Book It's never too late to pursue a passion, says Rajeshwari Victor in her book on people who've changed careers mid-life
A fter treading a path of technology for decades, can someone abandon it for politics? Can someone give up a cushy public sector job and turn to teaching a demanding engineering subject at 45? Can someone design hardware chips for two decades, and without any warning take a gamble on an enterprise based on motorcycle adventures?
Rajeshwari Victor has the acquaintance of people who do such ‘crazy' things. In fact, some of those she has written about, in her book “My Life My Choice”, about mid-life career choices, have done those things.
In simple prose, she narrates the stories of ten people who suddenly and dramatically changed the route map of their lives. The motivation to profile these people came from within. After 15 years of holding high-paying corporate jobs, Rajeshwari — an alumnus of IIM, Ahmedabad — took a one-year sabbatical to explore the possibility of a new career.
“I decided that I could make use of the break to write about people making mid-life career switches,” says Rajeshwari. “I travelled around the country and met these people.” When the sabbatical ended, she did not return to the corporate world; she took up teaching. Now a professor of management at Chennai Business School, she talks and writes about the subject at various forums.
The strength of this book lies in its unpretentiousness and anecdotal richness. With insightful quotes from the ten punctuating the commentary, the reader often gets a peek into the state of their minds when they made those brave choices.
When Anand Dharamaraj turned his back on his career in chip designing at 40 and started “indiMotord Adventures”, a motorcycle tours company, he knew he was saying goodbye to wads of greenbacks. “As far as the money is concerned, personally I don't miss it because I feel I have found my calling in this venture. Also since I had planned my exit for sometime, I was better prepared financially. I strongly believe that inadequate income in the early stages should never be the reason for anyone not to pursue their passion,” says Anand.
The ten profiles present a diversity that lends the book part of its charm. Each had at least one different reason to make the mid-life career switch. For example, Srividya Viswanathan, a graduate from IIM, Bangalore, gave up her corporate career and chose to establish AIKYA, a day-care centre for senior citizens. Through this move, she found the right balance between family (which includes three children) and work. The choice of running this day-care centre was randomly made. From a young age, she nursed a desire to start an old age home.
“My Life My Choice”, published by Macmillan, has charming simplicity, has a foreword by Capt. Gopinath and is just 150 pages, on the downside, certain portions would read better with some tight editing.