Books, glasses and a cup of coffee

Corporate Ladder To Carte Blanche (Part III of III)

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In case you missed it, read PART II here

E arlier this year, in an attempt to make sense of our gazillion thoughts shooting through our brains, and our minds wandering in varied directions, my husband and I started recording our post-work conversations in and around the house. In a large chunk of these conversations – which we are working on building into an unfiltered blog post -- we discussed our respective existential questions, dreams and ambitions.

What kind of irresponsible couple gives up well-paying careers and comfortable lives in London in their 30s?

Post our South American adventures in May, until the end of August is a blur. Before I knew it, I was resigning from my job with no other job to go to and with the hope and optimism of a high-school student in the late 90s (I know not anymore, Greta).

Were we crazy? What kind of irresponsible couple gives up well-paying careers and comfortable lives in London in their 30s? “What’s the plan?” was the mantra du jour from friends and family when we broke the news. Well… the plan is to change our lives somewhat dramatically from before. Raghunath and I have always wanted to work together ever since we tinkered with our own music channel as a hobby. After many late night conversations, quarrels and laughs, the clearest takeaway was that we were squarely on the same page about creating something meaningful, that would bring purpose to our lives and most importantly, help create communities and a sense of belonging which we strongly felt a lack of in our current London lives. Most importantly, meaningful meant the same to both of us.

The biggest obstacle around following our version of meaningful was: could we do all of this whilst spending a majority of our time more connected to nature and outside of a big city? There was only one way to find out, and we’re going to try and give it our best shot.

What I wasn’t able to articulate for almost a year, I serendipitously stumbled upon and connected with in David Brooks’ The Second Mountain where he paints a picture of joyous people often having a life comprising of two mountains – climbing the first mountain is usually focused on one’s career, resume and accolade building. However, often these people find themselves unsatisfied by the first mountain and begin a quest on the second mountain, to find meaning outside of themselves. I knew the first mountain wasn’t working for me anymore. The second mountain looks blurry, distant, towering and arduous, but I know I have to start somewhere and so I start with this – Raghunath and I, an outline of a plan, and a goal of starting a family business that is purpose-driven. All that, and a heck of a lot of openness.

There are days we wake up and don’t know where we’re going, but I feel comforted by the fact that the uncertainty means that anything is possible. Additionally, the uncertain road is actually a road well-travelled for anyone transitioning careers. For those of you that feel like you don’t want to do what you’re doing but have no idea where you are going, my words of encouragement are – it’s natural to feel that way. I have no idea if we will succeed in all the ways we want to, but I know that we have the drive and passion to give ourselves the best shot.

I also highly recommend the book Herminia Ibarra’s Working Identity where she analyses real world examples of what career transitions look like (not just the Instagram worthy versions we tend to focus on). She suggests each of us have “myriad selves” and that for most of us “the reinventing process is rarely quick or easy. Emotionally, it is hard to let go of a career in which we have invested much time, training and hard work. Letting go is even harder when the alternatives remain fuzzy. And yet there’s no avoiding this agonizing period between old and new careers.”

It’s the 26th of August, 2019 and we’re boarding a plane for India today with no plans beyond our first pitstop in Mysore (for a 1 month yoga course; read more here). We’ve embraced the uncertainty and agony with optimism and a healthy dose of nerves as we set out on our quest to climb our second mountain. Stay tuned to see how we do, through our ups and downs. We’d love to hear stories of other people out there who have set out on similar paths, the challenges you’ve faced and more importantly, the joys you have found along the way. Sharing in your joy is what we’d love to hear about – so write in here to be featured on our blog and tell us more.


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