3 inspiring stories of men rocking their unconventional careers!
Today, with the world rapidly expanding, men too, consider career options that don’t fit the ‘conventional’ box society creates for them…Here are 3 men who have taken up unconventional careers & are doing great!
“As a kid, I wanted to become a zoo keeper. But after I completed my graduation, Appa faced a loss in his business. My elder brother and I, we had to take charge; I took a job at a call centre. For 8 years, I juggled client calls and late nights–it was so mundane, but I was doing it for my family. And after I got married, the responsibilities doubled and my ‘unconventional’ passion took a backseat.
But in 2013, life took an unexpected turn–I had to travel to Singapore for work. The word ‘Singapore’ brought back memories. I had wanted to visit the Singapore Zoo for as long as I can remember!
And when I got there, it was surreal. I spent the day in awe, clicking photos. There were no cages; the animals were roaming around freely. Those few hours there rekindled a lost fire within me–I was meant to be there, working at the zoo.
So, before coming back to India, I sent in my CV to the Zoo management. And 2 weeks later, they called me for an interview! I jumped in excitement and pinched myself! My wife cried tears of happiness–she knew how badly I wanted this!
And 2 months later, I got a call saying that I’d bagged the position of a Junior Animal Care Officer–It was the best day of my life!
I knew my unconventional career came with sacrifices–I’d have to live away from my family, but for years I’d lived for others; I wanted to do this for myself. So even though there were challenges like not knowing the local language or not having friends, I adjusted and Singapore started feeling like home.
I loved my job– the 5 female elephants I work with are like my family members. I grew so close to Komali, the oldest elephant, that whenever she saw me walking towards her, she’d trumpet! During holidays, I’d fly back to India; my wife would visit me during summer. And in 2019, my daughter Diya was born.
I visited her last in Diwali and then the lockdown happened! Diya was 5 months old when I last saw her and now, she’s 19 months old. Today, she jumps around and talks a little. Just yesterday, she said, ‘Appa….I love you’; my heart melted.
I’ve missed important moments in Diya’s life–her first word, her first tooth. She doesn’t understand that I’m away for work, so she keeps asking, ‘Appa, why don’t you come see me?’ I often go to Komali and talk to her about not being able to go back home; Komali touches me as if to console me. My wife reassures me, ‘It’s just a matter of time’ but every minute, feels like a year.
Sometimes, it’s about making tough choices–I’ve missed watching my daughter grow up to pursue my passion. But I know, someday she’ll understand. Until then, I’m making the most of my time at the zoo and looking forward to the day she visits and sees Appa's zoo!”
“When Kruti and I became parents, I wanted to play an active role in raising our children; we were living in Australia. After my night shifts, I’d stay up to make our daughter’s breakfast and get them ready for school. On the way, they’d ask the best questions–‘Papa, why does the traffic light turn green instead of purple?’
Around then, my wife began planning her business venture; it was her dream to start a clinic in India. But after we moved here, I didn’t get a job because of my age; I was 39. So I helped Kruti set up the clinic–but in its first year, it didn’t do well. We faced financial difficulties and started having fights. Kruti was the one earning; I decided to step up and look after our children.
I told her, ‘I’ll be a stay at home dad.’ She didn’t take me seriously; 'How many stay at home dads do you know?’ she asked. Even my mom said, ‘I was a working mother; what will people say?’ I could sense the attitude of my in-laws change as well due to my unconventional choice. People would ask, ‘What else do you do other than being a stay at home dad?’ as if being a stay at home dad isn’t a job by itself!
I’d always been a hands-on father, so I knew I’d make the transition easily. My days would start at 6:30 AM; I’d iron my girls’ uniform the day before to save time! I learned to cook–I’d check their tiffins to see if they’d eaten everything. I’d ask, ‘Did you enjoy papa’s cooking?’ They’d nod and I’d be so happy!
While the kids were in school, I’d help my wife at the clinic. Then I’d rush to pick up the girls again; I’d be the only dad in a sea of mothers there. I’d feel left out; the mothers had their own groups. But they got used to seeing me and made me a part of their gang; we’d discuss homework, housework and recipes! I became a familiar face with teachers too!
I even learned to tie my daughter’s hair! When my girls would say, ‘Papa, you made me pretty,’ I’d feel like the best hairstylist in the world! I’d take them to play in the park and get on the swings with them! After completing our homework, we’d play UNO and binge on cartoons!
Kruti’s business also started booming! She said to me, ‘You can’t imagine how much this means to me.’ And last year, I found a work-from-home job. You’ll often see me on my laptop in the kitchen cooking for my girls while juggling work calls. My babies made me bake a cake for their class and told everyone, ‘We have the best father!’
Kruti and I married to support each other, not confine one another. I never looked at her and thought I found someone who’d cook and clean my home. And she didn’t marry me so that I could earn! We’re simply doing what’s best for our family. It’s always about partnership, not ownership!”
“I quit my finance job in 2017 to become a dating coach for men; I always enjoyed studying the male-female dynamics. My work would bore me so much that I’d skip it, go to cafes and talk to people. I’d hear stories from men and women about their personal lives; the sexes would often complain about lack of dating experience before getting married. The conversations were insightful and with my acquired knowledge, I blogged and answered questions about male-female dynamics on Quora.
And to my surprise, men in particular would reach out to me for advice. The most asked questions I’d get were – ‘How to initiate conversations with women?’ and ‘How to present ourselves without coming across creepy?’ That prompted me to think – ‘What if I make a career as a dating coach?’
Thankfully, my parents were supportive of my ‘unconventional career’ choice and I followed my heart. I initially started writing for dating websites. That got me recognised and contacted by men to help them personally.
And today, 5 years later, I’ve helped over 500 men play to their strengths in the dating game. I teach men how to understand chemistry, situations and context while talking to women. But especially, how to express themselves with their eyes. I tell my male clients, ‘Over 90% of all human communication is nonverbal. Make use of it!’
I recall how I onced helped a client; he was 34 and had grown up in a conservative home where he was discouraged to mingle with women. I remember walking with him in a store; 2 girls behind us were giggling. When I encouraged my client to smile back at them, he hesitated, ‘It’s inappropriate.’ That’s when I realized that my client’s notion of what was ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’ had been imposed on him his entire life!
It took over 7 months for me to break him out of his shell and be comfortable around women. And today, nearly 2 years later, his social circle includes plenty of girl friends; he’s been in meaningful relationships too. I felt proud when he told me, ‘You made me become the version I’ve always wanted to be!’
Then there was another client who was a hit on dating apps; he was a good conversationalist! However, he had zero interaction skills with women outside of the app! Once, while sitting with him in a bar, I saw a woman trying to exchange glances with him. He was so nervous that I held his hand and took him to the woman! Even though his interaction wasn’t perfect, sensing his willingness to open up allowed me to work with him. And today, he’s about to propose to the love of his life; a woman he approached and spoke to at a wedding! To hear him say, ‘You taught me to trust my inner voice,’ is delightful!
Honestly, I love my work. But I’m often misunderstood; people believe I’m like Salman Khan’s character in ‘Partner.’ But the way I see it, I help in bringing people together. And you tell me, is there any better job in the world other than the one that gets you to your happily ever after?”
Being India’s biggest storytelling platform, Humans of Bombay is all about bringing you extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Today, we bring you this inspiring stories of men choosing unconventional careers to encourage you to follow your heart! If you’d like to read more such stories, check out our book and dive into the diverse tales of a country with billion beating hearts!