The Journey of Discovery
I don’t have an answer for you but I can share my experience so far (not that I am an old guy, I am pretty much near my quarter life but I am starting to get my answers), it might help you in some way. I had no clue on what I wanted to do or what I liked. I had no career goals or even a direction when I graduated and for quite a few years later on. Around the time of my graduation, I picked up interest in Computers, especially in Linux. I started diving deep into it and got really involved with Linux community in Mumbai. After my graduation, I joined classes to prepare for CAT, at insistence of my parents. I wasn’t too keen on MBA, I rather wanted to do MCA. But, scoring what most would consider a good percentile in CAT boosted my confidence and interest. But, the score wasn’t good enough to take me where I wanted to and I refused to settle for anything lesser. A few months down the line when I was going for MCA after scoring really well in MH-CET, but I got a job offer to work on Linux and adoption of Open Source Software at the same college I was about to take admission in, i.e. VJTI. That stint lasted for a year and was my first experience with work. It was a failure but I learnt a lot and made friends. I attended my first BCM during this period. And entrepreneurship caught my fancy. I scored even better in CAT during that period but still fell a little short of getting to where I wanted. After this point, thing were a little shaken up in personal life as my dad passed away and I wasn’t ready for taking up family responsibility, had no job and no money. I waited around to find some good job though mom wanted me to do MBA. I did find a job at a place that seemed nice and job itself had some things I considered interesting. I went ahead with that and started working as an Management Consultant. But, soon enough, I figured this is going to be a very short stint as it’s not what I want to do through my life. This is interesting and I do learn a lot but it has a short shelf life. The working conditions also didn’t agree with me and I left after working for some time. During this period, I started to get bored of sedentary life and long working hours, no social life and picked up cycling as a means of commute. It was liberating and sports always make me happy. In the meanwhile I scored well in CAT again but still short of my desired results. At this point, I decided to leave MBA behind and look at it at some later date and look around at some other kind of work. I tried my hand at some freelancing work. A great experience but a total dud. I was back to computers as my field of work though and at this point I knew that I wanted to work with computers but it never felt like “The love of my life”. I then decided to explore working at startups and joined http://onlygizmos.com. Also, at the same time, I got involved in a project at IIT-B. This time I was diving deeper into computers and searching for what I want to do through my life. Around the end of this period, I picked up running and started getting into best shape of my life. But, it lasted a little over a year. The time I quit from there was a period of my life when I was at my lowest. My personal and professional life were in tatters, I had no direction, I was quite depressed too. But, thanks to some really good friends(you know them very well), it ended up being an opportunity rather than a roadblock. I went out soul searching. I tried some things I hadn’t tried before. I poked around for answers. But, nothing was forthcoming, it was a difficult period. But, somewhere I was enjoying the exploration. I was learning new things, discovering how little I understood the society and myself. Then my mom was down with health problems and for a period of about 6 months I was pretty much cut off from regular work or sports. There were big fights in the cycling community and it was getting divided into groups. That put me off. That took me to exploring the side of cycling and running I hadn’t before. I signed up for full marathon at SCMM and joined coaching for some competitive cycling. At this point it hit me. The answer as to what I wanted to do was always with me. I always knew it. It is sports and staying close to the sports field that really interests me. I always ignored it as I never had any confidence that I’d be able to do anything in sports thanks to my abysmal fitness levels. Sports always remained a hobby for me. But, I have realized now that it needs to go beyond just a hobby. I don’t know how but what I want to really do is stay very close to sports and field of sports, stay involved with sports people. That’s something I will love doing. But, computers and it’s evolution have become a very close and inseparable part of my life. Now, I am at a stage where I have an answer to where I want to be. Only thing I need to find is what is that exact thing I will be doing. The journey continues but I have answers, I am no more groping in the dark. I am not only enjoying this period but totally in love with it. I am at peace with myself, like I have never been before. And it’s changing me. As Robert Frost said “I have miles to go before I sleep” but for me, a new journey has started and my field of interest has been discovered. Maybe, you already know what you want to do but you’re unsure about it? Go and give it a spin and see how you feel about it. Go with an open mind and take in whatever you can. The answer will come to you, sooner or later. Look at yourself, look at what you enjoy doing with being bothered about anything else. Anything besides that is something you fancy but not what you love.