Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Adieu Udaipur !

Today is my last day at Access Development Services (ADS). I started eighteen months ago managing Farmer Producer Companies (FPOs) at South Rajasthan. I am very proud of my team, and I wish them well. They have a lot of challenging work ahead. But for me, it’s time to move on.  I’m not going to sugarcoat the reasons for my exit. This might be my last chance to switch sector since I am not getting any younger. I have taken a role of Operations Manager in Chaitanya at Pune that works in the micro-finance sector. I recognize the task before me is neither small nor easy. Microfinance means different work-style and leadership.

The profile of a candidate in the development sector belongs to someone who easily adapts to new environments, enjoys travel and field work, likes to tinker with things, and prefers independence and improvisation to super specific tasks. Strong people management skills is a bonus learning, and much required. One can't always be the smartest person in the room, but one can always be the most prepared person in the room.

I have learned most about networking, human resource management and leadership abilities in this job. I had mostly taken decision in an inclusive way as a part of management. That had lowered efficiency in some cases but have helped in creating an atmosphere of trust with community and co workers. There will always be few relationship more important than hierarchy in the organization. These relationship can be with the field worker or CEO of the organization. They’re worth investing in and maintaining for a long term.

It is vital for me to know my own strength and weakness. I have progressed but have seriously under-performed in terms of its potential. I had missed few professional goals in the journey. This can be attributed to the lethargy and unguided career management. I have a minor trait as bit of mental frustration pile up gradually under job pressure. By intrinsic nature, I struggle to be realistic about my own ability, and importantly, my limitations.

I live by certain ideologies that help me know when I am doing wrong as a rural manager. I take pride in the work. I do and feel equally responsible for the success and failure of how the country and society function. ‘Development’ and ‘benefit’ are not values-free concepts, but rather have different interpretations of each individual & organization. I believe today in dynamic world that development is both the promise of inclusion and equal opportunity on the one hand, and the rhetoric of competition and relative advancement on the other. 

How a little of the word, I know, even at the age of thirty. I saw the cruel fate of millions of their daily struggle for life and dignity. Through them, I learned a lesson in humility and endurance. I ended up being their students and learnt about farming, relations, migration for work and household issues. The places where one discovers his own hidden individuality are never on the map. They are just out there, may be in a remote village or just in the middle of a cosmopolitan city. Udaipur helped me to refine and redefine my capabilities. Real life scenario is always further off the projections when individuals assess their own career plans, partly because their chances, desire to succeed and hard work create a new future.

I want to bid farewell to my ADS team. There is no way I could have achieved all that I have without their help. I have a sense of achievement and happiness over the span of months. I’m thankful for the opportunity that I had at ADS. I learned more than I thought I would. It was challenging to work for donors such as Rabobank FoundationSmall Farmers' Agriculture-Business Consortium (SFAC), World Vision India & Department of Agriculture, Rajasthan Government. I was lucky to have interaction with livelihood experts like Sankar Datta and Vipin Sharma with various representatives from institutions such as World Bank - IndiaFair Trade IndiaHivos InternationalSir Ratan Tata Trust & Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT), IDBI BankAnanya FinanceFriends of Women's World Banking (FWWB), CARE BangladeshMART & Rajasthan Grameen Aajeevika Vikas Parishad (RGAVP). Here’s to new challenges and new opportunities.  I am still on the way to chase profits with purpose as a rural manager and will quote Gandhi's words while taking decisions on career: "Whatever you do will become insignificant, but it is very important to do it." 

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This Blog is meant purely as a personal diary of a rural manager in making. It exists to record information, experiences and opinions about various issues encountered in the line of duty. Any person, institution and organization mentioned here doesn't assume any liability for its contents. This is not a deliberate attempt to defame anyone. And if you have actually read all that is written in the blog and aren't mad at me, then thanks for your time and patience !


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