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Myth Busters – Working in the Social Sector

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The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Mahatma Gandhi

After a lifetime of being in the workforce, seniors face a future that is uncertain in terms of managing leisure time. Giving back to society is a noble pursuit and a strong theme present in our community of WisGen.  Some go back to work to shore up the financial climate that results from longevity. Others choose to give back to society in gratitude for the life they were blessed with.

It is important to note that working in this space means ensuring that it benefits society and involves empathy and philanthropy. The development of the country is driven by such interventions that fuel transformation and social change. India is burdened by numbers and change is possible by the industry undergoing a paradigm shift. As corporates are stepping forward, alongside the government, to drive this effort, educated and experienced people are needed to take on the responsibilities of driving the transition. Being a genuine career option for WisGen, it should not be considered as just a hobby or an option to pass the time. Sometimes working in the social space is mistaken for an opportunity to earn for contributing little or nothing to the cause concerned. Certain attitudes and perceptions need to be altered to be able to make a positive impact in alleviating issues affecting the disadvantaged or agendas like sustainability, education, health and others.

There exist several misconceptions regarding what working in the social sector entails. This blog aims to debunk common myths that people have about working in the social sector

Myth 1: It is an easy life and career option

Reality: Work in the social sector is very demanding and requires as much effort and dedication as a traditional corporate job. Social Impact organizations require skilled people for their functional and advisory roles among others, just like organizations from the corporate world.

Myth 2: One can make a measurable difference in a short amount of time

Reality: Issues in the social sector cannot be solved quickly by any one person or group. The challenges are deeply rooted and require consistent hard work over time, to bring about even a small change.

Myth 3: Beneficiaries cannot manage their situation without our help

Reality: Most communities and people that NGOs work with are not entirely helpless and in need of “saviours”. In most cases, they are just disadvantaged and need access to basic rights and privileges. People need to work with beneficiaries to come up with solutions, rather than prescribing solutions for them.

Myth 4: Decisions in the social sector are solely driven by purpose and impact

Reality: Purpose and impact might be the soul of an NGO but what ultimately enables its work is the amount and type of funding it gets. NGOs have to make decisions that align well with the donor’s expectations as well as the cause they are working for. These are some common assumptions we tend to hold about the social sector. By sharing and explaining the sector’s reality, we hope you understand it a little better. If you are keen to work with NGOs in any capacity, we hope this helps you go in with the right expectations.

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