Anubhav Kandpal is a writer/consultant/ex-chef. His career has taken him to many places as he pursues his interests. He maintains that his career path is not per se one that would make parents proud or to please others in general, but rather one that helps him to express his uniqueness. We decided to interview him once again, to better understand where he’s coming from and how his views on career have changed since the last time we spoke.
It’s been a while since we last spoke. How are you? What have you been up to?
I’ve been doing well. I have been working on my blog Mindless Musings. Through my blog I share and encourage everyday philosophical thought and discussion among people who read it. My intention is also to provoke and make all of us think twice about our assumptions, about what we take for granted and what we choose to ignore. I’ve also been working on a book which encapsulates and expands on some of the topics I mention in my blog.
That sounds so interesting! It’s a very different career path than the Conscious Kitchen work you did previously. What led you to make this career switch?
Due to COVID-19 the work I did with Conscious Kitchen slowed down quite a bit. Unfortunately, the pandemic also halted another business endeavour of mine, namely some consultancy projects. Through a series of events I was able to work as a chef elsewhere, for a short period of time. As I have been cooking for 7 to 8 years, I jumped at the opportunity. However, things worked out differently than I thought. Though I love cooking, I realised I didn’t want to be a chef. Rather, I wanted to channel my passion and creativity through another medium. It was around this time that I began to write about philosophy. Thus, the ideas for Mindless Musings and my book were born. I will most likely keep writing and try to start up my consulting business again after the pandemic has officially ended.
How did you realise you were interested in consultancy and what kind of consultancy services did/will you offer?
I actually learned some of these methods through my work at Conscious Kitchen, for example having crucial conversations. Initially, a business contact of mine offered me an opportunity to consult on a facilitation of some NGOs and small, progressive companies. In my consultancy I attempt to give people advice on how to create better team dynamics and cultivate a healthier work environment for both the individual workers and the company as a whole. I usually begin by letting the team do some activities so we can better understand their team dynamics. After that the teams and I will have crucial conversations in which we address the underlying issues that are occurring in their teamwork. Issues that are often left unspoken, but that unconsciously influence the performances and overall atmosphere on the workfloor. In our conversation we discuss how they can improve on overcoming these issues. I actually write about some of these sentiments in my book.
Yes, you mentioned that you were writing a book. Can you tell us more about that?
In my book I will be exploring philosophical ideas of life and the fundamental concepts that guide our lives such as love, time and purpose. I had begun to reflect on some parts of my life through writing and realised that it fueled my creativity. After getting some more encouragement from my friends, I decided to write the blog to see if others were also interested in reading my work. Turns out they were. In addition to all this encouragement, I also found an inner sense of determination. A while back, I found myself climbing up the side of a volcano. Climbing the volcano was one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever done. I told myself that if I could make it to the top, I could write a book. I managed to reach the top and I began writing my book not long after. I don’t yet know when I will publish my work, as I’m still in the process of writing my first draft. But, I am excited to pursue this project.
Sounds like you’ve gone through a lot of changes over the past few months. Your career has clearly taken on many different challenges. What advice would you give to students who are about to graduate and officially join the workforce?
Often when young people are just starting out, they tend to go for jobs that are in alignment with the expectations of outside forces, for example your parents, or society. Often they get into this job for the security of the status that it provides them with. But the novelty of security and status will wear off over time. So instead of trying to live up to other people’s expectations of what you should do, perhaps it would be best to allow yourself to explore and pursue your interests. For example, I love cooking. But, after being a chef for a while I realized that it was not something I wanted to do long-term. I wasn’t interested in being a Michelin star chef, I’d rather just be a good cook.
What would your advice be for students who do not yet know where their interests lie?
After graduation you are like a deer in headlights, feeling obligated to make major life decisions. To be honest I find that reflections and analyses can only take you so far. Alan Watts, a philosopher, has this quote: What would you do if money was no object? And after asking this question he urges the audience to pursue the activity they named. In case that does not help, I would recommend the students to think about what they liked to do when they were a child and try to pursue those interests. Another way of going about finding out your interests is to see what makes you unique. This doesn’t have to be anything grand. For example, your uniqueness could lie in the way you set a table. People tend to appreciate these unique traits you have. If you keep working on these interests and insert your uniqueness whilst you grow in these interests, the money will come to you.
How can students grow their interests to the point where they can earn money from it?
They need to follow learning. They can follow their interests by learning more about it. For example, – cells can adapt by taking in external information and applying it to a new environment. Similar to the cell, you can put yourself in new situations when you’re pursuing your interests and adapt to that situation. The learning lies in how you adapt to that new situation. Through that learning you can grow your interests. This growth will have an expansive effect on your career.
What would you say to students who have multiple interests? How should they go about building a career based on their interests?
A diversity of interests feed into each other. They can complement each other and you will become more aware of what you like and dislike or what you are good at and what you’re not good at. Your career paths are not static, but dynamic. There is no one job that is going to fit you throughout your life. Be prepared to go through multiple careers. You may have different jobs within your career that allow you to grow. The world needs deep generalists, not specialists. Make a blend of your interests, this is a manifestation of our uniqueness. So, explore all your interests and at some point you will be able to connect the dots and make a career out of it.
What final advice would you give students who are about to embark on this path of building a career on their interests?
Be confident in what you’re doing. Believe in yourself, your ambitions and abilities, regardless of what others may think.
Follow Anubhav Kandpal @anubhavxkandpal
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