Every adversity you face in life, teaches you a lesson and makes you stronger. I realized this in 2019, when, during a journey across the Pacific, I took to the bed for 18 days. I survived off pain killers as the veins near my groin and thighs had swollen up. My active lifestyle and my extremely physically-demanding work on ships, had resulted in a mixture of varicose and varicocele veins.
After much thought and discussions with both my family and my doctor, I decided that surgery wasn’t an option since it could affect my fertility. I was still very young. With my condition, I could not continue working in my field. So, with a heavy heart, I had to let go of the profession I loved and my dream of becoming a Chief Engineer someday.
Depression struck me fast with me clinging on to my past and cursing my luck. I was ready to give up on life, which affected me both physically and mentally. I had always been an athletic person, but this difficult phase completely changed my appearance. Then, one day, I decided to snap out of it and not let myself go further down this gorge of grief.
Instead of cribbing, I decided to utilize my time in figuring out my next plan of action. I did a SWOT analysis of myself, shifted base and got an internship in the operations team of a start-up. Meanwhile, I started networking with my seniors and people from the shipping industry.
My internship taught me to work with data and the importance of analytics. I learnt how start-ups, and operations and supply chains worked. This helped me land a job in a boutique ship brokerage firm as a Trainee Broker, and gave me the opportunity to work closely with the shipping industry, assist in closing deals, and understand the shipping business. Later, I moved to the commodity trading powerhouse, Cargill, to work in their trading analytics and data team.
This entire journey helped me to grow as a person. The will to keep moving, opened doors that I didn’t even know existed. I developed new skillsets as a professional, and became more confident. I realized that till a person is willing to unlearn and relearn, no hurdle is uncrossable. Most importantly, I learnt that when your back is pinned to the wall, you can move in only one direction – forwards.