Passion and Professional Excellence
HR Professional

It is a known fact that majority of the people in this world ‘work to live’ and only a few ‘live to work’. These few professionals, directly or indirectly give a means to those billions of other people to earn their livelihood.

In a country which is even today called a ‘developing country’, one should introspect frankly as to – “Am I just a user of resources of this country or a contributor towards National development?”

There are many opportunities for growth and there will always be many, provided, one has the intent to work and grab them. Working consistently with passion to achieve our goals is the antioxidant which will build immense resistance in us to fight any disease / hindrance in our journey towards self and professional excellence.

Work and work alone is the secret to prosperity and happiness. A person who works to fulfill both physiological and spiritual hunger / thirst and, in the process, helps others to fulfill their aspirations is a ‘Professional par Excellence’.

Let me ask you something – Do you know anyone who has persisted with a dream for over two decades, despite being gainfully employed and having a set career with all the comforts?

While you may be trying to count a few, let me share with you a highly inspiring story of a dear friend of mine, who has inspired me and everyone else who has known him, to persist with our dreams ‘come what may’. What this person has achieved is an extraordinary achievement which takes sheer passion, commitment and persistence.

It is my pleasure to introduce Captain Onkar Singh, aged around 47 years, who is an Officer in the Indian Army. It has been around 5 years that he has joined the Army through the Territorial Army (TA) commission. He had joined the Army at the age of 42 years (which is the maximum age limit for TA commission). Joining the Army was always his dream. It was not just a dream job but, a career aspiration which defined the word ‘success’ for him.

Before joining the Army, he was having a successful career in a reputed MNC as an HR Manager. He was experiencing the ‘Glitz & Glamour’ of the corporate world and yet, he did not give up on his dreams. It is very easy to lose focus from your dreams when your stomach is full and you are living a materially fulfilled life. It takes a realized being to go beyond the physiological comforts and pursue the spiritual hunger, which according to me is our passion. By the way, all the material riches put together cannot satisfy the spiritual hunger / thirst. But, if the spiritual aspiration is satisfied, it takes care of the physiological hunger / thirst and material requirements for a lifetime.

Capt. Onkar Singh has tried getting into the Army since the age of 17 years through different entries like NDA and CDSE. When he crossed the age limit of all the entries for Regular Army, the only option left for him was the TA entry. He was gainfully employed with all the comforts in life but still, he did not lose focus from his goal.

A successful attempt of getting selected as an Officer in the Armed Forces takes almost an year. Despite having a family and a Job in the Corporate, he persisted with his passion and achieved it. However, his journey was not easy and, he had few failed attempts in the TA entry too, before being successful.

What he has achieved at the age of 42 years, is a phenomenal achievement which will surely inspire one and all to persist with their dreams even in the toughest of times.

Just imagine this : It’s your  Lifetime Aspiration and, you have just one last chance to grab it. Can you  imagine the pressure one may feel? It is much more than the ‘last ball six runs’ heat of a cricket match. Hats off to this soldier for fighting it out head on and winning a glorious victory.

Quoting the great words of Capt. Manoj Pandey, Param Vir Chakra (Posthumous) : “Some dreams are so worthy, it is glorious even to fail”.

The spirit of a true soldier is to brave against all odds and work consistently to achieve the goal despite facing the toughest of challenges. Capt. Onkar Singh is a role model, not only for the Armed Forces aspirants but, to all the youngsters who are aspiring to ‘Grab their Dream Job’. It is indeed a great opportunity for all of us to learn from his experience and success story, which personifies character and grit.

I thank you Sir, for taking out time for us from your busy schedule and giving this Interview.

1) Please tell us about the career prospects for an Officer in the TA.

It is better if a person joins at a young age. All the perks and facilities are almost the same as Regular Army.

2) What inspired you to achieve it?

Love and Passion to wear the Uniform.

3) Who all have supported you in your journey?

I was guided very well by Col K S Jaggi (retd.) in terms of preparing for the Service Selection Board (SSB) and also, by my wife Mrs. Preeti Singh who supported me during my preparation.

4) How did you achieve Success?

I planned my preparation in terms of : Intelligence Tests, Psychological Tests, Physical Fitness, General Awareness and Public Speaking.

Consistent preparation helped to be calm, composed and confident of my success.

5) How do you keep yourself motivated?

By keeping myself fit, reading defense related articles and watching movies / documentaries related to the Armed Forces.  

6) How was your Corporate career? How do you weigh a career in the Corporate vs Armed Forces?

I had spent around 18 years in the Corporate sector before getting into Armed Forces. And, it was a very enriching experience in terms of learning new things every day. It also taught me to excel in a highly competitive professional world. Both sectors have their own merits and demerits. Your priorities in life decides your career choice. In my case, working in the corporate sector was like just working for the company whereas, working with the Armed Forces is genuinely living my passion.

7) Your Vision & Mission in life.

To help everyone who aspires to join the Armed Forces. To establish a Personality Development training center after my innings with the Army is over.

8) Your guidance to Armed Forces aspirants for preparation.

Plan your preparation from the very beginning. Think like you are studying in a college and complete all the assignments in your study guide in time, rather than preparing at the last moment. Also, one should have a good Mentor to guide you in the right direction.

As you can see from the inspiring story of Capt. Onkar Singh – A Clean Heart , Clear Mind and the Will to Learn / Work consistently are the three greatest faculties needed to excel & experience bliss in our career and life. My best wishes to everyone who is passionately trying to achieve something in life.

About the Author

Keshav Sridhar is an Entrepreneur and an HR Professional with 15+ years of experience. He is a Mechanical Engineer and a Post Graduate in Human Resource Management and has worked with top-notch organizations such as Partygaming, Google, Aditya Birla Group and BITS Pilani University. He is currently the Co-Founder & CEO of ORATE Training & Placement Services.

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