Career change: From office to a mountaintop | education$career | Hindustan Times
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Career change: From office to a mountaintop

Work-life imbalance and stagnation are driving many young professionals today to make the change from regular 9 to 5 jobs to exciting entrepreneurial adventures.

education Updated: Oct 27, 2015 18:11 IST
Gauri Kohli
Bhaskar Thyagarajan (top), director, Great India Outdoor, left his media and advertising job to start an adventure travel start-up for corporates. (Inset) Trekking to Hampta Pass, Himachal Pradesh.
Bhaskar Thyagarajan (top), director, Great India Outdoor, left his media and advertising job to start an adventure travel start-up for corporates. (Inset) Trekking to Hampta Pass, Himachal Pradesh.(HT photo)

Have you been thinking of a career change after spending a good number of years in your profession? Many millennials wish they could go back in time and alter some of the decisions that impacted their career, or perhaps, change their profession altogether. A number of mid-level employees have second thoughts about their career choices, wanting to do something more ‘exciting and meaningful.’ Other reasons include burnout, job dissatisfaction, not feeling valued in an organisation and a stagnant pay package.

For Bhaskar Thyagarajan, director, Great Indian Outdoor, an adventure travel start-up for corporates, the idea of a midcareer change struck after he had worked in the media and advertising industry. “I started my career in advertising as a media planner. Working on big brands which had large spends gave me an opportunity to learn about how frequently and through which medium to reach out to and connect with our audiences to achieve our objectives. Then I moved to a research role in ESPN which was awfully exciting.”

When all seemed to be on track, what made Thyagarajan think about a career change? “Even though my stint at ESPN was rewarding, it was my longtime love affair with the outdoors and nature that finally made me take the plunge. I decided that walking up a dormant volcano in Bali is infinitely a better way to start the day than working on Microsoft Excel!” he says.

Started more than 10 years ago Thyagarajan’s company was in a completely new field. “The backend was disorganised, there were hardly any online platforms for us to reach out to customers and we had to start from scratch. We started with creating safe rafting trips, providing comfort in tented camps along the Ganga, and creating short treks to give enthusiasts a flavour of the Himalayas. Today, we have people who are doing multi-day river expeditions with us and even people who are planning their weddings at such locations,” he adds.

Thyagarajan believes there is no better time to make the career switch. “Today we have tremendous role-models who have gone out, taken risks and made it work, across sectors. But you need the conviction and the passion to see through the tough days. Surround yourselves with people who are driven, who have diverse interests, and who will give you valuable inputs,” he says.

For Amit Jain, co-founder of CarDekho.com, the transition from software engineering to entrepreneurship was driven by his passion for innovation. Jain started his career with a US-based company, and due to his expertise in the field of technology development, he moved up the ranks quickly to take on the role of product manager. After spending eight years with the company, he thought of starting his own venture. A visit to the auto expo in 2008 steered the idea of CarDekho.com, a car sale and purchase portal. “Working for your own start-up brings in immense sense of ownership and responsibility. It is completely different from what one experiences in a corporate job. It is never too late to shift your career if you are sure you don’t want to be in your current profession and are confident that your new career is where your heart lies,” says Jain.

This was true for Ravi Dhingra, too, a qualified cost accountant who spent close to 13 years in the finance industry, but wound up his consultancy only to follow his passion for photography. “Dabbling in numbers was becoming monotonous and the desire to express myself through photography helped me change my mind. The corporate world taught me the nuances of working with a team and professional etiquettes. One of the biggest challenges was getting work professionally, as not many clients want to take chances with a newbie,” he says. Since he had set up a financial consultancy, Jain’s biggest worry was to come out of it and ask his employees to look for another job. “It was not easy closing down (the business) and then there were some legal formalities. One thing that will help anyone changing a career is technology. Keeping pace with the relevant technological advancements in a new field will make this transition smooth,” adds Dhingra.