Stuck at the Starting Line

Stuck at the Starting


That dreadful word. The word we hear over, and over, and over again: from TED speakers, from condescending uncles, from recruiting companies, from motivational coaches, from successful leaders.

Many of us born in the 1990s and onwards will go through a mid-life crisis – in our twenties. Why? Because we haven’t yet found the purpose of our existence: we haven’t yet discovered our Passion. Our generation never really experienced the horrors of war or the terrors of societal revolution. We are witnessing, however, how teenagers are starting their own companies; how twenty-somethings are making millions; how thirtysomethings are giving TED talks about Passion and Life Purpose.

Amid all this intensity, I sometimes do the most comforting thing in life: I lie down on my bed and I wonder…

What is my Passion? Do I even have a Passion? Will I ever find my Passion? Or will I be just another nobody doing nothing and going nowhere – with the flow?

To make matters worse, I see that many people around me seem sorted. They have a plan. They know what they want to be. Someone wants to be an Investment Banker; someone wants to pursue research; someone wants to be a Consultant; someone wants to work in an NGO; someone else wants to start a business; some bold chap even wants to be a guitarist.

And here I lie at the starting line of my future, and I watch as my sorted friends run and race ahead in pursuit of their dreams. But I don’t run. I don’t even start. Then I realize the sad truth:

I am not really finding my Passion. I am waiting here hoping that Passion will find me.

One for the kitchen. One for the Soul.

One day I met an uncle who was very happy with his life. He had been working in the same old, repetitive government job for 30 years. I asked him, “Why are you so happy?”

He asked me, “Why do you always talk of careers when you think of happiness? My dream in life is to watch movies. I want to watch every movie there is. My job gives me money, a sense of security and lots of free time. In my free time, I pursue my passion: I watch movies. I love movies.”

That was the best thing I had ever heard! I had spent so much time trying to find the dream career. What if God (if she exists) never made an “ideal job” for me? I have a friend who loves making memes. I have another friend whose passion is to find hills and mountains, and scale them. I have yet another friend who loves reading romantic novels – how can one even make a decent career reading romantic novels?

The year 2015 was a special year in my life. It was the only year when I had a full-time job from January to December: as a software tester. I assure you, no one grows up aspiring to be a Software Tester in life. But that little job changed my life! It taught me so much – about software, about meeting targets, about working in teams, about being nice to people, about having fun at work. My job got me out of bed every morning; it helped me earn; it enabled me to be independent.

Most importantly, it made limited my (till then abundant) free-time and thus made me value every second of my free-time. I started reading books on my daily commute to office. I spent my Saturdays attending Toastmasters, and my Sundays writing articles or spending quality time with my family. I had a job. I earned money. I valued my free time. I became a better speaker. I became a better writer. I read more books. And started to appreciate every little second spent with my family.

So, the lesson I learned is this: If you have found your dream job, good for you. But if your Passion isn’t found in the job market, don’t wait at the starting line hoping it will come to you some day. Move on. Go forth. Enrol in a college. Find a job. Keep yourself open to new experiences. Learn and Earn, and spend your free time doing things that you love – be it traveling to new places, or rediscovering the old. The day might come when you become so good at one of your hobbies, that people start paying you to do it, or paying you to inspire others to do it. When that day arrives, you will start to depend less on your main job, and focus more on your dream job. That is what life is all about: that balance.

You there! You, who are still waiting at the starting line. Stop waiting for that one job. Pursue two.

One for the kitchen. One for the Soul.

Poetry by:
Nischal Shetty
PGDM Batch of 2018