There’s always a point in all our lives when we stop going with the flow and start taking charge of the direction our life is taking. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I started doing this quite late in my life….
My choice of academics, university, subjects to be studied and the career to be followed seemed to just happen without much thought or consideration. After graduating from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and completing a Masters in Biochemistry, from MSU Baroda, I all but floated through a decade of working at Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Before I knew it, I was an “expert” in Clinical Research with a pedigree and experience that made for a sought-after CV.
The first jolt came when I disclosed my intent to marry a senior director from the same company, due to a conflict of interest, I had to look for a different role. Rather than moving to a role, which involved a step-down, or would become redundant in the near future, I started to contemplate creating my dream job for myself. With a little help from ex-colleagues and mentors in the industry, I went into independent consulting. A big source of security came from the diploma program that I was working to set-up at St Xavier’s college in clinical research and running that course over weekends became my steady job. As consulting assignments trickled in, I dealt with the challenges of being self-employed- not having anywhere to dress-up and go on a Monday morning, not knowing when and where the next deposit in my bank was coming from but the hardest part for me was not having a group of people I belonged with at work.
On hindsight, this was the most productive yet uncomplicated period in my career, as my consulting work prospered and I enjoyed marital bliss and having my first child. My work continued after having a baby thanks to my supportive family and some great clients.
The next big step was when my husband, who thought I was having way too much fun being self-employed, decided to quit and together we realized our dream of forming our own company. In the past, when we talked about doing something together, we used to refer to it as A2 (A for Aditi and A for Aakash). One evening in Goa, a month before we filed for incorporation, we sat by the sea brainstorming over the name of our company and actually couldn’t come up with anything better, so we just went ahead and called it A-Square Healthcare Ventures!
My career took a turn once more when I was having my second son, life with 2 young boys left no time to manage clients and a consulting practice which invariably required travel and it was once again time to relook at my career choices. At about the same time, my husband who had been toying with some ideas on a business model to improve healthcare delivery, launched a start-up, which focused on this. Thanks to his consulting projects, he was already an established expert in this field and had enough credibility and contacts to set this plan in motion.
So now I had to choose between taking a break from work and becoming a full-time mommy, or resume my consulting career despite the strain on my personal life or doing something completely different. Naturally, I chose the last, it meant that I was going back to work (pro!), not compromising on family time (definitely a pro!), starting at the bottom in an industry I knew very little about (con!) and dealing with the feeling that I was tagging on to my husband’s business (Very big con!!!). What I hadn’t factored in and what continues to drive me, is how much I enjoy the challenge of doing something very different from what I have done before! Add to that the excitement of creating an organization from scratch and I was sure this was the right decision.
Is it easy – no way!! There are days when we curse our decision to run a start-up and that too together, but mostly there are days when I can’t imagine doing anything else. The change in me is that I’m much more comfortable now taking charge of my own life, driving key decisions and setting my own benchmarks for success. I guess the days of going with the flow are over and the time to shape our future is here…..
A clinical research professional-turned healthcare entrepreneur, Aditi has co-founded Mirai Health along with her husband Aakash. Mirai Health is their third baby and follows the birth of their two boys. Besides work, Aditi is passionate about Hindustani classical music and yoga.