- A lot of us have a few childhood dreams which we intend to pursue at some point in our life.
- Hi, I am Keshav Aggarwal a qualified Chartered Accountant who QUIT my job to chase my dreams.
- So, I cleared my CA in the first attempt and was working in an amazing profile at a Big 4 Accounting Firm when I realized I had to follow my heart. And I quit my job to pursue my heart desire that is ‘working at a radio station’.
- When I come across young professionals telling me ‘I am quitting my job to chase my dreams’ I never know what to say (and doubt there is any right thing as each situation is so different) but as someone who has quit jobs to chase dreams, I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts.
- Presently I have my own Chartered Accounting Practice in Delhi (India) and we specialize in Taxation.
- Here is my journey so far and lessons learned on the way!
My Journey Becoming a Chartered Accountant
Like any other caring parents, they always wanted me to do something which could help me make some respectable money using my technical skills and have a secure future. I was 16 years old when my family made a career choice for me “to become a Chartered Accountant” but all my life what I wanted to do was to work at a Radio Station!
I grew up listening and absorbing the radio for more than 10 years. I would often imagine myself interviewing celebrities, running my own radio shows, wondering what interactions I will have with callers if given an option. It was a SILENT DREAM since forever and it grew all over me with time.
CA was a roller coaster ride for me, I worked super hard and fortunately cleared all the Chartered Accountancy exams in First attempt at the age of 21. If you pursue CA from ICAI, India you start your CA journey after class 12 and start with articles while still in college, so if you clear all the exams in the first attempt you can become a CA at 21.
To be a Chartered Accountant from ICAI, one needs to clear 3 levels of exams:
- CPT: First level. You have to give this exam if you register for the CA course before graduating. I registered for CPT after class 12.
- IPCC: Second level exam. This consists of 2 groups – Group 1 & 2.
- CA Final: Last level of CA exam and has again 2 group – Group 1 & 2.
- 3 years of articles training: This starts after you clear IPCC, either both groups or anyone of them.
I got selected for campus placements and later started working in a Big 4 Accounting firm PwC as a Tax Consultant…but still, something was missing.
Becoming a Chartered Accountant was great but that doesn’t mean life is sorted. My life was sorted from the outside however from within I was still looking for something. Despite having the best job, what I could not find was – Satisfaction and Joy. So, all of you who are struggling with clearing CA (or with anything) remember to – Keep pushing as even a CA who cleared in the first attempt might be struggling.
Taking a Leap of Faith: Quitting My Job to Chase my Dreams
One day on a holiday to Dubai, I realized that I had to live my dream of working at a Radio Station…After all, if I did not, I would regret my entire life.
On returning I quit my job and chased my dream. My parents were super upset with me, but I had to do this for ME.
IF YOU CHASE YOUR DREAMS THE WAY SOMEHOW SHOWS UP – I got hired by a ‘Radio Station’ as an intern, gradually was handed over Radio City, Jaipur as a Station Content Producer, a weekend host and later RED FM as a morning show producer…Woohooo! RJs who I had only listened to on-the-radio were now my colleagues.
Sure salaries weren’t the same, but the experiences made it all worth it. Around the time when I was working at the Radio Station:
- I picked on fitness as a hobby
- Started a poetry club in Jaipur @thepoertyrecitals
- Worked upon an online magazine (CA Diaries) interviewed more than 50 celebrities
- Worked on infinite calls, content and learned lessons that NO BOOK COULD TEACH.
“Don’t let anyone steal your dream. It’s your dream, not theirs .”
Moving Back to My Profession: Starting my Own CA Firm
Over time the concerns of my family grew, the idea of earning a better salary overshadowed the need of having a life with lesser needs and I was called back to look at my Father’s business or work/start a CA practice of my own. It was a very tough decision. I was really upset for days…but I had to attend to family responsibilities as well.
In fact, I also found a better job in radio with a paycheque equating that of PwC (which is rare) but coming from a ‘typical baniya (a business community in India) family setting’ made it difficult for me.
But no complaints I lived some of my greatest years of life celebrating an uncanny saga of many stories, experiences, and learning. Best of all – I have learned that ‘DREAMS DO COME TRUE’. And I have lived my dream even if that means for a short time!
Now I am a practicing Chartered Accountant specializing in Taxation. By the way, did I tell you that Tax is my second love after Radio? So to all of you – We all can love again, even if the first one doesn’t work a lifelong.
Also, a big lesson learned – Nothing in life ever goes to waste. My working in a Radio has helped me open to a new set of clients in the Media field as well. Pursuing my radio dream had helped me here as well….so chase and follow your dreams!
- It’s a lot better to try something than not trying it in the first place and regretting later...so before quitting your job to chase your dreams know how much “Risk” you can handle when you make this decision.
- We all need to give our DREAMS THAT ONE CHANCE before it’s too late….but many a time that would not mean quitting our current job. Do consider if your dream can be achieved while working at a full-time job. Everything doesn’t need to be extreme!
- I pursued my passion and then got back to traditional CA Practice. So do not be afraid to explore, if things do not go as planned, remember, we can all bounce back.
- Remember – Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude.
Bonus: Advice from Chartered Accountant who Balance Two Careers
Rohit Mittal, Chartered Accountant & Singer
“I always knew I wanted to be an EDUCATED MUSICIAN.
I am working full time and also pursuing my career in Singing.
Being a Chartered Accountant gives me the liberty to pursue my dream – to be a musician without any fear.” Read my journey on Balancing Career and Passion
Aashna Bhatia, Chartered Accountant and Radio Jockey
“I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in July’ 13 and just a few months later i.e. in Oct’ 13 All India Radio came up with their auditions.
Out of 250 applicants, I was selected. I do not know what do you call it, but I was rewarded for being BRAVE. Along with being an RJ, I am also working with Ernst & Young in their assurance team. So Mon to Fri I am a CA and Saturday’s an RJ, such a colorful life.” You can read my journey – From a Chartered Accountant to a Radio Jockey
Now It’s Your Turn…
I’m sure I’m not the only one who hears people saying that they’re quitting jobs to chase dreams. What do you say to them?
And to those of you who’ve made the leap (or attempted it) – what do you wish people would have said to you?
You can follow me on – Keshav Aggarwal.