How important is it to have a plan?
I am 28 and doing great in my career, a lot of times I have been asked this question by people younger to me ‘ How did you know what you wanted to do’. Even the elders sometimes in a mocking way, sometimes out of curiosity ask ‘ how did you become a writer with an engineering degree?’.
All these questions bring back an old memory. Some 6 years back, while I was working in TATA Motors and heading back to work from Mumbai, I asked a senior, who was quitting the job to prepare for the Indian Engineering Services exam, ‘ How do you know what you want to do?’
He very subtly replied ‘ I don’t’, after a pause he continued ‘ You never know what you want to do until you have tried your hands on something. The goal of life is to be happy, so I do what I feel makes me Happy’.
This statement struck a chord in me, and I kept wondering about it for really wrong. What he said was it just outrightly stupid to not have a plan, or is it the way to life. If he is right, then why do all teachers, parents, even books mention that ‘YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN’.
This conversation after some time just left my mind, and I recalled it last night. This got me wondering about how my life had gone by in the past 6 years, and whether this was the plan?
Life With a Plan
I got campus placed in Tata Motors, but soon I realized that I wasn’t learning anything. All I did was office politics, playing the blame game, and ensuring that the ball is always in someone else’s court.
One night I was watching the new and the result of the Civil Services exam was release, this got me thinking of how I always thought of becoming an IAS officer. So with some savings in hand, I quit my job in 2 years and made a plan.
1 year of preparation — — Clear Exam — — Become and IAS/IRS Officer — -Sorted Life — — Get Married.
With this plan, I decided to start my preparation. I left for Delhi, stayed in a hostel, and started my preparation. I went to class daily like a sincere and good student. I had enough savings to sustain myself for two years, but midway my sister's wedding got planned, and all my savings went in her shopping. I was now left with just 8 months of savings.
Without giving much thought to savings I went to classes for 6 months, then I realized what a waste of time it was, the teachers would sing songs in the class, talk all sorts of shit, and classes became a waste of time.
So all the coaching fee went down the drain and I started preparing on my own, I cleared the first prelims examination, but not the mains. Again the preparation began with another plan of a year. This time I had to borrow money from my parents as my account was now nil.
Again the preparation began, cleared pre and stuck at mains. So i finally decided, maybe the plan needs to be tweaked a little, I started preparing for the RBI GRADE B exam and made another plan.
6 months of preparation — — Clear Exam — — Join RBI— -Sorted Life — — Get Married.
I started my preparation, being strong in quant, aptitude, and English, RBI was not much of a struggle, and I gave the exam. There was some problem with the results, and I again did not clear the exam.
By this time I had lost all sense and sensibility. I would just sit alone, crying, and wondering what I did wrong. I would call my friend to say ‘I want a restart’. Life just felt like it had reached rock bottom and there was no way up.
During this time, One of my friends introduced me to blogging. I started my website anadipahadi, and started posting poems. This was my happy space. My blog brought me back to life, though i was not earning a single penny, I had never been happier.
I also got a freelance writing job in an institute, and things started to change course. I did blogging and writing for 4 months, and I thought it was time to move on. I left my preparation and started looking for a job.
For 2 months I just applied to various digital marketing agencies and finally landed up a job in Noida. This was a small organization, which helped me learn a lot about writing, copywriting, marketing, and advertisement. I loved the work i did here and after being locked in my room for 3 years now, meeting new people felt like a breath of fresh air.
I continued with my freelance work along with the full-time work. In time I kept switching and climbing up the corporate leader. Things have been pretty good and perfect for me. I love the work I do and despite the pandemic and present circumstances, i switched the job and got a raise. I love the work I do and I don’t think I have ever been happier.
So let us answer the question we first posted, how important is it to have a plan? Well, given my experience I do not think the plan is as important as determination and skills. There are times when your plan might not work at all, so you can have a plan, but always be open to new opportunities and possibilities. You can’t be sure which door brings you happiness.
So aim for happiness and not a plan. There is no right way, there are only paths, follow the one which you think is right for you. I am 28, not married, enjoying my work, well, this was never my plan.
My friends always tell me, that I do not complain about my job, life, or anything around. Every time someone asks me ‘ How I am’ i make sure to answer with ‘perfect, never been happier’. While some people think I am lying, I believe that is my state of mind.
So, you might read a hundred self-help books, and take guidance from the best of teachers, only life will teach you the reality. So don’t be afraid of chances and risk, be afraid of having a rigid plan.