The SHEROES Contributor
Srishti Kush, a fresh entrant in world of work is working with SHEROES. An engineering graduate, she decided to take up a career in writing and journalism.
At The Crossroads – Making Choices
As a 21 year old, fresh out of college girl, I am all geared up to step out in the real world or the big bad world as they call it. But the first challenge I face is making a choice.
I’m sure all people my age are at crossroads, clueless of where the roads might lead us, apprehensive about treading on the wrong path and all this with dreamy eyes. I’m no different and that is exactly where I am standing right now, at the crossroads uncertain, hopeful, somewhat excited and extremely cautious about making a decision.
Having spent four years in an engineering college, I realized what I was doing was not really my thing. I was one of those who believed graduating as an engineer would fetch me good money and success, what I didn't realize while making the choice was I wasn't going to be happy doing it. It took me less than a year in college to figure out what I didn’t want to do, but what I wanted to do was still a huge mystery.
To overcome the monotony at college and do something productive I started an online magazine, EP!C Magazine. It was purely for fun with a simple motive to express through stories. We got a decent response, people kept pouring, and at 18 it was insanely overwhelming to have a team of 20 odd writers who shared the same views as me. We had no finances to buy a domain except this one time when we managed to get a good amount of money from an ad.
Last year I started working with SHEROES, I was still in college, and it was an entirely new and exhilarating experience to be a part it. Being in the content and community team I began to learn about the intricate details of the work, things I couldn’t have found about on my own.
I consider myself fortunate enough to be around women who inspired me and were my role models as I grew up, I look upto them for being successful in their careers in an era when work flex, flexibility, work-life balance were unheard of. These women which included my mother and aunt have had a huge influence on me; they taught me how to be independent empowered and evolve as a woman.
My mom was what I call a soccer mom; she went to work in the morning and made sure my sibling and I studied in the afternoon and later drove us to all our hobby classes in the evening. And with two super crazy kids she managed to take care of the house. Now that I have grown-up and am working, I realize how hard that might have been. Another person who influenced and still does influence me is my aunt; she joined the IT sector in early 90’s, when there were a handful of women in that sector. She has been doing extremely well in a male-dominated world since then.
And this is the reason I was bewildered when I came across a lot of girls in college who decided to choose a different path altogether, a more 'domestic' path, maybe their circumstances were different, I cannot really conclude. Somehow, this category seemed convinced not joining the workforce was an option but to me the idea seemed disturbing and alien. And obviously there is the second category that is struggling to fall in the right place, they are trying to carve a niche for themselves, navigate their way with all the hurdles and overcome the challenges.
In my engineering days, I took to writing; again it was a woman blogger who inspired me to publish a blog. Writing was fun, when I wrote, it just felt like I was doing the right thing, I was at peace but apparently a career out of it seemed unlikely. It wasn't a conventional career path, since most of the writers aren't well-paid; I was advised by older and wiser people to take it up as a secondary career. They were concerned for the right reasons. That's when I decided to embark on a journey to prove them wrong and the journey is yet to complete, I have no idea when will I reach a milestone or if I ever will but I won't back-off. I might be a little stubborn here but being so for a good cause is harmless, scorn if you may, I'm a 21-year old with hopes and dreams.
Thanks to movies like 3 idiots and people like Zuckerberg and Jobs, now a lot of our conversations revolve around following our dreams, doing what we love to do, making work fun and being passionate. But what percentage of people is actually able to successfully make their career out of something they love? Unfortunately, it is still a handful, and I believe that is because people, when they are at the crossroads are too scared to take the road that takes them towards fulfilling their dreams. They opt for the downtrodden conventional path, considering it to be a safe option, killing their own passion on the way.
Making a choice is hard, even more so when you are a young woman just at the threshold of your career, there is so much you can do, options galore. But what is the right thing? How can one be sure of not going wrong? These are the questions you won't find the answer to until you have ventured into something. Almost three years into what I am doing I still don't know if it is the right thing, I am doing it because I find solace in it, my job is not a job, it is a learning experience, an experience that is enriching and challenging. What is life without challenges? Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
You have crossed the first hurdle once you have chosen your path and are sure of what you want to do. Least of all that gives you a direction and something to focus on. Once you have done that, you will face questions from everyone around you, even more so when you are young. People take you for being rash, naïve and impulsive. I am still trying to convince my family, they will be more contended to see me as a software engineer in a huge IT firm drawing a salary of 5-6 lakhs per year. Finances are a major concern, finding purpose in life and doing what you are passionate about might not get you enough money. I am questioned and get advices at the same time, I'm sure that will happen until I proved myself and my choices right. Despite this, I get all the support I need to strive, the motivation and encouragement is still there.
Finding a mentor; a good mentor or a good coach can be of great help for your career especially at the beginning. Having a mentor teaches you how to go about things, their experience adds to your learning. Again working with SHEROES I'm fortunate enough to have mentors who coach me at every single step; they make sure I get to know all the nuances of the trade. But again not everyone has mentors, reason being, we don't generally pay much heed to mentorship. Conversing with experienced people has helped me find out ways and if not that made things a bit clearer in the head.
There is a lot to be discovered and done, and the road ahead is long. As long as I’m enthusiastic about something and I can afford to do things I love, I will continue travelling on the path I have chosen. The hardest choices in life aren't between what's right and what's wrong but between what's right and what's best. I have come to realize, the right choice is hardly ever the easy choice to make; we need to learn how to make our choices work for us.