My team lead called to congratulate me as I’d been promoted to the next level. It had taken me just 2.8 years to reach that level as compared to the 4 years taken by others.
Yet, the news did not give me heartfelt happiness.
I just thanked her for her belief and trust in my work in a casual manner with a fake smile. She ended the call after some feedback and inputs.
I went to my desk and stared at the laptop unenthusiastically. I looked around to see some of my colleagues congratulating each other for their promotions and some with depressed faces for their own reasons.
My inner voice echoed, "Is life only about doing a soulless job and being in this rat race with no enthusiasm for work?
I was totally unhappy being in this rat race in the corporate world. I’d been doing what others wanted me to do; I’d lost my own inner voice. I lost my purpose and myself.
I didn’t know why was I in this world?
I’d been thinking about this for the past 2 years when I realized that I was not meant for this rat race where people come and go without any passion. Where they get ready for another day just for the sake of money.
Yet I could not make any decision about what I wanted, as I was the only breadwinner and was responsible for my mother and myself.
Sometimes, fear stops you from doing the things you want and desire. I was afraid of life now.
During lunchtime, I asked a friend who had 7 years experience in IT, “Do you like your work and job?” His reply was, “Most of the people here, in this field, don’t like the work they are doing."
"But they do it because they can’t find any other source of income or due to family constraints, which stop them from taking any risk.
"People adjust here over a period of time.” Even I don’t like what I am doing now. All I am waiting to do is set up my own business after another 7 years of working in IT."
"In the next 1-2 years, I hope to get my H1B visa, work in the US for 3-5 years, save money and return to India and set up my business (He has no idea about which business). I have been desperately asking my manager for the H1B visa since the last 2-3 years, but he keeps pushing it to the next year.”
Since he wasn’t married and didn’t have the responsibility of taking care of his parents as they could live on their earnings, why hadn’t he taken the risk to pursue his aspirations?
He answered, “I like to stay in my comfort zone and do not like taking risks.”
I just smiled back without any further intrusion. My inner voice echoed, “Opportunities don’t knock your door; you have to go and grab them.”
I asked myself, “Am I like him?” That thought scared me.
When I reached home, I disinterestedly informed my mother about my promotion. She was in an ambivalent situation as she knew that I was unhappy (she knew I did not like what I was doing) but she was also happy because my CTC would increase after my promotion (I got a 27 percent hike on my current CTC).
I went to my bedroom, closed the door and pondered about my life; where was I headed?
I opened the appreciation emails received from my clients and managers but even those didn’t make me happy.
I saw a pile of books, which had been sitting on my desk for 6 months, yet I hadn’t been able to complete them. I saw the guitar standing near the wall, for almost a year, but I hadn’t made any progress in learning it.
My lack of progress was due to this frustrating job!
I opened my short story, which I’d written during my engineering days. I was overcome with nostalgia. All those times flashed in front of my eyes. I came back to the real world thinking, “What if I could pursue my aspirations?”
But a part of my fearful heart echoed, “You can’t do it. The job is too big and requires too much time. How will you earn a living!?”
“What right do you have to believe that you can do it? Who are you to aim so high? People will think you are crazy!”
Though these thoughts flooded my mind, another part of me imagined myself slamming my head, day in and out, doing a job that I didn’t enjoy at all.
That night I brooded over my fearful and courageous thoughts.
I reminded myself that sometimes, all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and something great will come out of it.
The next morning, I informed my mother that I’d decided to resign from my job. She had always been supportive of my decisions and never stopped me from doing things that I liked. However, all she asked was, “What will you do next?”
I did not have an answer then but I told her that I would figure it out in some time.
I went to the office and the first thing I did was draft my resignation mail. Just when I was about to send the mail to my supervisor and managers, my fearful thoughts returned, “How would I earn after this?” It scared me to hell.
I wondered, "Is it these scary thoughts that stop people from pursuing things they like?"
I reminded myself, “Don’t think. Just do.” All this while, my scary thoughts had stopped me. But I decided that it was time to do things. At last, I hit the send button and I was relieved.
Finally, I’d given myself a chance to live life the way I wanted to; a chance to conquer my fears, which had been stopping me from a long time.
I don’t know what I am going to do but I’ve decided to take some time off and understand my desires and wants and pursue them.
I may succeed or fail but I’m determined to live a regret-free life.
Everyone should have the courage to conquer their fears!