Quitting the familiar, corporate path for something bigger.
My name is Jasraj Hothi — ‘Jas’ normally causes fewer complications. A third-generation British Indian (my grandparents and parents came to England before me), I have lived in London for all of my life thus far.
I was lucky to have been given a very fortunate upbringing, with plenty of positive family experiences and holidays to remember, not to mention a very comfortable lifestyle. I also went to reputable primary and secondary schools, which I still view as a fortunate thing.
Quite early on, I realised that I was fairly ‘academic’, and I proceeded to have a head in my book up until the age of around 16 — willingly, I might add. After 2 more years at school, this is when things became interesting; I started two different degrees at two different Universities, and didn’t finish either. Truth be told, I was very confused for these few years.
Not knowing what I wanted to do, I had made the ‘shortlist’ even smaller — in the world of 2010, there were only certain paths one could take without a degree, no matter how ‘bright’ I might have been in my school days. At that point, things just ‘happened’… I feel into a recruitment job with one of the largest firms globally (I am pretty sure everyone else in the intake had a degree, so this gave me marginal satisfaction at the time). The competitive world of sales in a large corporate world was only me second office job, and certainly opened my eyes a little bit. Due to several reasons, things didn’t completely work out there; however, I took a hell of a lot away with me — I’d spent over a year there, and being thrown in the deep end was difficult, but served me well. The next company I joined was far smaller, and the culture was refreshingly different. It was here I realised how much more nimble a smaller firm can be, and just how different these outfits were to the large, corporate behemoths.
In my second full year at this company, I had establish myself as one of the top fee earners. I earned more that year than the majority of individuals my age — even my peers from my secondary school, many of whom had found themselves in well-paid legal and banking positions.
I loved the satisfaction of getting to really know the sector I recruited for, and the people (both clients and candidates) working within that. I found it really rewarding and satisfying building long-term relationships, and becoming the person that people trusted for their recruitment needs.
Despite this, something didn’t feel quite right. I was doing well financially — I was more than comfortable in that regard, I would be taken on nice client lunches at fancy City restaurants, I often go out drinking with colleagues and clients after work — this is what it was all supposed to be about, right?
This wasn’t the case, and this empty, dissatisfying feeling only grew. Being honest with myself, it was a feeling that had been there for a couple of years at least. The feeling would grow and shrink at different intervals, often dependent upon how much I had ‘billed’ that month (i.e. how much I had earned for the company, and therefore for myself — the more I made for the company, the more money I would ‘take home’ the coming quarter) — quite often, the good months in terms of billings would give a temporary sense of joy which temporarily numbers the dissatisfaction that I felt deep down.
The feeling came to a real climax early in 2015, when I went away for a week’s holiday to the Barbados; so often, it is when you remove yourself from the situation at home and away from all of ‘the noise’, that your true feelings really come to the fore and become amplified and clearer.
Things had become clearer than they had ever been before, and I began to make more and more realisations every day. (For example, that money is to a large extent over-rated, with more and more scientific evidence backing this up. It dawned on me that I had been placing way too much emphasis on financial reward — pursuing money alone was not the right thing to do, and also an unhealthy attitude to have.)
Whilst all of this had been going on, I was somewhat going through a real journey of self-discovery. I read a lot, specifically non-fiction works. There were 2 major things I discovered which had a profound effect on me:
1. I am an introvert: though I often dislike labels, the realisation of my introversion has had a truly liberating effect.
2. Positive Psychology — the science of happiness: I stumbled across this relatively new and exciting field, with real science and evidence proving that there are very real and actionable steps that we can all take to become happier people, and live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. It really is possible.
I came back from Barbados, and began getting my affairs in order. On Friday, 19th June 2015 I resigned from my job, shortly after receiving an offer to study a Masters in Positive Psychology and Coaching* (*this is not strictly true; I had a conditional offer pending verification of my references — the official, unconditional offer actually arrived in my email inbox whilst I was handing my resignation in to my Director).
I believe, and hope, that this is the beginning of a fulfilling new chapter, in pursuit of a happier and more meaningful way of life. Exciting times lie ahead…