From a little kid we are frequently asked the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Of course at that age we are innocent and think nothing of it; in fact it is cute and adorable. But now looking back on it, I realize just how big that question is & how it significantly impacted my life. From a young age we are obligated to start thinking about our future & who we want to grow up to be.
In terms of a building a luxurious life, science is seen as one of the most ideal jobs, especially in my Indian culture. As you may have noticed, many people of Indian descent have become doctors or dentists. But I didn't want to pursue just any scientifical field. Since I was a little girl, I wanted to become an animal veterinarian. Yes, it paid more than well which means I could potentially live in a large modernized home and live an enjoyable life. But it is competitive and required a lot of schooling. However, the main reason I wanted to become a veterinarian was to help animals. Money was not a concern to me. Anyone who knows me knows that I love and adore animals. I grew up with an African Grey parrot named Raj; I had started horse-back riding when I was 8 years old, and I took care of pets when the owners were away on vacation. At such a young age I had already planned out what steps to take to reach my career goal.
Perseverance: Then comes high school; known as either the best four years of ones' life or the toughest four years. In this period, children are growing, changing, and slowly taking steps to transition into adulthood. This was one of the crucial points in my life. Classmates were getting prepared to figure out their career path and what school to attend. However, this late in the game I was feeling overwhelmed and scared as a huge change occurred during this time. I was not able to follow through with some courses required for my program. At this time in my life I wanted to join my friends in moving to the next step: University. But how could I if all I've ever wanted to be was a veterinarian and nothing else? Thanks to some guidance from teachers and especially my parents, a few quick changes were made. As my Mother would always say: 'It's not the end of the world." Of course at the time I didn't take much consideration for this philosophy since I was feeling like a failure. But there I was, applying for a new degree in University.
So here began a new chapter in my life: University. I was able to refine my courses and switch to pursue a career involving a Communications Degree. This opened up a new set of opportunities in the sense that I could potentially have a career in advertising or social media platforms for an animal-related business. While attending University I was working at my parents' footwear business. Not only did we sell footwear, but my Dad was also a Cobbler. Here I managed the social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram), developed the online website and gained valuable customer service experience. It was during this time that I became curious about the shoe repair industry and continuously watched over my Dad while he worked. I have been working in this business for all my 4 years of University. Finally I reached the time of adulthood and I graduated from University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Communication program.
Branching out on your own can be very tough especially as a newly graduate. As a young intellect I was excited and optimistic with my new degree in hopes of finding the job fit for my field. What school doesn't teach you though is how the employment really works in reality. While applying for jobs we are dealt with the possibility of having little qualifications and a degree that isn't sufficient enough to guarantee a position in the field. Specific qualifications such as experience applying your degree into practice is required but for newly graduates we are unable to attain it. At this point I had applied for any type of job; retail, government..etc. Here is where I was hired at a large fashion chain in the downtown mall, Rideau Centre. Working here gave a different perspective and provided a variety of different learning experiences; many not so good ones however. With small businesses you are able to be yourself and give the customer a welcoming and fun experience shopping in the store. However, I noticed a significant difference working at this fashion store. We as employees are expected to reach a certain target everyday and are forced to persuade the customers to buy the item(s) on the spot. Plus working on commissions doesn't allow for good teamwork and impressions for your other teammates. I had started to feel discouraged and working here was no longer an option as the stress levels were extremely high. With my unhappiness my ability to perform was significantly low. But where else could I go? At this point in time being 22 years old I felt pressured to finally start building my career. The only problem is what job? Thinking about ones' future is significant as it takes time to build and prosper. I wanted to start early so I can still enjoy life and earn a living. I noticed majority of my friends were on their way to building their future (i.e. applying for Master's degree, co-op..etc), while I was still contemplating on what my career would be. Even though yes it is okay to take time and not everyone finds their true passion at the same time, it was very important to find the direction I wanted to go. But little did I know that my true calling was right in front of me the whole time.
Passion: Shoes have always been a part of my life from the day I was born. My Dad being the cobbler, it was something I was able to learn about from a young age. Venturing out of my family's business really made me realize how much I missed it. Here, I am able to grow into a business woman and develop valuable skills from my family. And that's when I knew that following my Dad's footsteps and learning the trade is what I was meant to do for the rest of my life. My Dad has always believed in the 'do what you love.
Follow Nikita's journey on her very own blog at https://cobblerinheelz.wordpress.com/