People in their late 20s to early 30s are changing career paths, giving their childhood dreams a shot, and pursuing new professions. But, this isn’t always an easy journey.

Deepak Reddy (left) explaining the scene on the sets of 'Manasanamaha' along with the cast and crewDeepak Reddy, an Industrial Engineer turned filmmaker on the sets of 'Manasanamaha'
Features Human Interest Friday, December 03, 2021 - 14:57

Gandham Chandrudu was a ticket collector with the South Central Railways. The first in his family to complete Class 10, he cracked the Railway Recruitment Board (RRR) through which he completed his intermediate and joined the railways when he was 18 years old. For nearly a decade he worked in the railways in Hyderabad. He had a stable job and was on a solid career path. But at the back of his mind was his childhood dream, to enter the civil services. 

“I am from a village called Kothapadu in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. Growing up, we did not have proper infrastructure, like roads, electricity or water supply,” says Chandrudu. “I always wanted to do something to improve things but did not know what I could do. Eventually, I realised that becoming a civil servant was necessary to bring change and that became my passion,” he adds. 

In 2009, at the age of 28, he wrote his Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and passed to join the 2010 IAS batch.

Chandrudu isn’t the only one who considered a serious career change to follow his passion. Plenty of folks in their late 20s to early 30s are changing paths, giving their childhood dream a shot, and pursuing new professions. But, this isn’t always an easy journey. They have left stable jobs, faced rejection, and some even lacked family support on their journey. Nevertheless, they persevered. 

According to a LinkedIn New Career Pathways survey released in 2019, in a survey conducted across 11 Indian cities, about 61% of professionals said they were considering changing career pathways. 

For Chaitanya Rao Madadi, acting was always his first love, however, after doing his MBA in 2013, he had landed a high-paying job in Australia. “I was earning lakhs per month at the age of 26,” says Chaitanya. “But I was very unhappy and missed acting.”

During his younger days, he used to participate in dance shows and audition for television shows. “I was always interested to be on screen,” recalls Chaitanya. So, in 2014, he quit his job and came back to India to try his hand at show business. 

Chaitanya on the sets of an upcoming film

Turning point

For Chaitanya, realising that even having what most people would consider a dream career – a high-paying, stable job in a foreign land – didn’t make him happy, and pushed him to follow his dreams. 

Some, like Hyderabad- based Naveena Ghanate, thought they were on the right path career-wise when an interest in a completely different field came out of nowhere. Naveena had scored 95% in her Class 12 exams and got top marks in math, physics and chemistry. Her future looked set, after doing her BTech, she landed a job as a software engineer in a top multinational company. 

On the side, she took on a part-time job – for a couple of hours a day she worked with a news website. “I realised how much I enjoyed writing and reporting,” says Naveena.

In 2016, at the age of 27, she was in the US and got the opportunity to work for a tech company in a role she had wanted. “I just woke up to the feeling that I didn't want to do this anymore. The US was neither exciting and the job I aspired to didn't satisfy me. It was a spur of the moment decision and within a week I decided to leave and go back to India and look for a journalism job,” says Naveena.

What worked in Naveena’s favour was that while she was working in software she managed to finish her Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism via a distance learning course. She also built skills in news writing through her part-time job and that has helped her land a job in a national English daily within a year of leaving her software role.

Naveena Ghanate

A lot of learning

Dream jobs don’t just land on people’s laps. There is a lot of learning that has to take place and rejection as well. In the case of Chaitanya, he went for acting classes with a senior casting director, Ramanandh, who has trained several actors in Tollywood. While the training helped, for five years he struggled, trying to get a break as an actor. "Those were very difficult days, I used to ride long distances from my home in Uppal to Film Nagar for auditions every day, I was running out of my savings and didn’t want to ask my parents for money.”

This is echoed by Deepak Reddy, the 30-year-old who studied Industrial Engineering. He called it quits on his job in Texas in 2017 and came back to Hyderabad to become a filmmaker. “I had to start from scratch. I ran from pillar to post trying to find a job opportunity in the field,” says Deepak. When that didn’t work, with the help of well-wishers, he managed to produce a short film on a budget of Rs 5 lakh and used it to showcase his work. 

Despite lacking any professional or academic knowledge in filmmaking, Deepak spent hours learning by trial and error and studying the works of others. He has made three short films so far. His 2020 short film, Manasanamaha, was shot in 5 days and was selected for film festivals worldwide and entered for Academy Awards consideration this year.

Now, Deepak has been roped in by a major production house to make a multilingual feature film with a star cast. Meanwhile, Chaitanya bagged the role of Prudhvi in 30 weds 21, a popular web series, for which he has won a lot of recognition.

Both say that there was misgiving at times, and they wondered whether continuing on was the right choice. 

No looking back

While working his night shift job with the railways, Chandrudu had to find time to study. “I used to go for coaching classes in the daytime and work in the night while managing to sleep in between. With six months of such preparation, I could crack the civils,” he recalls.

Now, Gandham Chandrudu has not only achieved his life-long dream, but he has also been able to improve the lives of countless people. Chandrudu served as the Anantapur District Collector till recently. In his first posting as a sub-collector, he ensured that about 20,000 tribal people in Rampachodavaram village voted for the first time since independence. He is fondly called the ‘people’s collector’ in light of his good governance. 

Gandham Chandrudu

He was recently appointed as a Special Secretary for the Minority Affairs Department in Andhra Pradesh.

For Naveena, there has been looking back. With support from her best friend and now husband, Bharat, she has become a successful journalist and over the past five years covered everything from politics to civic issues in Hyderabad. “There is never a dull moment, Life is exciting because every day is a new day, a new story,” says Naveena.

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