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Thinking of a Career Change at 30? I Quit My Job, Too

Why I Quit My Job, Shelved My IIT Computer Science Degree, and Started Writing changing career at 30

Why I Quit My Job, Shelved My IIT Computer Science Degree, and Started Writing

A software engineer by education, I was once a coder and an investment banker, but now I write full-time.

In this essay I talk about my six-year-long journey of thinking of a career change, why and how I quit my job, and finally went through a career change at 30.

If you are looking for a career change in 30s, I would recommend you read this piece for I have given an honest account of my own journey from coding to writing.

Let’s read.

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Why You Shouldn’t Be Okay To Be Bored With Work

a woman photographer clicking a fish used as feature image for the article on why being bored with work isn't normal

Why We Believe Work Is Boring, Why Is It Wrong To Think So and How to Fix It

A lot of us get bored with work. But we think that it is okay to get bored at our jobs and we continue working. In this article I unfurl why we expect work to be boring, why it shouldn’t be, and how does this belief harms us.

 

Why Do We Think That Being Bored With Work Is Normal

 

We always say that work is supposed to be boring — because adults separate the idea of fun and work early on for us.

Since childhood, we are trained to think that work sucks. We are told that we should play all we want for we would have to work one day. We see elders going to their jobs, but they don’t seem to have fun — they say that work is something they have to do even if they get bored at work and don’t enjoy it.

No one ever mentions having a good time as part of a profession/job, and we start believing that work is a dull thing grown-ups do to earn money(the more the better) irrespective of how they feel about their profession.

Now no one can ever enjoy 100% of her work 365 days a year(I’m happy if you do) but the problem arises when we are mostly bored of work and do what we do to only get money.

We witness enough close people following the idea that work is boring.

My father opened his shop every day of the week except Tuesdays. He never complained about his business, but he never cared if he enjoyed his work or not. He was only concerned about making enough to raise his family. Our teachers, relatives, elder siblings all seemed to pursue a career to earn at their maximum potential.

Fun was never discussed in the context of work and even frowned upon. In his book Le Petite Prince, the French philosopher Antoine de Saint-Exupéry raises similar thought-provoking questions about adults keeping their matters of consequence disjoint from (and above) fun.

You want to work or all you want to do is have fun? Someone would say when we created a game out of a mathematics problem.

From our younger years to adulthood, we grow up concreting the idea that something we enjoy can’t become our career.

But this isn’t true. Let me tell you why.

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Are You Failing Because You Aren’t Having Fun? – Inspired By Ruskin Bond

fisherman fishing alone doing his work (1)

One of India’s most popular writer Ruskin Bond was born in 1934 in Dehradun, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Ruskin’s parents — both British — got divorced when he was four. After a few years of the divorce, his father put him in a boarding school in Shimla for he couldn’t keep the little boy with him.

Ruskin was only eleven when his father died of the plague in the second world war in Calcutta. After his father’s death, Ruskin continued studying in the same school in Shimla and lived intermittently in Dehradun with his grandmother and mother. When Ruskin was seventeen, he went to London to get a job there and work. His mother had insisted him to build a career there.

But neither did Ruskin like London nor did he enjoy his job. He wanted to become a writer since he was a little boy.

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Fight For Your Dreams – Hold On Even When Your Hands Bleed

after hiking for a long time and not giving up, at the top of a hill in Taman Negara Malaysia. The photos shows that If you fight for your dreams you can enjoy the views from the top.

Fight For Your Dreams

You would encounter sharp rocks jutting out of every mountain you wish to climb. Through my perseverant journey as a new writer, let me show why you have to go on even if your hands bleed. Never give up. Fight for your dreams. It is the only way to succeed. 

Thomas_Fearnley_-_Landskap_med_vandringsmann_-painting for article to fight for one's dreams and keep climbing
Thomas Fearnley, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Beginning: believing in your dreams

You start. You are exhilarated. You shriek at the top of your voice from the roof of your confidence. You laugh from your stomach. You give long motivational speeches to your friends about how they need to start living. You wake up singing a tune praising the morning sunshine. You look forward to Mondays because life has taken a route you could only dream about.

People say you are inspiring. They applaud you. Your friends like and share everything you post. They read everything you write. Some of them even help you correct the grammar. You are glad as getting set right by friends is better than being ridiculed by unfamiliar readers.

