The Twentysomething Paradox – Arushi Jain

I have a paradoxical relationship with the word passion. Among my peers, rejecting the notion of pursuing your passion would be deemed nihilistic. To someone a bit more seasoned, “following your passion” would be quickly rebuked as a fallacy – a privilege to those who can afford it. The truth is I so desperately want to discover my passion but am crippled by realism. Yet, is it in fact realism that holds me back or cowardliness?

 

Before we dive into a philosophical debate, it may be useful to understand my background. The one word I used to proudly call myself was creative. I grew up dreaming I was going to be a fashion designer, then a journalist, and then a writer. I created my own fashion magazines called Cool Kids and newspapers called AJ Times (yes, I know, the names are ingenious) and sold them to my friends and family for a meager cost. Now, living in Silicon Valley (yes, I know, even more ingenious), I would love for this to be the classic “cute and clever entrepreneur story” as a child that every iconic founder has. Unfortunately, I was far more concerned with “awareness” instead of “profits.” Needless to say, it seems fitting that I now have a career in marketing.

 

That brings me to the present. I am now perpetuating my knack for ingenuity as a product marketer at a B2B enterprise software tech company in San Francisco. Self deprecation aside, I do feel this path fits into a piece of my narrative. When I was looking at jobs post-college, I was attracted to the freedom of tech startups – I am an ENFP. My definition of hell is “every minute of the rest of your life has been scheduled for you – and it’s a long series of arbitrary, solitary tasks,” which basically seems like the life of an investment banker so no thanks). I choose product marketing. Strategy with creativity.

 

I just completed my four years at Rubrik. I was one of the first hundred employees and second product marketer on a global marketing team of eight people. We have built one of the fastest growing enterprise companies in less than five years, and it’s honestly been an incredible ride. I am grateful to people I have worked with and have a deeper understanding of business, marketing, and product than I ever thought possible at this point in my life.

 

The answer to the first question I posed at the beginning of this piece depends on who you ask and when you ask me. Working in tech has satisfied my intellectual curiosity, not to mention the lifestyle benefits that come with it. However, the word passion continues to haunt me. That “creative” child in me who dreamed of being a writer is still there. I’m not sure what label fits me anymore. Writer. Marketer. Techie. 

 

Then again, I’m only twenty-six. 

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