Series on Meaningfulness at Work: Passion vs. Making a Living

So when you get up each morning and think of the work day ahead, is it with a sense of trepidation or the thought fills you with renewed energy and excitement. The answer could well tell you whether your work adds meaning to your life or is just a means of making a living. Think hard…

If Sanjay’s story doesn’t make you go “Whoa he did what?”, we’d be surprised. A Stats, Maths and Computer Science major, Sanjay started working at Google as an analyst until Facebook lapped him up in their newly opened Hyderabad office. Soon after, Sanjay moved to the USA to work at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California, as a Marketing Analyst. His life was as perfect as it gets. A brilliant job in one of the most exciting companies in the world, in picture perfect California, with the love of his life – his wife – with him. But above all the comfort and glory, Sanjay had found a bigger calling.

Sanjay wanted to work on something that was more meaningful to him, and also at the same time had a direct impact on the society. It was then he introspected about the experiences that made him the person he was. “I regularly played volleyball and hockey in school, and also represented the Hyderabad team in Under 19 tournaments. I was in no way the best player, or the best athlete in the teams that I was a part of, but sports have a very special place in my heart. Sports has been the best teacher I’ve ever met. I’ve learnt some of the best life lessons from sports about attitude, team work, and leadership which will stick with me for life”

This introspection led to a conclusion that Sanjay wanted to use the passion he had for sports for a good cause. He came across ProjectKHEL, an NGO that was using sports, games, and other interactive methods to transform the lives of children. Without a second thought, Sanjay bid his coveted job at Facebook goodbye and moved back to India and to Lucknow to join the ProjectKHEL team. ProjectKHEL uses play and interactive methods to transform adolescents into positive agents of change within their communities. One of the main programmes at ProjectKHEL that Sanjay is actively involved is called ‘Made in Maidan’ where sports are used as a medium to impart life skills education to underprivileged children.

“I couldn’t have been happier with where I am right now, working on things I’m passionate about. Personally, although this job is more exhausting than my corporate job, the kind of satisfaction I have been getting is immeasurable. I go to bed with a sense of pride about the work I have done, and also wake up the next morning with double the enthusiasm to do more!”