Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Cage

I am moving on from a well paying managerial job in an MNC to a fellowship in a non-profit organization that pays a meagre stipend. As the news spreads through my company, I am greeted by more and more reactions stating how I have got my priorities right early in my life and how it is a noble course to take. It was humbling when a colleague and friend  (who was high) confessed to others at a party that I was the only man there who had the courage to listen to the voice of his heart and follow it.

I appreciate all the encouragement and am glad many have been supportive of my decision.  As I talk to more people with a background similar to mine, each of them mention the choice they had in their past when they could have taken a path that led to the destination of their calling, but didn't. However, they never delve into the reasons.

Standing at the same cross road as they did then and putting myself in their shoes, I look at the alternate path that lies ahead of me, the accepted and preferred path. I continue working with my current organization. I earn a comfortable livelihood, which keeps growing year on year. I keep climbing up the corporate ladder. I hopefully gain respect of people for what I have achieved. I earn more so to save taxes, I invest more.I buy a house. I buy a car and few years later, replace it with a fancier one. I invest in the markets. I secure my future through more and more insurance to keep up with my lifestyle. I have enough to buy another house.

Simultaneously, on the personal front, I get married. I have kids. I send them to good schools. My parents retire. I grow older.  I begin to feel I have achieved what I set out for in my professional career. I want to do something new, but I haven't planned for an early exit. For starters, the home loan installments are pending for another 7 years. I want to travel the world, but my parents are old and unwell. While I have insurance to manage their medical expenses, it does not replace their need for personal attention. I want to give back to the society and all I have time for is making donations and raising funds for the causes I believe in.

While what I am doing is acceptable, it is  not what I truly wish for. However, my hands are tied. I am scared. The opportunity costs are high. The risk is not worth taking. I do not have time to recover, if I fail. I am caged in my own success, materialism and commitments.

 I think of the cross road I stood on 25 years ago. I think of the life that could have been.

Song on my mind:


Anonymous said...

Hearty Congratulations! Looking forward to reading your experience as a TFI teacher. I'm sure you'll bring in a positive change in the lives of many children. All the best.

Pragyaj said...

Real bravery and very inspiring. Wishing you all the best in your noble endeavor.:)