Balancing Dual Careers – Case Study by Mentoria


Last Updated: August 30, 2022
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We all have that one favourite book we can never have enough of. We might have read it gazillion times and even know the book by rote.

One such favourite of mine is Arabian Nights and Days by Najib Mahfouz.  In a nutshell, the book sums up the meaning of life very simplistically – life is all about making choices. Sometimes we learn from them; sometimes we don’t.

It’s true that we all in our little ways write our own destiny by the choices we make. There is no right or wrong involved in this process; but a learning experience, which eventually determines what we become. Choosing the right career is one such crucial choice we make.

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There are times when we are interested in more than one career path and find it difficult to choose one over the other. We end up pursuing dual careers. There are several reasons why people indulge in this idea – having more than one interest, pursuing a passion while holding on to a day job or pursuing two careers one is equally in love with.

Biprorshee Das

I remember the first time I met Biprorshee Das and realised he had more than one passion he chose to pursue professionally. As much as he loved writing, he felt just as strongly about music. I was always curious about how he juggled both of his interests. When I asked Biprorshee what he was more passionate about – music or words, this is what he had to say.

Biprorshee Das

“Who do you love more, your mother or your father? You’ll never have an answer to that. Music has been an integral part of my life since childhood just as how I’ve forever been in love with the English language.”

He has always been interested in literature and writing. Das retrospects on his early childhood memories, when he would love writing letters to his friends, during the days of snail mail. This habit of his had a significant role to play when he chose to turn to journalism and writing as a career option and even contributed to his style.

“I began my career as a financial journalist. It was somewhere down the line that I found my niche and style, writing on various other beats like advertising and marketing, cinema, music, pop culture etc,” he says.

Biprorshee Das singing

Image courtesy: Vibhu Tejas

Music as a career is still seen as unconventional by many. Hence Das opted to be a journalist and later, a digital content professional. However, when he is not editing copies or writing content, he will be found rehearsing and performing with his heavy metal band, Albatross.

“I work seven days – five, sometimes six as the Content guy and the rest in the studio singing for my band,” he says.

He has little interest in turning into a full-time musician. Not just because he thinks it isn’t the most viable option when it comes to settling monthly bills, he still hasn’t had enough of his love for words.

Das further adds that if he pursued music full time, that part of his life would get commercialised; something he isn’t keen on.  

“I have never given it a serious thought. I am happy with the current arrangement. Maybe what works for me is that I rarely ever have a Plan B. To me, it is always about only Plan A and making it work. It has never been about falling back on music if my career as a writer doesn’t go as planned or vice versa.”

Portfolio Careers is a popular concept in the West. Herein, instead of having one full-time job, people pursue a part-time gig in addition to the regular job or multiple freelance assignments. This entirely depends on what drives one’s interests and passions.

India isn’t far behind when it comes to this approach. There are many who prefer pursuing multiple careers instead of one. I happened to catch up with two such women who are successfully pursuing multiple careers.

Ahla Mitha

Ahla Mitha in her studio

“I feel very passionately about design and love turning spaces around; whether it’s setting up someone’s home or doing up a wedding. Eventually, I love seeing people happy with the end product,” says Ahla Mitha who works as an interior design consultant and a floral designer.

Earlier, the idea of people specialising in one career was favoured. People with multiple interests were usually apprehensive about exploring fields they were keen on, lest they should faill

Ushma Mehta

Ushma Mehta works with a Chartered Accountancy firm. She is also enthusiastic about her work as a Wedding Planner.

Ahla Mitha

“When I began pursuing chartered accountancy, I was not very clear about what I wanted to do. So I thought that the next best option was to join my dad’s firm and study further,” she says.

Multitasking can be a bit stressful, but it can be very gratifying to those doing it. We all go through a process of being indecisive at times, but as we filter our thoughts, we get the answers, which in turn help us in reaching our goals.

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Mehta began her career by joining her father’s chartered accountancy firm, as she was unsure of the path to pursue. She had a vague idea but it was only after she began working did she find clarity.

“With wedding planning, I get to tap into the creative side of me. It’s something I love doing. In fact, it’s something I have always wanted to do. But CA is something that gives me financial stability,” she says.

Not all companies encourage you to nurture more than one skill you might be good at. There are a few such organisations that allow you to think on your feet and provide a happy work environment for people with multiple interests. Certain careers often lend themselves better to people with multiple passions, including those that involve some autonomy.

“I am used to being my own boss, taking my own decisions, having the freedom to choose projects that really interest me. It’s always challenging running your own company, but by the end of the day, it gives me flexibility and allows me to indulge in my creative side,” says Mitha.

She eventually chose to start her own outfit called –  Fyuga Furnishings and The Floral Company instead of being employed in an organisation.

Contrary to popular belief having more than one skill set or career, is not a sign of weakness. As a matter of fact, it can be very gratifying and sometimes, even financially rewarding.

A very wise man once said,

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost.

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