Gathering courage to switch tracks in mid-life

Gathering courage to switch tracks in mid-life

Gathering courage to switch tracks in mid-life

His tryst with the corporate world began in the 1970s when he joined a leading manufacturing and consulting company with his engineering degree.

"There was an advertisement in the newspaper. I applied for it and was called for an interview," Jinsi recalls. Over the years, fortunes swung with the fluctuating economy. The dissonance began to show more acutely and Jinsi was not satisfied with the work environment he was getting into.

"I was getting uncomfortable with this competitiveness. So, with that understanding, I also realised there is a certain personality and character of mine that needed to be addressed," he said. It was around then the offer from SoS Village came.

For former hardware chip designer Anand Dharmaraj, "life is an adventure".  After spending 17 years designing hardware chips, he quit at the age of 40 and started a guided motorcycle tour across the country. His company indiMotard allows people to enjoy the sights and sounds of India on motorbikes. Dharmaraj does not regret his decision.

"I found that very little original work happened in India in technology product development. Basically, I was a glorified outsourced worker," he said. A native of Kerala, Dharmaraj now works out of home and finds the new environment reflecting his style completely.

Finding our passion, while it may seem difficult, is not impossible.  "We need to pay close attention to ourselves, our minds and the things that catch our attention constantly. But the most difficult thing about passion is to be able to put it in an organised manner that will fit neatly in our lives," says writer, teacher and management honcho K. Rajeshwari in her book, "My Life; My Choice: Mid Life Career Choices".

The book, published by Macmillan was released in the capital Wednesday at the India International Centre. Rajeshwari chronicles the lives 10 dare-devils who gave up lucrative professions to listen to their heart. "It requires enormous courage and self-belief to walk away from all of these and say I want to do something else," the writer, a graduate of IIM-Ahmedabad, said.

Says former diplomat-writer and member of parliament Shashi Tharoor, who switched vocations several times in life as a UN official, writer, consultant, minister and a member of the Lok Sabha: "It is important for us to be aware the kind of choices people make in their career can change dramatically in mid-point of their lives."

Releasing the book, Tharoor said a child very much finds himself streamed in a particular direction. According to him, only a very small handful can, at a particular stage of life, reinvent themselves.

"I came first in science (in school) and I studied humanities. My parents said do economics. I did history," Tharoor said of his own choices in life.

"After my unsuccessful bid to take over as the secretary general of United Nations - even though Ban Ki-moon wanted me to stay on - I decided to leave. It took me time to decide to take the plunge into politics. Too many remain trapped in what they are doing. Changing careers is not a bad thing," the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.

"It is actually about finding where your heart belongs," says C.D. Gopinath, founder of the country's low cost airline Air Deccan. Writing about his life in the book, Gopinath said he left the Indian army in the 1970s after spending seven fruitful years.

"The seventies in India was an era when jobs were scarce, the government followed protectionist policies and the pace of growth very slow. When I quit, I did not even have a plan on what I would do for a living. But among the many other career choices I made, I started India's largest low cost airline," Gopinath said.

Career transition is stressful, says motivator and co-founder of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) Richard Bandler.  In the book, "Conservations with Richard Bandler", the NLP guru advises those in throes of transition to "identify supporters to enlist their help and adjust one's standards to reduce perfectionism". A mid-career change may not always bring the best in us."

"But middle age is the time when we reset the agenda for the rest of our lives," writer Rajeshwari says.

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