I have to submit this application! I simply cannot miss this wonderful opportunity”, mumbling this to myself, I started another unfinished job as my supervisor called out for me. It was another day being spent in frustration, but the difference was that I had something going on in my head! It was just about 5:30, perhaps the closing time, when I clicked on the vacancies in CARE portal and uploaded my application on the same.
Next thing I knew, I was on the train to Delhi to attend the interview in a project called Integrated Family Health Initiative (IFHI). The interview was an experience which made me smile throughout the day! One moment I was talking to a group of animated young professionals to help ‘us’ get to a conclusion during group activity, and the very next moment I was sitting in front of a desktop analyzing my feelings in different situations!
My joy knew no bounds when I heard from ‘them’. The first thing which caught my attention was the name of the organization; “CARE” it evokes a kind of warmth to hear that. For a beginner who was still not very sure of herself, it was ecstatic to hear from an organization which had a ‘big name’ (Especially when I had tried hard to do an internship during summers in CARE and had no success in that!).
I had not yet joined CARE, when I attended one of its meetings. It changed my complete outlook towards my job. I wanted to be right there, in the midst of those intelligent and passionate people working for something which made a difference to lives. I kept awake that night, waiting and wondering when I would be a part of it. My own life was in turmoil personally as well as professionally when I joined CARE. I was not sure whether the change of organization gave me that high feeling or was it something else?
By joining CARE, my college days came back to me! I would sit with awe as our Technical Director would speak. I would put up as many questions before him without even thinking for a split second (I actually bugged many people in that process; as incidentally my question would just pop up when we would be running late for Tea break!). I was like a child, who was starved of knowledge, of ideas; my job had done that to me. But here I was there, beginning to feel alive yet again!
It has been about 5 months today and I seem to have come a long way forward. My family often tells me that I seem to be radiating positive energy lately. It is basically a game of the attitude on work; I have found so much of warmth and optimism in people here that makes me belong here; in this team and this project!
Working on a project on Maternal and Child health was my dream since long! The issue closest to my heart is the health of women in our society especially would-be mothers. A sensitive thought as put in one of our meetings “Pregnancy itself is risk to life” clearly mentions the grave danger our women (especially in developing countries) face during child birth. One of the natural process become life threatening! Here we are trying to make a change and remove road blocks from all sides; awareness among the community members as well as quality of services in Public facilities. I always was intrigued with ‘doctor-like’ technical details of things; what better would be to heal lives? With continuous brushing up of our knowledge skills on technical side of IFHI project, today I feel empowered to speak to front line workers about some simple things which act nothing less than a doctor’s advice. Gaining and use of this knowledge on field has given me immense satisfaction of doing something worthwhile. Counseling of one mother successfully on field who was resistant to get a TT shot gave me a peaceful sleep at night!
When ‘perceived’ cold and disinterested front line workers listen to you with awe; and start to share their experiences (apart from their usual grievances about incentives not paid) is when my heart swells up with pride and confidence. I can make them laugh too! Imagine a person like me, who used to be so very conscious of speaking in front of even two people. Today I can conduct trainings efficiently and ‘connect’ with people; my dream to teach is getting realized too! Earlier I always needed my lines ready in the form of a paper incase I go blank in front of an audience; but not anymore!
I had only read about soft skills of a manager in our HR class during college, but my job had not given me an opportunity to explore that. Here in CARE I seem to slowly understand the intricacies and challenges to work with a team; and to experience people report to you! Believe me, it gives you a high!Most importantly I have witnessed in myself a sense of receptiveness to ambiguity of situations. I personally am a person who would be very uncomfortable in a situation which is unpredictable. Here ever since we have joined IFHI, the project seems to be evolving! It feels we are here to put our heads (and hearts) together to make something work. It gives me the feeling of being in a perfect learning organization (another concept we learned in HR class in college) which is giving me a golden opportunity to grow professionally as well as personally!