Why I joined a start-up, digressed from my domain and moved cities for less(er) pay.

The Middle Class Guide to taking a Gap-Year (Part 3)

This is Week 52 / 52 of my blog series where I keep myself accountable by keeping an online journal of sorts. You can read the beginning of this story — Why I quit my job to study, volunteer and travel.

Over the last year I have shared countless insights based on the my experiences travelling, fighting and figuring out my place in my head and my place in the universe.

This blog will be a response to my first blog. So while it is not an absolute requirement, it will help if you have taken a look at how this all started.

Let is dive right in. Answer the big question.

Was it worth it to leave a great job when things are taking off?

The short answer, and I am not just “saying” this. HELL YES!

Now let us find out the long version of the answer and if I had fulfilled the expectations that I had set out 52 weeks back.

  • To have no regrets — I think it is safe to say that the most that I have missed out on is a promotion, a bit more money and the chance to see a few countries. But I have gained countless connections, I’ve started my own podcast where I interview people who follow their passion, had experiences that I curated for myself. There is NO WAY I could get all of this done had I been where I was a year back. So that is a — YES, Accomplished!
  • To automate my money making process — I have set up an internet based finance consulting practice that is growing at about 2–4% every month without any marketing. Learnt about investments in the stock market, mutual funds (I religiously follow Value Research, and will start my first SIP in a couple of days. Check out the article below to know why I am smitten by them), made between 13% to 100% on my IPO investments and am going to invest in my first ever solar power plant in a few weeks. I think I am well on my way to automate my money making process. The latest way in which I am doing this is by being the first 5 employees of a potential billion dollar company :D

Keeping that in mind, I would say that is a — YES, Accomplished!

  • To live a different life everyday and not go through the same day over and over again for 15..20 or how many ever years. — I studied, learnt Mixed Martial Arts and passed my ICAEW for 130 days, built an online consulting business for 30 days and travelled for another 120 days. That is some kick-ass way to introduce some self-disruption right? So, Accomplished?
  • To see the beautiful country that is India. Learn what plagues her, try to make a difference, a dent in the universe. — I’ve seen Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Telangana, Goa, Maharashtra.

I am making a difference by counselling school kids and eventually taking technology to the people of rural India by leveraging second hand computers and open source technologies like Linux. We have already reached over 300 students and are gradually expanding. To know more read —

So again, YES, Accomplished.

  • To meet new people, get a different perspective, expand my mind and not be bogged down with schedules, deadlines and “cut offs”. — I have met around 100 new people, learnt about their preferences, priorities and general outlook of life. In hind-sight, I think a planned life is one with a deadline and a schedule. It’s just that right now the only deadline I am worried about is the product release deadline for www.sambav.com where we are building the next generation health-care platform that will impact millions of lives across the globe.

So that’s a maybe?

  • To figure out a little more about ourselves. What drives, motivates and makes us do what we do. — Having a tonne of free time means a lot of time to think. I had the time and opportunity to ponder about many of big life’s questions. In my infinite wisdom, I was able to condense it to a few things.
  1. Do whatever you want as long as it does not impact the people around you in an adverse manner.
  2. Self awareness is the single most important characteristic that someone can develop. As Ravi Venkatesan mentions in the Play to Potential podcast, it can be the biggest differentiation between top and mediocre talent. I feel that this can be applied to all aspects of life.
  3. Sustaining the highs are as important as sustaining the lows. Success can be a heady dose of power, while failure can know the wind out of our lungs but having the ability to stay grounded in these extremities determines what kind of person we are.
  4. I have been on a himalayan trek every year since 2012. However, during this year, I spent 28 days becoming a certified mountaineer. I learnt that people’s true colors are revelaed when they are put through extreme circumstances. Who are you when no one is watching? and Who are you under pressure?

5. Your principles matter. They are your pillars and your constants. Change your principles and you change your life. Ray Dalio has an excellent write up that I use as a reference guide and continuing reminder about how people and organizations should think and execute their principles.

What do you say? Accomplished?

  • To the limits of my comfort zone. — I built an online tax consulting business from scratch to 50 clients in about 30 days. Lived on people’s couches in Mumbai while I built my podcast, reached out to strangers asking them if I could interview them (and then I did!), met a 150 new people, spent a month in isolation in Sonamarg, Jammu and Kashmir becoming a mountaineer, spent 10 days in complete isolation without speaking a word to anyone during a Vipassana course and wrote an international professional exam (ICAEW) and passed.

It is going to continue this year with my start-up job where I impact HR, Finance, Operations, Marketing, Product and UX. Obviously, I LOVE IT but it’s fucking challenging. Comfort zone, pushed!

I give that a Yes, Accomplished please!

  • To listen to my heart because it does not see me having a desk job for the rest of my life. (My brain wonders where the hell I will get the money from, but we need to wait and find out) — As I write this, I know that I’ve already taken up a desk job. Before you call my a hypocrite, I am still an entrepreneur due to my podcast and consulting business? Not convinced yet, OK fine. But at least this is a desk job with the ability to change millions of lives while making money? :) I have had a few reality checks this year. This is one of them — Working for someone is not a bad thing!
  • To give a TED Talk in 2 years. I’ve been working for almost 4 years. I have nothing MUCH to talk about, I need to change that. — Now that you’ve read so far, do you think I am worthy of giving a TED talk? If you do, then please give me a shout out and book my flight tickets ;) . If not, it’s ok. I have another year. But right now, I am not that keen to give a TED Talk, I feel that I am already making a difference to the world through my blog, my start-up, my podcast and with One Kid Can Make a Difference.

This blog is a conclusion in my series of articles where I kept myself accountable by publishing an article every week about how I spend time during the 52 weeks of my gap year. Here is the article that started it all —

If you still want to read some things from me, I am now going to contribute an article every 2 weeks or every month to Thrive Global and some other publications.

Of course, one of my biggest babies from this amazing gap-year is my Podcast. I interview people who follow their passion with a view to help others find the courage and the grit to make up their mind and pursue their passion by hearing of people who have done it. We also provide a platform for people to connect to the people the listen on the podcast and stir up some cross-pollination of people and ideas.

You can listen to it here —



I just wanted to thank everyone who read, gave feedback, a chance to make a difference and making my gap-year journey such a memorable one. I am forever in your debt ❤

If you found this post interesting or thought provoking, please click on the small ❤ on the bottom right corner to recommend it. Also share it with your friends on WhatsApp and Facebook!

Follow me on this journey on self discovery and know what happens!


Thanks again to all you wonderful people for the love and support.
If you want to say hey, give me feedback or reach out to me for anything, I would love to connect with you — 
naagasubramanya@gmail.com
Peace and Love. xx

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