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Are You Ready To Be A Chameleon?

by Shilpa Nelson aka Annabellez

In a world where stability and predictability were often held as virtues, there was a maverick named Anna. She was a true hustler, a spirited wanderer of career paths, and a relentless pursuer of her dreams. Anna was a job hopper, a career switcher. She revelled in the unpredictable dance of her own destiny. Would she ever stop? That was a question even she couldn't answer. One thing was for sure: she was born to tirelessly chase her aspirations.

As Anna embarked on her unconventional journey, she encountered the curious glances and judgmental whispers of those who couldn't comprehend her boundless drive. Still, she didn't just accept those judgments; she flaunted them with pride. Anna knew that her relentless desire to explore new horizons was a gift, a unique trait that set her apart. She was a true polymath, a lifelong learner, and she refused to be confined by the boundaries of a single career path.

With a decade of diverse experiences etched into her life's canvas, Anna's story was a rollercoaster ride of thrills and adventure. She had danced with the world of movies, conjured magic as a broadcast engineer, shared the wealth of her knowledge as an associate professor, and breathed life into the world of music as a teacher. Anna’s analytical prowess had seen her analyse data as a bank analyst, and she had mastered the art of social media management.

Still, Anna was never one to rest on her laurels. In the heart of the year 2020, when the world was grappling with a global lockdown, she decided to make one of her most audacious career leaps. She bid farewell to the bustling streets of New Delhi and found herself amidst the serene landscapes of Kerala, where she embraced the role of a Senior Service Associate. Just months later, her restless spirit led her to cross the sea to the Netherlands.

She shuttled back and forth, navigating the labyrinth of pandemic-induced bureaucracy, and, in the end, she earned her right to reside in the Netherlands. Still, to secure her visa, she needed to take a basic Dutch exam. Determined to learn, she began her education with children's storybooks and embarked on daily adventures at local supermarkets. One word at a time, one interaction at a time, Anna built the bridge to her new life. 

As each Dutch word nestled itself in her vocabulary and as each bureaucratic hurdle fell by the wayside, Anna's foundation for the next leap grew stronger. She took the Dutch exam and got her visa. With determination burning like an eternal flame within her, she ventured deeper into the heart of the Netherlands. But her journey was far from over.

Anna set her sights on the job market and applied to hundreds of positions, never losing faith in her ability to adapt and conquer. She believed her extensive academic background in music, engineering, and literature, coupled with her rich tapestry of work experiences, would open doors of opportunity in this foreign land. 

After having been a professor, she thought she would find a teaching job. She had a knack for storytelling, and her students had always loved her lessons. Still, every university or school that she reached out to rejected her application. The reason was that she didn't have enough experience to work in the Dutch educational system. She was broken. She decided to pursue her PhD, which would enable her to finally start teaching. However, soon she realised that couldn’t happen: her Master’s certificate was evaluated by the Dutch system as a 4-year bachelor. All because she had gotten married to a Dutch national. She was tired, broke, and exhausted. She felt like giving up.

She was left with no job and nothing to look forward to. Anna felt like her life was getting engulfed by a huge dark cloud. She saw no light and no future ahead. She started working at Picnic, but very soon she realised the job at Picnic was not meant for her. She started looking for other jobs, but her email box got flooded with rejection emails. Every single one of them read “Fluency in Dutch is required." Anna slowly felt that she was losing her ground.

Among those many jobs, one was the job offer to Bunq. Even though Anna had good literary skills, she struggled with maths. Still, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. She studied for her aptitude trial exams, and she got her first bank exam. Her efforts paid off, and she passed with flying colours. They asked her to be ready for a second round. So she went to Amsterdam to complete more exams. The same day, she cleared her interview.

Something she never thought would happen happened that day: Anna was hired as a banker. Finally, the doors of opportunity swung wide open at Bunq, where she leapt from the role of a Broadcast Engineer to that of a Banker. It was a transition she hadn't anticipated, but it was just the opening act. It was not an easy one; every day was more challenging and required more learning than the one before. Everything seemed to be going well, except that Anna struggled to sugarcoat things the way she was asked.  Still, she enjoyed being pushed out of her comfort zone. She was just getting settled into the job when she met another wall. Anna got laid off due to the recession. She was lost again. With everything seeming dark and hard, she searched for a light and decided to pursue her passion for writing. 

She started writing on LinkedIn, and that changed her life. People started reaching out for freelance work. So, she decided to join a Startup NGO, where she wore the hat of a Social Media Manager, wading into the ever-evolving world of digital content and engagement. She also embraced the mantle of a student, rekindling her passion for learning. After that, her journey took a fascinating twist as she ventured into the realm of ghostwriting, weaving words for others. Anna never thought her ghostwriting income would one day become her main source of income. She wrote an educational book for one of her US clients. And since then, she hasn’t had to look back on her ghostwriting profession. However, her freelancing life took a great swirl.

Life, for Anna, was a masterpiece in the making. It was an extraordinary adventure, where relentless curiosity and unwavering reinvention were the guiding stars. She was crafting a unique existence, carving her own path through the wilderness of choices and shaping her destiny with every bold move.

Remember: When life gives you lemons, find some vodka and salt and a person to celebrate with. Don’t wait for the opportunity to knock on your door; just go ahead and make one. 

Now, Anna embarked on the new chapter of her life at THUAS, leaving us with a lingering question: in a world brimming with possibilities, will you dare to embrace the unknown, to experiment with your own life, and to create a narrative that is uniquely yours? 

Anna has shown us that the journey of a hustler is not just a life well-lived but a legacy well-crafted. 

So, are you ready to become a chameleon?


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