You don’t worry about the money, yet, as the savings save you. Your family is appalled by your decision. But they don’t say anything this time. The last time they did, their words dug a deep valley between you two.

Your Mac is your new Nietzsche. All your philosophy seems to pour out of it.

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How I Survived the Villarrica Volcano Hike

volcano+villarrica+pucon+chile

The alarm rang at 3:30 at night. I peeked out of my blanket into the dark dorm room and wondered why I had decided to hike the 2,800-meter high volcano. Just then Alison, my Canadian friend, who was sleeping on the lowest bunk bed opposite me, snoozed the alarm on her iPhone, mumbled something, opened her eyes for a second, and then pulled the blanket over her head again. She was the one who made me signup for the Villarrica Volcano hike, the active volcano that had erupted a year ago.

I shut the alarm and got out of bed. Alison followed me. Though November is a summer month in Chile, Pucon, a city in the lake region, wasn’t that warm, especially at that early hour of the day. After barely washing our faces with the cold water, we walked to the cherry tree in the hostel where ten other hikers were following the directions of the Volcan Villarrica tour guides. We wore a pair of waterproof trousers over our track pants and strapped our rucksack in which we carried the rest of the gear on our backs. Then the twelve of us walked to the minivan that was to drive us to Villarrica 30 kilometers out of town.

I don’t know if I felt secured or alarmed when Alejandro, one of our three tour guides, told us that after the eruption in 2015 the government had mandated that there should be a guide accompanying every four trekkers.

After driving for an hour, we reached the base of Villarrica. Even at that wee hour, the area was flooded with minivans and travelers who wanted to climb the volcano. Until then I didn’t know that climbing volcano Villarrica is the sole reason for some of the tourists to visit Pucon, the city which Lonely Planet refers to as the mecca for adventure sports. And why wouldn’t it be? You can do river rafting, kayaking, hiking, skiing, horseback riding, and so much more in the bustling lake town of Pucon. (as if there weren’t already enough things to do while backpacking South America.)

Recommended Read: My experiential travel guide to Chile

I craned my neck to look up to the summit. The twilight was dissolving away the darkness of the night. A rotund moon watched us from above. From its base, Rucapillán, or the house of the Pillán, (the Mapuche name of Volcano Villarrica) indeed looked like a superpower, an undefeatable giant.

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On What’s Important –  With The Little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Relearning The Most Important Principles of Life–  With The Little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a French writer, aviator, and a unique philosopher. He served as a pilot in the French army, flew for commercial airline companies and also in leisure. He wrote in the air.

On one of his flights from Paris to Saigon in 1935, Antoine’s plane crashed in Sahara. He was stranded in the desert with his navigator. They were far away from habitation and only had a few fruits and a day’s supply of liquids.

Dehydrated in the arid Sahara, Antoine began to see mirages and hallucinated vividly. On the fourth day in the desert, a Bedouin found them and saved their lives with a native dehydration treatment.

Inspired by his experiences in the Sahara, Antoine published a children’s fable for adults called Le Petit Prince or the Little Prince in 1943. This book is not only one of the most favorite children’s books, but also one of the most popular philosophy books. It is the third most printed book after Bible and Gone With the Wind.

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How to Achieve Your Goals – 12 Principles I’ve Followed Since I’m 15

a woman bent with a text of courage of heart and a heart

How to Achieve GoalsMy 12 Principles

I hail from a small North Indian town that doesn’t offer many educational opportunities beyond high school. When I was 15, my father took me to Kota city in Rajasthan. There I was to study for the entrance examination to the well-known engineering university the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

Settling me in a paying guest house, papa left for home. That was the first time I was so far from my parents.

For two years, I studied. On my first attempt at the entrance examination, I failed. I continued staying in Kota for one more year. The second time I ranked seventy-eight amongst half a million students.

My success didn’t come by chance. I understood the importance of goals even back then. I knew I had to achieve mine.

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Why I Became a Part-Time Chef Even Though I had a Full-Time Software Job

a potato dish baked in oven toaster grill

I wanted to see if the flavors I saw flying in my kitchen had wings. I wanted to see if my hands moved fast enough to massacre a red onion in under thirty seconds. I wanted to see if I could count on the buoyancy of the country eggs I poached. I wanted to see if I could scale the golden fish. If I could do justice to her death. I wanted to see if I could make the chicken fall off its bones. I wanted to see if the boiled spinach adorned a darker green. I wanted to see if anyone else could stuff more onions in paranthas than I could.

