I come from a family of financial advisors, engineers and shipping consultants. To choose anything otherwise meant being the black sheep in the family. The initial move was very simple - BA Arts (anything that did not involve Math or Science). My parents seemed to have accepted that easily considering I was no high grade kid & this would help them avoid more 'parent teacher meetings' or 'temple prayers' at the last moment hoping for me to pass a subject.
The first of firsts - midway through the course I knew what I wanted to pursue next and this meant I had to leave home for the same. I had applied to almost every place I liked including places outside the country - it was my chance at getting away and figuring out things myself. My sister was working in Bangalore and eventually, in spite of few tiffs on what my first option was (definitely going abroad), I settled for Bangalore. No one had left the walls of my home to another city for their studies until i did it. And I knew that it meant I started the tradition of being the first to many more such decisions.
More firsts - post my mass communication course in Bangalore, I took up a graphic design job in a start-up. The pay was hell and my family wasn't pleased. That's how I became the first of the family to have picked up a low paying job for the sake of experience. I still remember how my uncle didn't seem to have understood the concept of graphic designing being an actual option for jobs and thought all I did was probably paint or place texts together on a plain background using paint.
Keep the firsts going- another year, another company and I had completely started shifting my area of work. I had moved into digital marketing. As you can imagine, this would have definitely put my family into some form of panic mode. Not just was it a job change, but by the time they came around to me wanting to design, I picked up something else altogether. I don't blame them. As a child, I picked up many classes on instruments, dance and singing only to quit halfway or with the teacher quitting themselves seeing my wavering interest. I even had a teacher who lied about leaving me as a student because he got a big gig to play and turns out he just took up a much less worrisome job of playing live music at a hotel during dinner time. Yes, it was really awkward for him and me to see each other whilst i held a plate of food and he held the guitar and sang all shaky.
The second job was the one. I knew I loved this field but convincing my parents that digital marketing was an actual opportunity for me to grow took me a while. Half the time, they were trying to figure out what I did in this field and the other half were my relatives eating into my parents brain about marriage and how if she grows older, her 'prospects' would be less or how my unknown path could be a 'bad influence' on the younger ones. And again, I became the first to move two jobs so quickly. This just keeps getting better, doesn't it?
The first again- one year down, I decide that I am going to purse a little bit of research for this field. Not that I didn't love my job. I truly did, but I wasn't getting enough time to read up on anything. Can you imagine being my family at this point? I was sure they would sit down and talk to me about seeking some career help for myself. Well, the tables had turned by then and my parents seemed to have really understood what it felt like for me to be in a field that none of my other family members experienced or could give me guidance in.
The first least expected - two years later, I left Bangalore for good and my parents were sure I was going to take up a job in my hometown. Surprise (not so much for me), I did not do that. I took up an offer while I was on my 6 month break with an AI company. This job however changed my life. The CEO of the company was an unexpectedly young person who seemed to have realized that I am the black sheep in the family and went on to train me personally in the field and would leave me gifts of motivation which led me to realize how much I missed online media and here I am - at Appiness, a Digital Marketing Company in Bangalore that is run by compassionate people. Four years ago, I applied for a similar position in Appiness as a fresher and I was asked to apply later. But guess who is back! Sometimes the circle of life is really funny - it brings you back when you least expect it.
Being the first for trying something new can lead you to paths undiscovered and you are bound to question yourself, stand up to shield your mistakes or take a fall on your own. But it's worth it. As cliche as it might sound, sometimes building your own path gives you your own individuality and proud moments. Wanting to try new things, being the black sheep isn't a bad thing. It's just the beginning to your own discoveries, realizations and journey. And I don't regret it one bit.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk! See you around in office! :D