About one-third of human life is spent working. That is too big a portion of one’s life to be spent only making money. For me, this realization came at a time while I was working as a Brand Manager in one of the top pharmaceuticals in my country and there was growing interest of young people in the corporate sector. As business student, I was designed to weigh opportunities in monetary terms. A good job was hence a well-paying one, with plenty of prospects to climb up the career ladder. While the people around me were fighting their way up in the organization, I was rethinking my direction in life. It was then, that I decided to join the development sector in Pakistan.
The move was risky, largely unplanned and based on my drive to seek out for something more meaningful. I thereafter joined a joint project between the United Nations Development Program and the Ministry of Planning and Development, in Islamabad, Pakistan. The project aimed at restructuring Pakistan’s public sector, which for decades has witnessed no real reform.
This shift for me was more than just a change in sectors. It was my introduction to people who shared the same passion, interests and worldviews. To conversations that went beyond how much a product was selling. And more importantly, to people who chose to make a difference.
In a country where the word “change” is mostly restrained to political slogans, such a mindset is deemed unrealistic. My experience wasn’t any different. While I met those who were passionate about reforming the public sector, changing the country’s global image, bringing silenced issues to the forefront, there were those who saw the glass half empty.
My recent acceptance to the Atlas Corps Fellowship has been a continuation of meeting dynamic, fearless, passionate people, who question stereotypes, challenge the norms and speak up for others. Who go beyond, race, religion, color to pursue their dream of creating impact.
It is said that life is too short to not do what you love. My decision to enter the social sector has proven to be the beginning of a challenging yet exciting journey. A journey of balancing my career aspirations with my larger goal in life. It has introduced me to people like me who not only believe change is possible but spend most of their day working towards it. They say people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are often the ones who do. I am glad to be part of this “crazy” group of people who in their own little ways are trying to bring about change and choosing to make a difference.