Parallel Path

parallel_pathToday I spoke to an enthusiastic group of people at one of world’s leading insurance majors. The idea of this article emerged there — discussing the possibility of doing what you love.

People started talking about their dreams and some of those unfilled because of compulsion of working for money. I suggested parallel path as a solution because of my conviction that in near future, it will be common for people to pursue two careers side by side.

How do you make success of two careers at one go. Simple establish yourself in first — it may take 2-5 years depending upon your field — and then move on to the second one.

What is the best parallel career?  There is no set answer to it but there is a simple path. If you already are doing what you like then get into something which is an extension of your current work. If you are just doing your current job — not liking it much – then you should do something which is close to your heart and try to make it your core work 2-4 years down the line.

Let us explore some examples, first as an extension of your current work.

Sales person to a professional speaker: Both roles are about influencing people – speakers influence a group and sales people mostly a single client. Both should know about the core benefit of their idea, service or product. Do you know that Anthony Robbins, one of world’s most famous motivational speakers started as a salesperson for Jim Rohn, the self-help pioneer?

Spread the message of fitness: You exercise and have a good body. You can start as an instructor working at a local gym in the evening. Want to go a step ahead. Start writing a book for fitness enthusiasts. You can also volunteer to teach underprivileged kids the importance of fitness.

Teacher to heritage guide: A history teacher can explore the option of becoming a heritage walk guide. Start by working part-time in evening with an established walk-organizer and later when your network increases start your own version. Such walks are a big hit worldwide.

If you want to experiment first before jumping the ship — take a group of your friends out in the evening and show them places of historical importance. Give them a perspective which only a lover of history and heritage can give. Start small and scale if that is your vision.

Different path from what you are doing currently

Designer to dancer: If you are sitting throughout the day as a web designer or game developer then in evenings you can explore learning dance first and becoming a dance instructor later. This will get you moving, give you a chance to release your nervous energy and will make your calmer; not to mention additional money that you will make as an instructor.

Find a dance studio which is midway between your office and home, better if it is close to your home. If you are in a job then you can learn before or after work. Entrepreneurs and self-employed can set their own time.

Housewife to VA: If you are a housewife then you can start working as a temp just for fun. There are many opportunities around – you just need to look for them. Housewives can explore the option of becoming a VA (virtual assistant).

Look for interesting mix. If your work now puts strain on body by travelling often then indulge in something that involves more of brain and less of body, and vice versa.

How to start and move ahead on parallel path?

Share knowledge: Simplest way to start on parallel path is to share with people what you already know. Write an email to your friends about your experiences with a new technology. See that it will be of some use to them. If you are into SEO (Search Engine Optimization) then share what it is and how it can benefit businesses that your friends are associated with as employees or owners. If people like what you have to say then volunteer to train them in person.

Good friends and people who appreciate a good deed will mostly likely share it with more people. Idea is to share it with people who can benefit from your knowledge. Do not think too much about it, just write and share with who you feel can use the information.

People, even with right intentions, may not share it; in such a situation just send them a request to share with their friends and colleagues.

If you are an economics graduate then analyze annual budget and share it with colleagues and friends who are not savvy like you. Help them plan their important purchases to benefit from budget.

You can also shoot some of your own videos and put them on a free video hosting service like YouTube. Start with sharing the link with some of your friends. Do not push too hard, if it is good it will go far.

Volunteer: Offer your services for free to a non-profit serving old age people who are alone at home. Devote some free hours at a local elementary school. If Olympics or Commonwealth games are coming to your city then apply to become a volunteer. If all slots are already full and you want to do it — what about writing to the CEO. It is not very hard these days to find the email id of a high level official. Don’t be spammy, just give the person a genuine reason to look at your mail or listen to what you have to say.

Start small and do the best you can: Parallel Path gives you a chance to live your dreams. You wanted to become an Olympian while you were a teenager. Now you have crossed 40. What to do? Simple, innovate. Think about creating a league of your favorite game for those over 40. Just create a contest name something like 40 but naughty — The Great *COMPANY NAME *GAME league. Send a communication through company intranet or send plain old email inviting colleagues and friends aged 40-50 to participate. Try doing this and you soul will be immensely satisfied.

Have your cake and eat it too: Want to travel but stuck in a dead-end job with long hours — start with a weeklong vacation to some unusual place. Better still, take photos, many of them —write about your experience.  Submit this article to some local and national travel publications. Small online publications may be your best bet. If you get no response which will be the likely case when you do it first time — just post it to a popular travel forum and interact with people there.

Repeat this with your next trip. Try writing good and then post on the forum. Share forum link with publications. May be this time you will taste success.

Keep on repeating after your every quarterly travel. Hopefully you will become a published travel writer before your first full year of traveling. Just make sure about uniqueness of the places you go — I said unusual not “run of the mill”.

Club your vacations with learning: You are serious about Yoga. Take a break once a year and learn Mysore Yoga. Learn for few years and become a certified teacher. This is a highly valued expertise and gets you started on a lucrative and satisfying career. You just need to practice Yoga for 2 hours a day during vacations.

For lovers of fast: You want to get started on parallel path really fast. There are some options – become a scuba diver or a DJ (Disc Jockey). Becoming a DJ can be a good choice for you if you have a thing for music but cannot sing to save your life. This you can do for fun or money. Both are important. Choice is yours.

Learn to market yourself: Are you a technology junkie with a heart for writing songs? What is the way for you to start the journey on parallel path? Just engage a good singer, record in a local professional sound studio and put it online on YouTube and also host on a web-based radio station. If you yourself can sing than do not miss a chance to sing at a family function. At least your soul will be satiated.

Who knows, your musical career may launch sooner than expected. You will have good success if you be persistent with promotion. Even if it does not work you will be richer in experience.

Hope I have given you many ides to start with. You may share your own ideas and thoughts in comments or ask questions if you have any?

Wishing your success on a parallel path.

Photo Credits