I wanted to see if any other spice could overpower asafoetida’s pungent-ness. I wanted to see if life could be lived without coriander. I wanted to understand the fuss about the snowy-white garlic. That always looked to me like the dome-like crown on the head of queen Victoria. I wanted to see if Tiramisu talked. Maybe it could breathe life into another being. As when I licked its spoonful, I was floating freely and kicking in my mother’s uterus again.

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Elon Musk – Twelve Things We Should Learn from the Hulk-Like Tycoon

mountaineer image climbing high to show how elon musk work ethic

The prime-time news and the first page headlines of reputed national newspapers and the gossiping internet forums and the geeky silicon valley blogs have bombarded us with Elon Musk. They scrutinized the guy first for his electronic money transfer system (Paypal), then for his electric cars (Tesla), then for his rockets and space stations (SpaceX), and then for solar energy (SolarCity).

But I felt I still knew nothing about the silicon valley tycoon who manufactures rockets and cars in one of the most expensive places on earth aka Silicon Valley. So to know more about the real-life Iron Man, I read his biography – Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future by Ashlee Vance.

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Why is the Process of Learning More Important Than the Result

a pen sketching showing process of learning

 

When we wake up, how many of us think of what we want to do today? Almost all of us.

How many of us think of improving at what we do or focus on personal growth and development? Not many.

The presentation should be ready at 2. The code should get deployed. The author’s biography should come under every article. Let’s put in a hack. Grammarly shows that this pronoun doesn’t make any sense in the sentence. I don’t understand why but let’s get rid of it. Spaghetti over boiled again. But at least we have dinner.

As Josh Waitzkin, the chess and Tai Chi Push hands world champion, said in his book The Art of Learning, “We focus so much on the outcome that the intrinsic details of the learning process are lost on us.”

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Friedrich Nietzsche’s Path to Becoming Who We Are

a colorful rainbow mountain

After an hour or two of the daily evening walk, I tell myself I should go home and read. But sometimes, I want to keep walking with my friend. I want to sleep at 4 am after Netflixing zombie movies back to back. I want to wake up late and then write and let the day design its schedule.

But during those zombie movies, I keep looking at the watch. The MacBook throws the low-battery warning, but I don’t plug in the charger as I want the computer to sleep its natural course. And then we can sleep too. But then we stay awake some more and talk about our lives.

As every hour passes by, I realize that my waking up time is getting shifted by one hour and that I had to sleep early and start the next day with a fresh run in the morning. But I continue the conversation as that was what I wanted to do at that moment.

And the next day, when I start writing at 11, I brood over the valuable time that I lost by getting up late.

Also Read: How to Make a Schedule – To Live and Work Better

Why can’t we do what we want to do when we want to do it?

Why do we think about the future  —  the most uncertain and unpredictable   and not about now? Why do we follow so many small daily habits?

What do we want out of life?

Why do we wait for Sundays for lunch with our family? 

Why do we make a house and live in it and go to the office and come back to do the same all over again?

 How do we choose between ambition and happiness?

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14 Things You Can Care Less About

CamargoLancret painting of dancers

In today’s noisy world, learning how not to care is indispensable.

But tell this to the neurons in our brain. They don’t rest even when we want to stop thinking. Sometimes, we cannot control our mind which runs around like a cat chasing its tail.

To pause our thoughts, we hang out with friends on Saturday evenings. We dance to rhythmic music or Netflix and drink — all to take our minds off things.

Imagine — if we could be in that thoughtless state most of the time. If we could block the redundant noise to focus on the important matter at hand. Or if we could just sit down quietly with a cup of tea on Sunday evening.

Practice being mindful (by doing meditation) helps. But we have to pull out some of our deep-rooted agonies otherwise even after a one-hour Vipassana we will be nourishing the same soul-sucking creepers that never bloom.

But what worries fill our minds?

Mostly we think about two kinds of things:

  1. The important ones
  2. And the ones that are not important

Unimportant things cloud our minds like the winter fog. Except that we rarely have a change of weather. Clear days with the sun shining bright outside our window are forever elusive.

Let us look at some of the fog that can be lifted to make way for sunlight.

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