The pandemic has been a tough time for all of us. For millennials like me and many others, exploring opportunities in the field we desire has been a difficult/life-altering decision. First, the career choice realization came late, because of uncountable reasons, and second, the attitude of not being able to compromise came with it without any warning.
And among the scarce opportunities, continuous rejections made me question everything.
Entering the social sector which I thought once could be healing, today feels like a punishment. I entered the social sector because of the struggles that I faced economically and mentally. Despite coming from an economically low-income family the urge to help was always my bigger concern. This is one of the perks of living in Old Delhi, where you can’t resonate with the capitalist individualistic mindset.
Throughout my childhood, I constantly thought about others whose lives were more difficult than mine. There was a point of time when I asked myself, do I want to change this? Can I change this? The answer later came only in the form of working in the development sector.
I thought maybe I could help others in understanding their life struggles which can also help me recover. During the limited time that I worked in the sector, I faced many hardships and felt dejected but I was content somehow. Life then did not seem that unfair and unbearable as it seems today.
Pandemic changed everything for me. Coming back home after one year felt like being tied down again to age-old practices and pseudo respectful customs. I joined as an academic writer in a corporate company in Delhi. Though it felt good writing about concepts (that I wish to accomplish one day) like rights, justice but eventually they were only words that failed to provide any comfort which I felt once.
The meaning these words had acquired in my life during the work which I did in the social sector was suddenly gone. It felt as if a void has been created which I was trying to fill by writing more and more about those things and justifying it as my love for academia. Eventually, leaving it after 6 months felt liberating, and when I said that I wanted to be part of a socio-political organization (think-tank or NGO) and work towards a bigger change. Not only it was too much for everyone to understand but was also questionable! Why, how, can you?
The situation at home worsened, my confidence which was reaching its peak once and I had only had a taste of it, was lost which I could not find anymore. Initially, I tried justifying coming home as maybe because of a ‘change of scene’ or ‘coming back to my comfort zone’ but I never felt free again. I was safe but not free. Rather, the fear which I had conquered started creeping in slowly in numerous ways.
Attempting to get any work became more difficult, I was taunted that you are too charitable or too giving rather you should do more for the family if you feel charitable. I agreed because I thought, I at least should do this. Rather than appreciating they started expecting much more leading to a compromise in my working hours (job hunting or writing). The continuous rejections and unpaid jobs in the social sector for almost one year made me feel like a burden on my family. Friends once who said that they believed in me, felt like an inside joke or mockery. The repetitive rejections at family and jobs felt like a big blow to my confidence which surprisingly came out during interviews that showed I can’t do anything that my CV suggests. It looked like a complete lie. Stepping into the research sector to acquire meta and local perspectives, became a distant dream and I started looking for safer options. But being the adamant millennial that I am I still cannot bring myself to cooperate with the idea of “security” (any other job than social work) that everybody suggests. I tried and I am still am trying, but as a 27-year-old with no money, people think I just am a confused person who wants to change the world.