By Surabhi Nijhawan
In an increasingly chaotic world, there is no dearth of issues and problems. Thankfully, no dearth of opportunities for those who want to solve these problems and make the world a better place to live. The social sector is currently booming with several opportunities. There is something for everyone, provided you are driven with a sense of purpose to change the world! There are several reasons why you should consider a career in the social sector. Read on
You get to participate in the problem-solving process of issues plaguing the country.
There are several issues we strongly feel about, and we often share tweets, or Facebook statuses expressing our frustration on topics ranging from unemployment, education, violence against women, crime rate and other issues. But when you start working with a social organisation that is working to solve these issues, you get personally involved leaving behind the passive commentary and going out there to see beyond the statistics of newspapers and research papers.
You don’t step out of your comfort zone; you give up on it entirely
When you work in the social sector, you are working for a cause, and over the course, you meet people from all walks of life – each struggling with a set of problems that you would not fathom. For example, meeting a victim of domestic violence, you would think the simple solution is for her to leave her spouse but many women are unable to use that path due to lack of any financial independence. Further, the fieldwork, getting to know the depth of problems that persist in our society and the urge to solve them and brings a change has no room for comfort zones.
You contribute to the world you want to see
Working in the social sector gives you the opportunity to make a difference. The options are plenty. You can pursue a cause that you feel most passionately about or one that you can offer your expertise to – environment and climate change, education, violence against women or sanitation and hygiene are only a few. And there is nothing more satisfying than that.
You strengthen your soft skills
Working in the social sector impacts your personal growth. A Teach for India fellow shared how teaching young children made him more patient, improved his listening skills and leadership skills. You also learn gratitude and empathy and how the same differs from sympathy. When you work closely with people and understand their problems, you empathise and are able to contribute more efficiently in the problem-solving process.
You collaborate with several stakeholders
The development sector cannot work in isolation. Hence, you work with diverse stakeholders ranging from donors who may be corporates or HNIs to the government to academicians who may support your impact assessment work to the field staff who are most attuned to the ground level issues. ( This list is illustrative)
Not all social sector opportunities are ‘voluntary’ or not all pay you peanuts
If you assume that NGOs don’t pay well and most of the work is voluntary, you are wrong. Not everyone employed in the nonprofit sector works as a volunteer. While the average pay is lower than the pay in the corporate sector, the trend is slowly changing.
You don’t necessarily need a degree in social work.
While it is an added bonus to have a degree in social work/development; it is not mandatory. Important eligibility is an alignment with the ethos of the organisation one aspires to work with. This enables a vast majority of people to consider a shift to the social sector when they are looking for a career change.
Social impact organisations offer diverse roles
The non-profits also require program managers, fundraisers, marketing and communication staff, human resource and more. It is not that you’ll only be in the field conducting research or there will not be career growth. There are a lot of jobs in the development space that you can consider taking up.