I dare to dream. All the time. But this post is about my dream job.
Everyone dreams of the ideal job where the work is enjoyable, time is flexible, the money’s good and there’s enough time to socialize, spend time with family and friends and generally be satisfied with life.
With the tough competition, fluctuating job market and rising costs of living, not everyone is lucky to find that dream job.
Today, I’d like to share how I found mine and the lessons learned along the way.
I began my corporate career in 1984 (that I wanted to be a rock star is another story. I am told that I am one, anyway – I mean, I rock, I am a star *wink wink*). Those days I thought being an executive project assistant was glamorous. Little did I know that it was a euphemism for “gofer”. Yet, new on the work scene, I loved it. I had fab colleagues (I am still in touch with them) and I learned a lot. Gradually I transitioned from metallurgical projects to rubber projects – to an advertising agency as an account executive – to sales in a transport company – to marketing and training in Office Automation – to Telecommunications to Industrial components, spanning marketing, sales and training. I rose in my career and quit at the top, when I decided to get married at 33. I fondly referred to it as early retirement.
Obviously, after a hectic career, it is not easy to chill at home doing housework. I wasn’t too worried, as I was expecting a baby a few months later. Once Vidur came along and turned 2 years old, I knew he would go to playschool and became restless, wanting to find work again. The job market was in a slump at the time, but that did not deter me. For one thing, I didn’t want to get back to working like I used to, traveling most days. I wanted something that would let me be around for my son and my Mom, whose health was failing.
And so, after a briefly frustrating phase where the worry of fulfilling our housing loan and rapidly rising bills ate our heads, my Mom suggested I make a list of my capabilities and then reassess what skills were marketable. She said…
… Dare to dream
This is where the freelance writing came in.
I had often been told that my writing skills were good. I enjoyed writing stories and poetry and had published quite a few with pretty good reviews. I edited the in-house magazines where I worked. My grasp of idiomatic English was good. So, I thought – why not try writing as a career? And I did. I got started as co-editor of a business magazine with a friend. Then, in 2005 I joined Creative Lipi as a writer. Over the years, I’ve built a small client base and enjoy my work.
Today I have two jobs – one as a writer and blogger for clients and another as the member of an ethics committee that evaluates protocols for human clinical trials.
I work hard to live my dream. I have challenges with time management, self-discipline and distractions. It is so easy to slack off. Luckily, I am organized by nature and freak out if I don’t meet a deadline.
Here is what helped me get closer to my dream:
- I did not consider it below my dignity to take up a part-time job that paid very little. I saw the silver lining – it got me back into the flow of things. It restored my self-esteem.
- I kept my eyes open for work from home opportunities.
- Networking – I built my network before I needed it. There is a huge community out there and you’ve got to go out and connect. Social media has made it easy. You never know – your next big opportunity could be knocking on your door.
- I interacted with people and was helpful.
- I took my time management seriously. Oh, initially it is very liberating to work from home. But I pretend to go to work every day and dress for the part.
- Practicing discipline is really tough, but I did it.
- Once I looked at writing as a possible career option, I took up all sorts of work so I could gain the experience.
- I was prepared to take risks.
- I took stock of my talents, hobbies and abilities and found my passion.
- I kept an open mind and followed through when something came up.
- I interact with people offline and online.
- I invested in personal development. Learning is a lifelong process.
- Education is never a waste – mine isn’t. It helps me get better writing jobs and a better perspective on subjects.
Most of all, I believed in myself. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have dared to dream and pursue it. My family believed in me and encouraged me. I am very happy I had the guts to take the big step and focus on my priorities at various points in life. I made some deliberate choices. I found my niche and leveraged it.
Today, it feels very nice to sign off as:
“Vidya Sury, Freelance Writer and Business Blogger”
Believe me, it wasn’t an easy transition from a high-paying job with perks to working from home on a variable income. I consider myself lucky to have started off with a strong foundation – a good education, a proactive attitude, the natural tendency to take initiative and not being afraid of stepping outside my comfort zone.
The cherry on the cake is receiving job offers – I still do – and it makes me feel wonderful to know I am marketable.
Do I have a message for you? Yes. I say, go ahead and dare to dream. You can achieve it.
If we want something, and put in the effort, everything is possible. I am happy that I had the courage to walk into something completely different and make it work – and I am grateful to my family, work associates and friends who motivated me all the time, encouraging me to keep my dream in sight.
My ultimate dream
Eight years ago, I was desperate for work to pay my bills. Today I am better off and gift 50% of what I earn, plus all my blog earnings (such as they are) to the welfare homes and children I support. Someday soon, I hope to fully fund an orphanage or an old age home or both.
Above all, I want to do everything I can to make a difference in this world, so that the people whose lives I touch will find themselves smiling, remembering good things, when they think of me. That’s my dream. Because I constantly ask myself:
Never underestimate the power of your mind to shape your destiny. (Just had to add that. It is one of my favorite quotes)
Tell me – do you dare to dream? Are you living your dream or getting close to it?
I’d love to hear your story!