In your career you might have found passion in a special kind of work but had to move as you progressed in your profession. You might still be vouching for those golden days but do not get opportunity. What happens if your life takes a 360°turn?
In my case, Life 360 happened three years back when I reached from where I started a quarter century ago - working with tribal farmers in remotest areas, living with bare minimum requirements. This is where I started my career after leaving Ph.D. in 1991.
Gradually I reached to the peak of my career - living & working abroad, serving UN, World Bank, European Union and other multilateral agencies in different countries. You might agree that the more we progress in our career the lesser time we get for ourselves and family. Most of the time either we are on roads, flying or in meetings, always rushing to meet deadlines till we are dead. I had the same situation.
I always like grass-root actions - this is the place where I get the maximum action, witnessing the change. This passion finally brought me back to the root from where I started.
BUT THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE. When I started my career I was an Employee, doing work and getting salary for that. Now I am a Social Entrepreneur - building my own business. There is a complete change in perspective. An Employee's mindset and a Social Entrepreneur's mindset are completely different.
As an Employee I was more concerned about my salary package, incentives, promotion, job security etc. I was also dependent on my employers. Therefore, whenever the project completed or finance ended I moved to other employment at other place.
However, as a Social Entrepreneur I am no more dependent on salary or employer and their finances for continuation of my employment. Rather than getting salary I hire people and pay salary.
WHAT DOES IT TAKES TO BE A SOCIAL ENTREPREUR? It takes a DREAM, lots of determination, ability to deal with uncertainty, handle pressure, take risk, flexibility to adapt, willingness to quickly learn and apply different skills (technical, financial, mobilizing and managing human and financial resources, negotiation, business planning) and so on. In short, its a totally different ballgame.
Many don't survive and sooner or later they go back to the comfort of salaried life. However, I have closed that road long back. Therefore, I will continue with my struggle as Social Entrepreneur till I succeed or survive. I have a satisfaction that I am doing what I like most - living and working with those tribal people in most difficult areas of Bastar, Rayagada, Koraput, Raigarh and now in Gadhchiroli and Chandrapur, utilising my knowledge and experience in my technical domain - agriculture/rural livelihoods.
CEO, SAI - Sustainable Agro