Sourav Jha, a graduate of the University of Calcutta, was always convinced that he wanted a Master of Business Administration (MBA). However, last month he enrolled in a film institute. Around the same time, about 1,600 km away in Pune, Nitesh Joshi, an MBA graduate, quit his job to pursue his dream of becoming a director.
Sourav and Nitesh have never met. But apart from their mutual love of cinema, the two are part of a much larger group. The one that consists of countless entrepreneurs, professionals, students who have changed their career path since the start of the pandemic.
Passion took precedence over regular work long before it was made all the rage by â3 Idiotsâ in 2009. However, a surprisingly high number of people have taken the plunge since the nationwide lockdown.
Change of plan
It took 36-year-old Nitesh a year to convince himself of this.
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âI am a father and I have a family to support. I can’t make impulsive decisions. However, I felt that if I don’t do it now, I probably will never be able to do it. I spent a year developing contacts, networking, attending Zoom sessions, writing my short film and only when I was sure there was a good chance the plan works, that I quit my job, âhe said.
Meanwhile, for 21-year-old Sourav, the decision hasn’t been easy either. He had already started to prepare for the entrance exams to the MBA. âI had shortlisted colleges, I told all my family and friends about it and I was sure that was what I wanted to do,â he said.
What has changed then? âI saw people around me who were MBA graduates. They were working from home, coordinating on phones, their laptops always by their side and suddenly I didn’t want this life anymore. I wanted to work in an industry that would require getting out. I’ve always been interested in making films, but this is the first time I’ve considered making a career out of it, âhe added.
For many people, the decision to quit was driven by working from home and being constantly stuck on their phones and laptops. (Shutterstock)
Two months of research and discussions with film school graduates finally shed some light on Sourav. He canceled his MBA plans. Now he had to convince his parents. âI’m an unmarried child and making movies didn’t seem so lucrative to my parents. I had to give them examples of a dozen people. They are not yet fully convinced, but I agree to register, “he said.1
Several psychologists around the world have concluded that one of the main effects of the pandemic has been a sense of inflated ability to take risks. According to a research article published this year in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry by Julia and Joby Mackolil, âRisk-taking can be seen as complacent behavior that results in the development of an internal locus of control due to COVID-19 . “
According to a survey commissioned by Amazon India in September this year, around 51% of adults looking for work were interested in seeking opportunities in industries in which they had no experience. And 68% of them said they are considering changing industries. as a result of COVID-19.
When Naveen Nair, 26, a New Delhi resident thought about quitting his secure job at a large software company, he lost sleep. Her mind began to weave frightening scenarios of anything that could go wrong. âLeaving a fixed income job in the midst of a pandemic seemed reckless,â he told News18.
However, the tipping point came when he realized he was settling for less every day. His employers demanded double the production in exchange for a salary that had been drastically reduced due to the economic impact of the pandemic. He knew he deserved better. He quit his job.
Currently, he plans to open the second branch of his company in Trivandrum. âI have always been interested in digital marketing and took short courses with Google and Udemy to understand the subject. The dream of starting my own business had been latent in me for many years. The contacts I made during my first job were helpful in securing clients. I didn’t have a plan B. I left everything to the Almighty and immediately took the plunge, âexplains Naveen, founder of DigiGen Enterprises.
Millions of people, like Naveen, all over the world, are quitting their jobs at a faster rate than ever. So much so that there is now a term for it: The Great Resignation. It was first invented in 2019 by Anthony Klotz of Texas A&M to predict that a massive and voluntary labor exodus is here, and it is very real.
According to the US Department of Labor, in April, May and June 2021, a total of 1.15 crore of workers left their jobs.
Swetha Donakonda, 41, also in Hyderabad. mother of two daughters, she calls herself an entrepreneur in the event of a pandemic.
As offline interactions have become restricted, the world has moved online, one business at a time. This marketing director, who had studied retail management at the Indian School of Business, realized that all of these fledgling businesses would need a marketing plan.
