The Importance of Giving Back

Abstract:

The other day I ran into an old friend of mine, a computer science professional working for nearly half a decade with a popular information technology company.

Main Article:

The other day I ran into an old friend of mine, a computer science professional working for nearly half a decade with a popular information technology company. The moment she said she had quit the job last year, I took it casually. Thought – fair enough, must be in the family way, must have shifted, must have been bored – she is affluent enough to support herself and the job was an extension of her higher studies! But when we sat down over a cup of coffee, I found certain surprising facts. It was the moment of truth. She gave up her six-digit-salary job because she couldn’t find it right to continue or was it satisfying. Veena –that’s her name, has always got whatever she wanted in life. She confessed to me it was professionally unsatisfying because she couldn’t bear the rut anymore. Especially, when there was so much inequality around. She once visited a rather non-descript NGO housing underprivileged young girls as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility event. While her friends waited for the day to get over, Veena found it difficult to comprehend the dynamics of the society she was living in, she pondered on it for a while and much against the will of her

"We’ve had great leaders that way ranging from the evergreen example of Mahatma to the current Nobel awar-dee Kailash Satyarthi. Both quit their jobs for the sake of higher ideals, for setting the scales right. There is a pattern emerg-ing – the frequency may be bizarre, the modulation may be random – but the tune they are they are setting is the ges-ture of giving back."

family, quit her job and joined the NGO. The money she made out of this was nothing. She said she was very happy though.

It is not every day that we hear a story of this sort. In fact, this meeting happened two years ago. It has set me on thinking.

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After this I happened to hear similar stories – actually a couple of them. What made these marketable engineers and management graduates make such drastic decisions which altered their lifestyles completely? Is their love for the socially underprivileged overpowering their personal choices of job security and good salaries? Are am I blinkered and looking only at exceptions?

India is a country where more than half of us do not enjoy the fundamental rights provisionalised by our constitution. Though education is considered to be the only possible tool for bringing in equality, the standard of education which is accessed by different economical groups here varies, which accordingly decides their future and of course their salaries. This again affects the next generation where there may be a handful of outliers and change their course of fortunes. And there are those who want to set the scales right and do the minimum they can by giving up their mainstream interests and looking at the ‘others.’ We’ve had great leaders that way ranging from the evergreen example of Mahatma to the current Nobel awardee Kailash Satyarthi. Both quit their jobs for the sake of higher ideals, for setting the scales right. There is a pattern emerging – the frequency may be bizarre, the modulation may be random – but the tune they are they are setting is the gesture of giving back.

These sung and unsung heroes are garnering a quiet revolution unbeknown to the stakeholders or rather the state holders and are making an impact. Yet, what disturbs me most is why just this handful? Can’t there be a balanced approach where you work for yourself as a professional and contribute to the cause of the society too? Should we not make it part of our lives, part of our professions to identify and support those who need it.

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Instead of corporate social responsibility being a namesake or an annual event, why can’t they be an integrated course of activity providing chances to those who are motivated enough but just don’t find the time. If we talk about social equality all the time and talking is all we do, then we’ll stay on square one always.

Every educated individual should look around himself or herself and do the little they can. They can teach a child, just talk to the young and even provide solace to the needy just through gestures. These are the giving back ideas we are talking about and not mobilising huge funding for these causes, which are apparently thought to be the only giving back. Just key in and you will be surprised to find out the number of NGOs in your own city all started by single individuals like Veena. They have laid down their lives for the cause of others.

They are out there battling alone with the sustenance of a few philanthropists. What harm can come if we reach out to them? We have been privileged enough to take so much from the society, sometimes even at the cost of others unknowingly, is it not fair enough to give it back sometime? Gradually, little by little - don’t panic and make it a habit so that you don’t have to quit. By this I believe you can have the cake and eat it too!


BUDDING MANAGERS

NOVEMBER 2014 ISSUE


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Author:  buddingmanagers
Posted On:  Wednesday, 26 November, 2014 - 13:16

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