Dinesh Dave is one of those rare specimens that you don’t come across very often. Just the right amount “larger than life” and full to the brim with optimism, humour and compassion. Chuck in a bucket of talent and you’ve got the makings of a rather great human being. That’s Dinesh Dave.
I first met Dinesh when he worked with my husband in Portland. He and his friends threw a party in which we were invited to visit each of their apartments over the course of one evening. Each host cooked up a traditional dish from their home country. Dinesh made a mouth watering curry and a killer dahl. I fell in love a little bit.
Six months ago he packed his bags and left Portland for San Francisco after landing his dream job as an interactive designer at Apple. It just so happens he’s in town this week with “nothing to do” and so I bagged him for my first of fifty or so coffees.
I’m uncomfortable with the words “dream job”. Do you remember having one of those in mind as a child? We must have heard those words a hundred times. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. “What’s your dream job?”.
“An astronaut”. “A ballerina”. “A spy”. “A pilot”. “An inventor”.
In the beginning we’re taught to dream big. Dinesh wanted to work for Apple.
Me, I gave up on my idea of a “dream job” somewhere between discovering the opposite sex and the 876th test of my academic intelligence. (p.s. educators, if you could sort that one out that’d be great, thanks)
Dinesh failed his GCSE’s. And then he failed his A Levels. His friends were selling drugs and going to jail. His parents ran the corner shop. Dream jobs weren’t real. But Dinesh still wanted to work for Apple.
He liked to doodle. One day he googled “Graphic design courses America”. He wanted to work for Apple.
Six months later he was in Atlanta on an international scholarship at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). His friends laughed. His parents said he’d never get a visa to stay. He wanted to work for Apple.
I was keen to know why he thinks his dream stayed with him. What drove him to make it a reality when he lacked any kind of support? I was mostly interested so that I could take this precious nugget of information home with me and plant it into the hearts and minds of my three growing children. Ready made dream following instructions? Perfect.
But it turns out that there’s not really an answer. Certainly not for Dinesh any way. He can’t pinpoint why he was brave enough to follow his dream (though he does attribute a lot of his “can do” attitude to a guy he met at college called Eric). The closest he came to giving me a reason for his dogged determination was that he wanted to prove his teachers and his parents and his friends wrong, to blow a big fat raspberry in the face of his critics. And so he did. And it paid off. And 6 months ago he got the call from Apple.
So what am I going to say to my children when they are faced with adversity in their quest to find their dream job? My chat with Dinesh reminded me of a print I bought for my husband recently which reads “You have all the tools you need”.
You have all the tools you need.
So I will teach my children not to become complacent. To have a dream. To dare to be a filmmaker or a ballerina or a poet or to work for their favourite brand even if it is 5000 miles away from home. To blow a raspberry in the face of their critics, (including the ones in their head) and to go and bloody well get what they want.
Thanks Dinesh, you were awesome. (p.s. apologies for the shocking quality of the pic! iPhones and a lack of light don’t go well together ;-))