Being a Corporate person from the last 16 years, my area of focus has always been on improving Key Performance Indices and creating productivity benefits along with value adds. Every now and then, I would take up additional responsibilities, create visibility through Cross Functional Projects and work towards optimizing resource utilization. The goal certainly was to drive performance, become extremely result oriented thus building efficiency.
Professionally, I have started from scratch and have reached a certain level that I can be happy about. I cherish achieving few important milestones in my career effectively. Though I had my share of stress, struggle, roller coaster rides coupled with constant ups and downs in my corporate journey. With some of my accolades, I have been on Cloud nine and literally enjoying the pinnacle of success.
Further, I have also taken the pledge to explore certain areas of work and get involved in challenging roles of being a coach, trainer, motivator, teacher thereby cashing-in on my strengths all these years. These add-on roles definitely have given me a high and a feeling that I am on seventh heaven. I actually didn’t know till then that I was a multifaceted person till I had chosen those areas and confidently acquired those accomplishments. The idea here is not of self-praise but setting a context for something closer to my heart and more intriguing.
While I embarked on my corporate journey, I kept wondering all these years. What have I done as a responsible citizen for this nation and for its people? India is still a developing country with multiple issues surrounding the economy- poverty, illiteracy, undernourishment, diseases, pollution to name a few.
Believe or not, with the existing ecosystem surrounding us, it is very easy to blame and criticize the government, the ministers, the politicians, the bureaucrats with malfunctioning, lack of transparency and accountability for different issues prevailing and corrupting our society.
So, my question is for all well to do people. Have we really volunteered to contribute in some way or the other towards any of these social causes or economic issues?
When we interact with different people on this subject, they have numerous arguments resisting social work and some of the common ones are listed here:
1) I donate money quite often, then why do you expect me to work on these issues separately?
2) I pay my taxes regularly to the government from my earnings in every product or service I buy. It should rather be government’s responsibility in tackling these issues.
3) I am too young to get into all this nonsense in this age of dating and enjoying life.
4) I am hardly able to cope up with my monthly income, then how do you expect me to contribute my earnings in these causes?
5) I am already quite occupied in my personal and professional issues, what help will I be able to give in resolving these issues.
6) Most of the non-governmental organizations are typically corrupt as shown in the media and my contributions will never reach them as witnessed in the past.
Before volunteering and venturing into social work, even I had such thoughts in my mind.
However, all these misconceptions got addressed. Thanks to some of my direct reports who were actively involved with few Non-Governmental Organizations and convinced me to take the plunge. So, I decided to take a step forward.
After a detailed discussion with my colleagues on doing my bit, my perspective towards these organizations and people associated with them changed completely. I discovered a new challenge, a new thought process. It transformed my idea of wasting my time in doing charity to utilizing my time constructively in helping our society and people to prosper.
I started thinking in what ways I could be associated with these organizations. I concluded that there are just 3 golden rules one needs to follow before venturing into any of these causes:
1. I should understand clearly that my role is that of a volunteer or a participant and it will shape up or grow only as per my discretion, experience, willingness and intent.
2. My contribution is pledging my time (even if it means investing only for an hour a week and even if I don’t want to contribute financially to them).
3. I choose to volunteer my time only to causes close to my heart, causes that I really care about, causes that I might have knowledge/ expertise on. In short, I chose area of my work, my time and my goals.
Finally, I took a decision to work with two Non-Governmental Organizations that
imparted training and skill development to under privileged children of our society.
With one organization, I volunteered to teach English language once a week for an hour to children below 14 years of age. And with the other one, I decided to initiate work pertaining to improving soft skills and customer engagement skills for teenagers from economically weak background once a month for 4 hours. After their training, they would be expected to start earning for their livelihood.
This kind of work really provides me with lot of inner satisfaction and a feel good factor while contributing in my own way to the society, nation, people especially the children. And I love doing it as I feel connected with children and with Education field.
This work has broadened my horizons, enriched my experiences, given me a renewed lease of energy and transformed my perspective on different things adding a new meaning in life. Universally and scientifically also, it is a known fact that positive work and energy attracts positivity on this planet.
While other colleagues of mine care about issues like pollution control, agriculture, women welfare, health care, safety and so they work in those areas.