Finding mentors in offbeat careers

Julian Sara Joseph
Apr 30, 2021 · 3 min read

So let’s say you want to become an author, but your parents feel your life would be one of struggles and lackluster compared to your peers who get the so-called high-paying jobs as engineers and doctors.

Let’s try to break it down, shall we?

Our parents want us to study subjects that they believe will help us get jobs that pay us decently. Decent Money will in turn give us a happy and struggle-free life.

A scene where Madhavan is trying to convince his father to let him choose “Photography” over Engineering because that's what he loves to do.

No, I won’t go for the “But -will-money-make-you-happy-argument” from the 3-idiots movie, instead, with the series of posts since “Its not the only way”, I have been trying to suggest that maybe there is more money in these off-beat careers like “Art”, “Writing”, “Standup Comedy” when compared to the regular jobs like — “Software Engineering” or “Marketing” in the long run. The added bonus is of course that your child is “HAPPY” doing what he/she loves and has had wasted lesser time trying to figure out “WHAT” makes him/her happy. (I’ll try to get more guests from such domains to prove this)

The latest episode of the WLB Podcast was with Fatema Hussain. She and her team got together when still in college to create this awareness and a platform where youngsters could easily find a successful author or comedian or filmmaker and connect with them to learn from them.

So they first made a magazine called “The Climber” and then pivoted to a Web and Mobile app called — “My Captain” that caters to more than 1 lakh students today, with Live online mentoring classes in a wide variety of domains. In the initial days, they held mini-workshops circulated through WhatsApp groups where enthusiastic mentors and mentees connected. This led to further 1:1 sessions which were possible through “Captains” who signed up to share their experience. They also have Power Talks with icons in various industries where they break it down for their audience how they launched their careers or even Youtube Channels.

The younger generations can not only be made aware earlier on, of the presence of such creative professions like authors, Podcasters, YouTubers, but they can also learn from the mistakes of those who have already made it big in such careers. There is no need to do engineering first if you want to later become an author. Such mentorship courses help you find out for yourself, what lies ahead if you make a certain choice and once you have finalized it — these mentors can further guide you on what must be done to achieve success.

What made me admire MyCaptain, even more, was the humility of every moderator, captain, and founder. They focused on what's right and built it right. They were the first ones to ask for feedback and redo their offerings. As they scaled, they improved each time. IIM B incubated them and then they went on rent out their first office, then a second. Today it's one of those online platforms where youngsters flock, for advice.

Listen to the full episode:

All of this started with the same issues that we faced as teens out of school. All of us had those days when we browsed the internet or magazines or brochures of colleges trying to read between the lines of the curriculum wondering if it would be the right choice. Thank you MyCaptain for solving this problem once and all. Kudos to the entire team! Forbes did the right thing, giving you a special mention as what you have started might just fix the future of our nation. Ours is a country where every fish is judged by its ability to climb a tree. Ventures like these might just help reduce the heartache of parents and the number of suicides of students who end up in the wrong professional courses.

Have faith in your ideas, especially the ones you have in college! Work on it with people you trust and befriended naturally. You could end up building the next MyCaptain!

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