Why Northbound-Part 2: Maybe we need to change the question

In my previous Senti-Sunday, I spoke about why Northbound was started. I would have liked to finish it off in one post but there are many reasons so looks like it’s going to be a series!

Right from first grade, we’re always asked what we want to become when we grow up. And in first grade, we also happen to learn about occupations. So we put the two together and our answers are always the same – Teacher, Fireman, Scientist, Doctor.

Throughout our time in school, we learn from our small circle of influencers. We see only a few professions around us, those of our parents, aunts, uncles and neighbours and we continue to answer ‘What do you want to become when you grow up?’ using them as examples.

I’ve also asked this same question to so many students I meet in schools that I began to realise it’s the question that’s the problem. Instead of asking ‘What’, we should be asking ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’

This question allows you to think beyond a one word answer like Engineer or Lawyer.

So on a recent visit to a school, I asked a group of ninth graders who they wanted to become and for the first time, I heard completely different answers.

Instead of the same old answers, I heard students say things like “I want to help reduce global warming, I want to stand up in court for those who don’t have financial aid, I want to win a medal in the Olympics for India”.

Today, the young Indian has aspirations unlike never before. We want to find work that matches our skills, ethics, and beliefs. But many times, we don’t know what career path to take or how to get there.

My aspiration has always been to help young people get access to better education and the right jobs. But when asked what I wanted to become one day, I used to say ‘Engineer’.

It was only after finishing my degree that I realised Media could be the way to help solve this problem. If only I had known earlier.

With Northbound, we hope to solve this problem by bringing to the young Indian stories of people who have found a way to fulfill their aspirations, the stories of those who have taken their industries to new heights and those who can show us that anything is possible.

That’s all from me. Time to play with Itsy and Bitsy now.


At Northbound, we want to help people make more informed choices about their careers and professional lives. The average person is said to spend 90,000 hours of their life at work. That’s a lot of precious time to spend being unhappy or unfulfilled. Be it your first career decision, switching to a new field or exploring an entrepreneurial journey, we want to help you make better decisions and inspire you to find your path! Follow us to never miss a new story!

Leave a Reply