Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about people’s Second Act. This refers to people opting for a different career after pursuing one for several years. It is a complete change from their previous jobs and, most of the time has no relation to the earlier one. And if one looks around, one can see many of these Second Acts. People are leaving stable jobs and flourishing careers to follow their hearts and do things they have probably always wanted to but couldn’t for several reasons.
What do you Mean by Multiple Careers?
However, there is another breed of people who are pursuing two or maybe, even more careers simultaneously. They have chosen to have multiple careers. They are the kind of people who have not given up on their first choice of careers; instead, they have added other professions and are pursuing both with equal amounts of passion, grit and determination. They have, as they say, a portfolio of careers. So there is a doctor who is also a full-time writer, a corporate executive who is running a catering business and many more.
I happen to be guilty of being an educationist and also a blogger.
Though I have been doing this for some time, I want to explore the motivation behind it. Why would anyone want to have multiple careers? What could be the reason behind it? And is it worth it? Can one do justice to both? Is it not eating into the mind space? And like we have always been told, to succeed, focus on that one thing in your life and make it big. Are we with two careers not doing that? Will we not succeed? But then, what is success?
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These kinds of thoughts have been plaguing my mind for a while now. Though I keep pushing them away, they have a way of returning.
Let me start from the beginning.
I began my career as an educationist some three decades ago. Teaching was something I loved; it resonated with me at various levels. It fuelled my academic inclination, my desire to connect with and make a difference in the lives of young people and let me practise my oratory skills. Teaching fulfilled me and gave me satisfaction. The high from a well-delivered lecture can only be understood by another teacher; that one class where you know that your students got all that you wanted to convey. That’s a great day for a teacher. I had that and more.
This went on for about 20 years when I started feeling restless. My kids were growing up, and my time was freeing up. I had time, so I started catching up with friends, reading and exercising. I also started spending more time with my students, guiding and mentoring them. But that was not enough. I wanted more from life, from myself.
That’s when my mind started exploring, looking around. What else was there that I could do? What was it that I wanted to do? Mind you, at that point; I was looking to make constructive use of my time. I wanted to do something that I really liked.
And that’s when my elder son came up with an idea.
He said, “Mum, why don’t you start blogging? You write so well. You could do that.”
Though I liked the idea, I didn’t know the B of blogging. What was it, and how could one do it?
But he had down the seed, and the idea started to grow in me.
My Second Career
I researched, read, checked out blogs, and spoke to people, especially my tech-savvy nephew, to understand what blogging was all about and how I could start one. Gradually it all started making sense, and I plunged into the world of websites, trending topics, keywords, analytics and more. I started my blog, which today has taken the shape of an e-magazine.
But the question is that though I started this journey to fill up my time, how did it become a career?
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It’s been five years since I started, and it is going strong, so strong that I can’t even think of giving it up. Why is that so? Was teaching not fulfilling enough? Were there some gaps that needed to be filled up? I think that is what it was. There were some gaps I started to discover as I started getting free from my parental responsibilities. More time meant that I could think and reflect.
While I was happy with my teaching career somewhere, I had a creative side which was getting neglected or instead was not getting addressed. The need to put my pen to paper and express myself was deep and strong. And that is why I yearned to find a way to do that. Blogging got me there. My writing and my articles were able to fulfil that. Taking up women’s issues was also at the back of my mind. And my blog allowed me to address that.
Reading had always been a passion, and now I could talk about my books, review them, and list them. Blogging allowed me to express my thoughts on these myriad topics. It allowed me to use words creatively and imaginatively, something I had always wanted to do but was unaware of the need for it. Starting with an informal, flexible approach, I am now running my e-magazine as professionally as possible. I have reached a stage where I have started monetising it.
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What’s more, it has led me to further another passion of mine, and that is the love for sarees. I have become a small-time saree influencer as well.
And now, when I look at my life, I see so many aspects of it. It is as though it has branched out in different directions letting me grow and flourish in different ways. So I teach, I write, I blog, and now I am also pursuing my doctorate.
So what do these different careers do for me?
My teaching brings stability to my life through a steady income and working hours, while my e-magazine fuels my entrepreneurial side. It’s a business from where I am yet to start getting a return, but it is fuelling my creative side, which keeps me at it. It has led me to a stage where I am ready with my first book and will go on to publish it soon.
This journey has taught me many things. First, it has helped me learn and unlearn many previously known lessons.
To begin with, you don’t have to confine or limit yourself to one thing in life. You can do more than one thing and can pursue multiple careers. Your focus can get divided, provided you know what to do and when. So you need to master the art of prioritisation.
You have to accept that you cannot do everything together. Therefore, it is essential to decide what’s important at a particular time and then do it. For example, if you can train your mind to compartmentalise, you will be able to focus on the task at hand. What’s more, you will be able to enjoy it as well.
Once you have done that, doing multiple things will not be a chore. It will be enriching and fulfilling. You will be able to master the art of switching on and off between tasks.
So when I look at myself, I realise I have multiple careers because different careers take care of various aspects of my personality. I am a multifaceted personality, so I need multiple careers.
And finally, it is my writer’s side which has enabled me to put my thoughts down, which has helped me clear the cobwebs and find answers to all my questions.
Here’s to following our passions and having multiple careers.
What do you think?