The #100careertransitionstories is OfExperiences\’ effort to normalise career transitions amongst mid-level professionals. We share the stories of professionals (mostly women) who have made bold career moves post their 30s – whether it’s pivoting into the unknown or returning from a break – with the intent that their journeys, complete with challenges and learnings, can inspire other women. This is the story of Bindu Subramaniam.

“I have a Bachelor’s and a Master\’s degree in Law, a Master’s certification in song-writing and music business from Berklee, a Montessori diploma, an MPhil, and a PhD in Music Education. Despite all this, I’ve spent years overcoming the imposter syndrome, seeking constant validation, and being greatly underestimated because of my age and gender.

Coming from a family of musicians, performing has always been a part of my life. However, I never actually saw myself as a performer. What I wanted to be was a Lawyer – working in a flashy corporate firm that romanticised 100-hour work weeks.

It took a 5 year law course PLUS a master’s degree for me to get disillusioned with law as a career path. I got certified as a bar council lawyer, but that was the end of my glorified childhood dream.

While exploring alternate career options, I came back to music. I joined my family in running our music school – SaPa – while simultaneously performing multiple gigs. Even then, I never considered music as ‘my calling’. It was something I enjoyed doing and I took each day as it came.

It was the birth of my daughter that shifted my perspective. While introducing her to music at an early age, I realised how limited the access to music was for most children. This led to the birth of the SaPa baby program – a music program for schools that started at a nearby orphanage and eventually spread to schools across India. Since then, I\’ve become completely entrenched in the world of opportunities available in music education.

In hindsight, my journey sounds intentional and fabulous. But the reality was far from it.

A conflict-averse people-pleaser at heart, I’ve faced multiple adversities over the years. When I transitioned from law to music, I had to convince friends and teachers that I wasn’t throwing away 6 years of education. As a young female entrepreneur, my ‘nice’ nature was often misconstrued for incapability, and I was often dismissed. As a working mother with a heavy travel schedule, I was judged for being inattentive to my child.

But through it all, I put my head down and took it one day at a time. And over the years, I learned to make the most of my situation by being my authentic self, building faith in my capabilities, and effecting change while working within the system.

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It’s taken me a while to accept that you don’t have to hold yourself to a goal you made when you were 7. We live in a day and age where it’s okay to be more than just ‘one thing’, where the lines between passion and profession are blurred. Embrace it.

I’m no visionary. I take life one day at a time and give myself the permission to evolve. And that’s my biggest accomplishment.”


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