Millions of people all over the world are quitting their jobs at a faster rate than ever before. So much so that there is now a term for it: The Great Resignation. (Shutterstock)
âBefore starting my business, I worked for an ed-tech startup. I participated in the development of growth hacking plans for the company. But the pandemic took its toll on the business and it started to deteriorate, âsaid the founder of growthmk.co.in, a company that offers 360-degree growth hacking solutions for startups.
Inspiration, for her, came from other women entrepreneurs.
âIt has always bothered me that only 10% of senior mid-level managers in private companies are women. I have always admired Vani Kola, the Hyderabad venture capital firm which has been ranked by Fortune India as one of the most powerful businesswomen in the country. So when one of my colleagues agreed to be a partner in the new business, I realized it was the right time, âsaid Swetha.
The dilemma has not only struck professionals. The students are also part of the group.
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Abandon the conventional
According to a March 2021 survey of students by Britain’s largest graduate career website, Prospect, more than a quarter of those surveyed had changed their career plans as a result of the pandemic and 37% said that ‘they still didn’t know what they would do.
For Grade 12 student Anisha Pandey, the availability of more time after the lockdown sparked the change. A resident of a small town in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, her daily routine consisted of a busy school schedule followed by preparations for the Joint Entrance Exams (JEE).
She didn’t have time to invest in what she loved: fashion design.
Now, with closed schools and online classes, Anisha could finally find time to explore her passion. She quickly set up a social media page to showcase her designs. Slowly she found validation and the decision was made.
âI come from a middle class family and my dad had worked really hard to save money for my entry-level engineering books. My decision came as a shock to them. My parents are not happy but that’s what I want to do and without the pandemic I wouldn’t have published this, “said Anisha who wants to enter the National Institute of Fashion Technology and have a career in the fashion industry. styling.
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Across the class, after more than half a decade of teaching at a BMC-run school, 32-year-old Rubina Raona packed all her things, said goodbye to the sea and left Mumbai before the second wave of COVID-19 arrived.
She returned home to Birpara, a town in Alipurduar district in North Bengal, surrounded by tea gardens in the hope of finding a job at a local school. But the pandemic had different plans for it. In March 2020, Rubina launched the Abhilasha Initiative, which aims to educate tribal children.
âWhen I returned, the schools here were closed, so I couldn’t apply. It is a small city; there isn’t much to do, so I spent a lot of time thinking. It’s a luxury you can’t afford in cities like Mumbai, âRubina said.
âI have always dreamed of opening an NGO, as many dream of becoming an actress or a writer. I had no real commitment to her; it was just a dream, not a goal. However, as the pandemic dragged its feet, I started to feel a stir within me, telling myself that it was time to start, âshe added.
Rubina comes from a tribal family. Her mother works actively on local social development issues. Her mother’s acquaintances told her about the children of tea garden workers whose education had stalled because many of them did not have mobile devices at home.
“How long before these children forget the alphabets?” Or lose interest in studies? As a teacher who had taught slum children for years in Mumbai, I knew this was a real possibility. I also knew that being a teacher is very different from running a social initiative. As a teacher your only responsibility is to impart knowledge, but you also need business acumen to run a social enterprise. So I was terrified, “she said.
Soon after, one of Rubina’s brothers helped her meet the local tribal relatives of the Tasati tea garden. âDespite their misfortune, they were so warm and welcoming. They promised that they would send their children to study, so I launched the Abhilasha initiative in March of last year, âshe said.
Rubina travels from Birpara by electric rickshaw (toto) to the Tasati Tea Estate twice a week. Amidst the perfectly maintained tea plantations, an unpaved road winds for a few kilometers before leading it to the tribal settlements of Tasati Tea Estate. The road is not safe at night. Cases of theft and burglary often occur here. Herds of elephants also roam this path whenever they want. But she prefers this road to the busy streets of Mumbai.
This story is the second part of a four-part series on Pandemic Fallout. Click here to read Part 1 on Covid-19 and its effects on mental health.
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