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Offbeat Careers - Jumping Off The Bandwagon

A student then, a parent now - I wonder sometimes, has anything changed? Unfortunately, apart from my greying hair, nothing much. Back in the beautiful 90s, I had housed a desire to pursue a career in Hotel Management. When I shared this with my father, he was aghast with visible fear. I was told that it was an unacceptable choice and led to a few of his ‘elite’ friends cajoling and counselling me into considering CA or teaching, two disciplines which were labelled as respectful career choices at the time. Now, if you’re under the impression that this is a talk of the past, you’re in for a surprise!

Recently, while helping a few of my friends explore career choices for their kids, I came across quite a similar reaction, which rolled back the years for me instantly. A friend was exploring the food and beverage world as a career for his son and I conducted my research with utmost enthusiasm. I was harshly yanked back to reality the next day with words that echoed in my mind constantly - “Let him do engineering, it is a safe career choice”.

Which brings me to my question - How do we define ‘SAFE’ exactly? And to my surprise, in my quest to find the answer, I happened upon a Google suggestion for ’SAFE’ career choices. The first 4 choices were Software Developer, Nurse, Accountant and Veterinarian.

Diving into relatively unexplored professions is easier said than done. The fear of trying out new things, taking a risk, and enforcing growth holds most people back from venturing into new directions. So here are a few real life risk-takers who relentlessly pursued their passions and made a living out of them. Perhaps this will inspire some of you to do the same!

Jatin Kampani, a lawyer by education and a self-taught shutterbug, started capturing moments and images ever since he was only eleven years old. He had his big break when one of his shots was featured on the cover of Femina. After that, there was no looking back.

Then there’s Vivian Wilson Fernandes, colloquially called ‘Divine’ who inspired the movie “Gully Boy”. After listening to Eminem and fifty cents in school because of a friend’s recommendation, Vivian became motivated and began creating rap songs. He started his profession as an independent singer and used his Nokia N8 smartphone to record his debut song, Coming for You. He rose to success with the release of his single ‘Yeh Mera Gully’. Today, he is the first Indian hip-hop star to attend the Grammys.

Lastly, there’s what is probably the most well known story of MS Dhoni, who went from being a ticket collector at kharagpur station to being the face of cricket. He is the physical embodiment of hardwork and perseverance. He wouldn’t have gotten where he is today if he had been too afraid to leave his job and enter the cricket try-outs.

As we all continue to be inspired by such stories, the only commonality in their success is that they followed their heart. They didn't do it for fame or money or career. Their choice was purely out of passion and hardwork lead to success.

It is equally important to know that not all of us will become superstars the moment we try out an “off-beat” career. Pursuing off-beat careers for the sake of being different is not the right way to go about it. What’s important is to stay true to yourself. But your line of interest just so happens to be something less explored, you must try not to limit or second guess yourself.

Let’s define our career path on a new string filled with strength, ambition and a sense of joy. Let us break the pattern and make our own.

“Sometimes we can only find our true direction when we let the winds of change carry us.”

Written by - Shobha Naresh

Edited by - Shruthi V Rao

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