NextGen MENA – Letters from the desk

Open Letters – From the desk of Nisha Idicula

Senior Consultant at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and NextGen Committee Member

8 August 2021

Hey there younger Nisha, 

It’s 2021 and I’m you, from the future. I won’t bother giving you all the details of what life is like right now, but I can tell you we do not have hoverboards yet. 

Right now, you’re 21 and you have had a wonderful life so far. You are one of the lucky ones, leaving a great college and facing the ‘real world’ with the support of loving parents, an awesome brother, great friends, and even a promising relationship.

You have all these plans about what your life is going to look like, the truth is – none of those plans are going to happen the way you thought they would, but the good news is it still turns out pretty great. You are now a confident young woman, who is great at her job, has a small family of her own, and you’re also killing this working mom gig. 

It was a pretty dramatic road that got you here, so I’ve got some advice for you to make it a tad bit easier. 

Starting with, take that gap year and don’t feel guilty about it. Yes, it isn’t what all your friends are doing. It is intimidating to see them race ahead to build the career of their dreams while you are still figuring out what you want to do. You’re feeling a bit lost and unsure of your purpose. 

It’s okay. 

It’s okay to take your time and try as many different things as you can. You are not wasting your time. Little do you know that this year will be crucial to figuring out who you are, what you value, and what your interests are. Take on a few internships, talk to people who love their career, explore the world, try something new – enjoy the journey you are on. When you look back, you will be able to connect the dots and it will all make sense. 

Secondly, focus on one thing at a time. You’ve been a master at multitasking, and you enjoy the rush that comes from doing it all. The bad news is, it will begin to feel overwhelming, and the quality of your work will suffer as you try and do too many things at once. Work on being completely present where you are and achieving one goal at a time. You can have it all, but not all at once. 

Finally, be yourself. I know it sounds cliché, but you are going to find yourself in numerous situations where it would be easier to just fit in, alter your beliefs a little so you can take that shortcut, or give in to people telling you that you need to be more aggressive and cutthroat to stay ahead. In times like these, remember the bigger picture – that you are in charge of your career, and you get to choose the kind of employee, teammate or manager you will be – and as long as you continue to be earnest and hardworking, success will come. 

That’s all I’ve got. You’re doing great kid and I’m proud of you. You’ve got a long way to go, and you will learn a lot more along the way. Stay eager and enthusiastic – I’m rooting for you.