I was then, an Accountant, working for a large hospitality management group in Dubai, UAE. But wait, it all started when I was 16 (grade XI or pre-university, as some may say).

That’s where you’re handed out two different streams – Commerce or Science – which ultimately go on to determine the remainder of your career path. Well, for the reason that I absolutely could not stand Chemistry or Physics, I chose Commerce. And yes, Accounting seemed way too interesting (back then!). And I think I did pretty well to hold up my claim. The results were, as expected, overwhelming. Subsequently, I went on to do two courses in Business Management since that’s what the world thought I’d excel at. Ask me whether I knew? Nope. I was going with the flow.

After a 5 year stint in Bangalore, I definitely needed a change of scene. The job hunt ultimately led me to the Middle East, the second home of every Malayali. It wasn’t as easy as I’d expected, being a fresher with a couple of Business Management degrees. Firstly, I actually did not know what jobs I could apply for. The ads I’d seen varied from Storekeeper to Accountant to Supply Chain Executive. As I’d taken Finance for my ‘specialization’, I ended up being an Assistant Accountant. Why did I take it up? Because I couldn’t fathom anything better for me at that point in time (plus my visit visa was about to expire).

Yet, I’d say everything was going reasonably well in the conventional sense of it. It hadn’t taken me too long (just a couple of months) before I found a job in the UAE that I thought was worth signing up for, unlike several others who had to return home without any. Now let’s fast forward again to 2015 (i.e. two years into my first job) and pick up where I left off.

The job was decently paying – I was able to save enough every month. Accounting wasn’t that difficult a job contrary to how it has been perceived (P.S – Having a strong set of seniors always helps!). Unlike surgeons, we could undo an Accounting botch (of even millions) by simply passing a reversal entry during the statutory audits. It seemed exciting enough for a year (or two). Eventually, the challenges began to wane, the work became extremely mechanical, and the payoff was negligible. I was sleepwalking my way through daily, weekly, and monthly submissions. There was nothing fulfilling about it anymore!

Almost into my third year of work, I came across a lot of people posting their tiny write-ups on social media. An Instagram friend recommended me to start a blog (on food, primarily because I posted a lot of food pictures – come on, Dubai is a foodie haven!). Little did she know that I was doing it mostly for the free invites (and to get to meet new, interesting people). However, I did start a blog on WordPress (yes, this is THAT one, LOL!) and began publishing film & restaurant reviews on it. The response turned out to be better than I thought, with numerous peeps telling me that I had a flair for conveying the message deftly. I started posting a lot more regularly, introduced myself to Zomato (where you level up with the number of restaurant reviews/pictures that you post), and IMDB (where you could [previously] bash people up over their opinions on films through message boards/forums [such fun it used to be!]).  Social media (especially Instagram) aided me in connecting with numerous bloggers (some who even blogged for a living) and be a part of several events that helped widen my horizons.

I also (purposefully) tried not to restrict myself to being just a ‘food-blogger’ because there were way too many out there already. Although there were a lot of food posts (yes!), I made it a point to appreciate less of myself and more of the world around me. Just a year in, I had published close to 50 posts on WordPress, over 200 reviews on Zomato, and about 100 on IMDB. I was getting to the 3.5-year mark at work too, in the meantime. I needed a break, big time. It was now or never!

I returned to India a jobless man but determined to find my true calling. I spent the next 6 months trying to cook up a freelance writing portfolio, reduce social media (to an extent!), and travel around for a bit. A few failed interviews later, I ended up pretty disappointed (but not depressed – thanks to the folks at home and the few friends that stood by me!). At interviews, I was always asked why I wanted to shift profiles (from Finance to Content/Marketing) after such a long tenure. Well, I’d say it wasn’t that long. The decision was mine, and I chose to stand by it. Even if it meant starting from scratch and working my way up the ladder. People tried putting me down, but I decided to get my ass back up and keep doing my thang. Last November, I got the call to pursue a career in writing.

It does feel different to get paid to write full-time and there are occasions where I am forced to make compromises in my style to suit the (business) needs of the entity that I work for. Nevertheless, I’m happy I opted to pursue something I love. This is just the beginning. Things are only gonna get better from here! So, for all those who don’t have clue what you’re doing with your lives, seek out that one passion which you feel, will let you leave a solid mark in this world, and direct a good part of your efforts to keeping that fire alive!

Maybe it is just something that starts off as a hobby. But trust me, any creatively-rewarding career gives you better sleep at night than that boring, dead-end job. If anyone hasn’t told you this yet, I’ll be the first!

Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and you can’t give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short. You’ll be an old man before you know it.” – Al Lopez

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68 Comments

  1. This is the perfect blend. Just the right amount of words. Very courageous though, your act. Inspiring too! Impressive and exactly what everyone needs to hear and understand to let go! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very inspiring, Arun. It occurs to most of us that we are wasting our life by not doing what we love.. but reading your story is an absolute investment of time, the courage to move forward, no contingency plans. Most importantly this article is a result of the achievement you are genuinely proud of 🙂 kudos to that!! Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Way to go! Well written. However we are on different ends of the spectrum. I quit my job as a content writer because the constant need to stay creative burnt me out and made me feel like not typing a single blog anymore. I took a long hiatus before figuring out what I really wanted to do. I am still in the process actually.
    Thank you for showing me how different the same job could be for someone else.
    Good luck with your career in the creative field. Cheers mate!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful write up!!
    “Do what you love to do and give it your very best.” While conventional norms structure our daily lives, we often forget to believe in ourselves and what we are capable of accomplishing. This piece is very motivating and the message well conveyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is truly a inspirational hyping write up and for those like me, still thinking if I should risk my job for passion it surely seems more convincing. Good one! Keep writing more.

    Happy reader

    Liked by 1 person

  6. journey beautifully written! The flow should be aligned to withhold the interest of the readers. That will be considered I believe!
    Good luck

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It was a great writeup!! Though I am still a student but can easily relate to this.Thanks for the motivational message that you have given to all of us. I would love to read more of your articles 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loved it! I did experience something like this. Nice to read about a similar experience. Beautifully written! 👍I guess we all went through that hard decision between science and commerce, huh. 😂 I strongly feel the education system in India needs to change. We are asked to make career altering decisions when we barely know where our interests lie. All that confusion that goes into choosing and we always take what the world thinks is right. 😪

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi there! I just wanted to say I had a lot of fun reading this particular blog post. And I honestly needed the inspiration that I’ll be taking with me from it. All the best for your future posts!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This one is a motivating one. We must follow our heart and do what we love. Rightly said.. well done 👍

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Rather than waiting for the ‘right’ time, you just made your time right. It must have been a whole big U.turn to move to a totally new field, but it will be well worth the risk. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There is a lot of burning desire for individual to venture into newer forms of career options or rather let’s just say their inclination towards a specific area that brings the best in them,yet not perceived as a money minting job space by the society. You were honest with your experience, and yes there are ups and downs and your piece of thought did and will connect to a lot of individuals who are yet to begin their flight or are half-way through a path that isn’t theirs to follow. Keep up the work, your work might help them understand themselves a little better than they actually do.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love this write up !

    In a lot of ways I feel anyone in my generation could easily relate and connect to it ,especially me !!

    Liked by 1 person

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