Follow by Email

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is mid life crisis (or quarter life crisis) rooted in real-life issues?

This is a resume of a person: Wrote for Hindi commercial soaps, marketed a music label, worked for a technology firm, started a band. His name is Keith Menon, who started a AWOL ( away without leave) program. One can join this program, move from one place to another at a modest budget, and then write their experiences on web.

I have met some individuals, between the age of 28-32 who face a different version of this confusion. Some of them want to work for NGO, some want to change jobs because they get bored, while some others want to find 'meaning' in life.

In my career research, i have found that this is a genuine need felt by all of us. Our great grandfathers ( who were born in 1940s/ 50's) never had to deal with it because they continued to fight for survival ( cloth, shelter and decent living for their children) till the age of early 50's. My father could built his house only after he retired. And because they continued to struggle late in life, finding some other 'objective' in life was too late for them.

Individuals born later in the decade of 1970's were not so lucky. They got their minimum sustenance till the age of mid 30's of their life. They therefore faced the question of 'what next?' in their life far earlier and were forced to answer them. We called it mid-life crisis. Today's generation faces this question even earlier, because they do not have to struggle to meet their sustenance. Their fathers are working in good companies, have a decent shelter in a big town, and also have experienced car and other small luxuries of life.

For them the question of 'what next' is real and is faced with full impact. As their full life is ahead of them, they are forced to resolve this problem. In my career, i have met individuals for whom this question has different connotations. For some it is question of finding their calling, a profession which will help them express themselves completely. For some, it is a question of finding meaningful existence in life ( I do not want to work 9 to 5 and die one day...). For some others, it is a question of identity ' who am i and what do i want in life'?. All of them have one feature in common: all are striving towards self actualisation.

As i have observed in my coaching experience, this drive of self actualisation is not always rooted in real-life issues. Sometimes it is rooted in ignorance of 'what is career'. Sometimes , it is a result of absence of dense engagement in life that causes lack of any values. Sometimes, it is routed in 'identity'. Sometimes it is due to inability of meeting self-expectations that are unrealistic. In other words, the mid-life crisis or quarter life crisis is not always rooted in real-life issues.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Finding calling for thinking competency individuals

As i have noted elswhere, finding a calling for professionals who have 'thinking' competency is a very tough ask. For 'Doing' competency individuals - such as musicians, dancers, cricketers, and chess players - it is easier. Here is another example of a tough ask that i watched on a Zee TV on 2nd Jan.

This individual, let us call him Rajiv, passed from a college in Delhi. Went on to start a business. Managed to do it for two years. Rajiv was selling clothes.

Rajiv then joined an advertising agency which a friend of his started. After a period he shifts to a bigger ad agency, ULKA. Ulka got work for Hero Honda. Prahlad Kakkar was directing the film; however he had a cardiac trouble, when he landed in Delhi. He was hospitalised. The ad work could not be stopped. So the cameraman became the director and Rajiv became assistant director. This was the first experience of doing something what he liked. Seed was sown.

While dropping Prahlad Kakkar to the Delhi Airport, Prahlad Kakkar tells Rajiv that his place is in Mumbai. After 6 months, Rajiv lands in Mumbai. Rajiv comes and works in a ad agency in Mumbai and then starts his own ad agency. During one of his work, he comes along to work with Amitabh Bachan, on his Madhushala album.Seed grew into a big plant.

That introduction leads him to make a movie with Amitabh Bachan. The movie flops. He concluded that the movie flopped because he did not know how to write a script. Seed had grown into a plant, but not yielding a fruit.

Second script is written after a long time. Rajiv was unable to find a financer for this. However, Aamir Khan saw the script and that enabled him to find a financer and producer. Plant with seed had now yielded a fruit.

Could you guess the name of this individual? By the way, it is not John Mathan, who also had advertising background. But in all such career stories, one can trace the path.

Do you see how much time/effort and fortuitous incidents have to happen to just find a calling? And then equally large amount of time/effort has to be put to own that calling? It is absolutely impossible to find when the seed will get sown and then equally fortuitous to guess which seed will be nurtured and flowered further to make it a calling. After the event, it looks obvious. Before the event, it looks risky guesswork.

Only when such many stories are put together, one can see a common patterns and convert hindsight into foresight. If you happen to meet such a mentor, this risky guesswork can be converted into practical plan. A mentor can also help you see things before they become an event. A mentor can give you the necessary support to own the seed. And perhaps, he or she can also help you save some time and large effort!