Today Sept 17 2010, is my last day at my current job. I am sitting here, at my office desk and writing this post. WordPress, surprisingly is not blocked here! . I have been working as a technical consultant with a big Investment Bank in New York for over 2 years. Before this, I worked for one of India’s best known Software firms for 3 years.
6 years ago, I had graduated out of a small, non-descript engineering institute in the remote, north-eastern region of India. All I wanted was to join a good IT firm. No recruiters came to my remote college so I packed my things and went to the Indian IT city, Bangalore to look for a job. I got more than just a good IT firm, I got through one of India’s best known IT firms. It did not stop there, I got to work here in the US, switch jobs to become a consultant and work with teams I felt more aligned with. In some ways, it has been like a dream.
Yet recently, I initiated a big change in my life. I have decided to move towards a different kind of work. This is in keeping with my long held belief that work should be such that I enjoy doing it. It should be such that I look forward to Monday mornings. I’ll explain further.
How it all started
I had enjoyed web development/software programming when I started it. But for the past one year, I was finding it insufficient in fulfilling me. I have gone through a few months of intense contemplation, confusion and, I hate to admit it, fear. In the beginning of this year, I was asked to develop a new functionality in our project. I was excited about it. It was not like anything I had done before and required a lot of analytical thinking and creativity. I like analysing and creating. I poured my heart and my hours into it for the next 4 months. There were a lot of technical and other issues I faced. Finally I had the product ready. I was very happy for some time. My manager said I had saved the firm thousands of dollars in purchase of a similar software product. Once the euphoria had died down, I felt a deep void in my heart. It confused me. Why was I not happy? Why did I feel that what I had done did not make any difference. I had always wanted to do something like it. And now, after having done it, there was a hollow feeling.
I wanted an answer and took it up in my daily journal. It took some time and the realization came slowly. I found I wanted my work to cause an impact. An impact in such a way that it makes people more conscious, happier. General people, not just investment bankers. I want to help people live more conscious, happier lives. I especially want to help those who want to make a change in their life but have no idea what to do, those who are looking for some pointers.
There was a period of, maybe a month, when I was trying to tell myself that I can accomplish this through my current profession of software development. Maybe I can join a product development firm and create new softwares that will help people do things easily. But I realized it would not be exactly what I want to do and it would be a half hearted affair. I knew that I was acting out of fear. My work visa here does not allow me to work in any field other than software development. I did not want to loose the good life I am living right now, here in New York. I had to confront the fact that I will have to leave my current profession and go for something that aligned better with what I wanted to do. I would need to leave my current line of work, and New York.
Next was the question of what exactly to do. Having taken the decision of moving on, I already was feeling a lightness in my heart. There was a fear of the unknown, a lot of apprehension. But the sense of relief and that intuitive feeling that I was on the right path was bigger than anything else. Again, I spent some days thinking. This question of what to do confused me a lot. I liked the advice in one of the books I was reading then. The book is – ‘An Inside Job’ by Richard Rieger. The advice he gives is to just do what feels light and right, the inner counsellor will lead you to the right job.
Time for Action
Well, here I am! I am writing this personal development blog now. In the beginning, I decided to write an inspiring/motivating story and started that too. I decided to do these, and anything I might like, for some time to find out what appealed to me. I also read somewhere that its good to write what are your core requirements from the job. I came up with these:
- Whatever I work on, helps me and other people live a more conscious, happier and abundant life(primary requirement).
- I like creating something new. My work involves creating/building something.
- It involves expression in some form. I have enjoyed writing, dancing, martial arts, musical instruments and sports – maybe one of these.
- Self Employment. I want to work for myself and I don’t like selling my working hours to any firm or person. Time is sacrosanct, I can sell value but not time.
Incidentally, both novel writing(an inspiring story) and blogging would give me all of these in some measure. But I can not work on both. I believe, one should focus on one concrete task at a time and finish it. Five months ago, when I started the novel, I felt I will keep that as my primary goal. But then the novel has a few disadvantages to it :
- It does not help much in adding to my personal growth and raising my consciousness levels although, when it comes out, it will do that for other people.
- I figure it will take a long time to write it in a way I feel satisfied with it. When it does come out, it will inspire people once, when they read it and then it won’t do much.
Blogging seems more interesting as it will :
- Allow me to start giving out something of value right away.
- Allow continuous communication. I can keep providing something of value on a regular basis, as against providing in one lump.
- It can also be monetized quickly and earn me income.
Why I refused to do it gradually
In the beginning, I decided to continue my job and start novel writing. Once I had it ready, I would talk to publishers and if they liked it and wanted to publish it, I will quit my job. This would have been a safe way of making the change. I went with it for some time but finally refused it. Here is why.
I believe when you have decided to move to a different state in life, you should say No to your current state and everything that pulls you to it. If you continue to do it, you attract more of the same in your life. If you think it will take a long time to start something new, here is what I believe – Any task in life, even if it can be finished quickly, will expand and take as much time as you think it should take.
I believe in taking action in the present. Anything that has to be done, should better be done in the Now. If I don’t do it right away, it is just a wish, a drain on my mental faculties. You have to say Yes to your next state and to the things that will pull you to that. Keeping my current job would mean I keep selling my time to a firm. That I won’t be able to give my undivided attention to what I want to do. It means that I keep doing something that, I feel, doesn’t help me or anybody else live a more conscious life.
Thats where I stand today. I am still a little apprehensive but, more than that, I am excited about the future and what it holds. Life, here I come!
Here are some quotes I find inspiring these days :
Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life. — Dr. Wayne Dyer
Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night. — Marian Wright Edelman
The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy. — Malcolm Forbes