Unemployment Turned These BFFs Into Entrepreneurs; Here's How
When a pair of best friends found themselves unemployed at the same time in 2016, rather than panic, they dug in further, launching the YouTube channel The 9to5 Mistfits. Catch how these "Bosses Of The Week" learned to shake society's demands and embrace their entrepreneurial side.
If you're going to be unemployed, the best-case scenario is that your best friend is unemployed at the same time, right? Such was the case for Nammy Sirur and Pavi Dinamani when they both found themselves jobless in 2016. When they realized how helpful it was to have an "unemployment buddy" in one another, they decided to extend that comfort to others.
Thus, they created their Youtube channel The 9to5 Misfits, where they help others (and themselves) get over unemployment and dead-end careers, and work to dismantle the stigma associated with unemployment through the power of "edu-tainment."
The wildly charismatic duo is hoping to bring about cultural change—specifically within the South Asian community—and create greater acceptance for people who don’t fit the traditional 9-to-5 mold. Below, catch the path that led them there:
What was your very first job?
N: My first job ever was in high school working as a drive-through attendant at a Tim Horton’s and Wendy’s off a highway back in Canada. I served thousands of cranky drivers coffee and donuts starting at 5:30am. We once ran out of ALL the donuts. It did not go well.
P: My first job was working as a bio-chemical research assistant intern for Nestle Pure Life at their water treatment facility in Dubai. This was in freshman year of college. I came from a super sheltered family where I wasn’t allowed to work anywhere that didn’t ultimately contribute to my success as an engineer. So no flippin’ burgers at McDonalds to learn life lessons for me.
What do you “call yourself” now?
Nammy: I refer to myself as a YouTuber, content creator, and entrepreneur.
Pavi: I am an ex-Chemical engineer turned online video content producer, social entrepreneur and YouTuber.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Nammy: “When it comes to business, it’s your mission that drives you. If everyone on the team shares the same mission, it becomes easier, because everyone is fighting the same fight. Business is tough. There are five sunny days; the rest is grunt work. But it’s a unifying mission that gets you through the tough times.” - Devdutt Yellurkar, Charles River Ventures
Pavi: If you are not having fun doing it, then don’t do it. This is something I was never taught growing up Indian. I was always told to work hard and "happily" settle for whatever made me comfortable or whatever improved my status in society or made me attractive to guys, but never to follow a dream, talent, passion, or mission.
What does "success" mean to you?
Nammy: I feel that my definition of success will differ at varying stages of my life and career. At this point, it’s very focused on my business and achieving certain financial and social media-related goals. But my north star and ultimate marker for success will be breaking up the "boys' club." I used to think it only existed in certain industries or locations, but it’s disheartening to see that it's pretty much everywhere, even in industries with high female representation.
And while I don’t mean to belittle the accomplishments of the men who are at the top of their game, it’s about time we women earned a seat at the table and got recognized for our unique abilities. In our case, I want to prove that two brown, female YouTubers with accents are worth betting on and have something substantial to say!
Pavi: Nammy’s the dreamer, I’m the doer. I guess, it’s the engineer in me. I’m incredibly goal-oriented, so success to me is when I see progress and results. This is something I follow in all aspects of my life, whether it’s my business venture, The 9to5 MisFits, my old job as a chemical engineer, feeling good in my body, or finding a partner to love. If my vision is to achieve something and I see even an inch of progress, that is success to me and it gives me happiness.
How do you manage stress?
Nammy: Running a business with my best friend, whom I love being around, really helps. But I’ve also developed a few hacks of my own. Journaling is definitely effective, but there are times when I’ll be driving or on a walk or run, and I really need to organize my thoughts or think through a problem. So then, I’ll put on my headphones and use my iPhone voice memo to record my thoughts. It sounds super weird, because I’m essentially talking to myself, but that’s why I have my headphones on, so when someone’s next to me in traffic or passes me while jogging, they’ll think I’m just taking a call.
Another thing I started doing was scheduling in stress. Stress is a fixture of our daily lives so rather than getting thrown off by it each day, I anticipate it ahead of time and put it on my calendar. I call this “BS hour." I’ll block off 30 minutes to an hour to “dump my feels,” whether that’s through journaling, a solo dance party, or whatever. After BS hour is over, I have to walk away and resume my work.
Pavi: I am a huge fitness enthusiast and a staunch vegetarian. When I exercise regularly (pole dance or CrossFit) and meal prep, it’s incredible “me” time that resets me. Another huge stress reliever for me is how I tackle my to-do lists. I am a strong believer of working backwards. If I have no goal, I do not do well. I love making goals and laying out a well-designed plan to achieve them. (Did I mention I’m a former engineer?) If all else fails, I’ll curl up on my couch with my English Bulldog, Tuco, and fire up Parks and Rec on Netflix.
Words: Eva Grant