Think out of the box

Think out of the boxI sat there reading the opportunities pages as I waited to pay my bills. Next to me sat an individual who was perhaps in his early fifties. He looked distraught and thoughtful. In the midst of a flurry of smses which he was sending, I caught him looking at the paper that I was reading.He struck up a conversation with me immediately – “Looking for a change?”

When I responded in the negative he continued to say that he was and how the times were tough. And then poured forth his tale of woe over the next thirty minutes....a mishmash of when he started, and the cross roads he was at currently. All this said in a sonorous voice which made the tale riveting. He had another fifteen days to find a job and pay for his child’s college admission. All through, I sat listening....nodding.

When he paused, I blurted – “Hey why don’t you do voiceovers or sing with a band?” His head turned towards me with a snap. Simultaneously he dished out a visiting card which read – Ramesh Srinivasamurthy – Senior Vice President. The company was a multinational. I was not sure whether he was offended. A short silence and then his excitement became so obvious.

The next I had heard of him was that Ramesh had become a preferred voice. And had also kept his job with a 40% salary cut. He thanked me profusely for the life saving idea.

So the moral of this story is of course to Think out of the box.

The same applies to all those who worried about the fate of their jobs.

We all have our strengths. We do not capitalise on them. Yes - times are hard.

It is now that creativity flourishes. Let us take stock at what we enjoy doing. It could be teaching music to kids in the block. Running a tuition centre to help with the homework. Teaching English to young adults in the lower income group. Catering for bachelors during the weekends. Baking. Tailoring. Or putting together presentations for people. Coaching the football team....

And a fee can be charged for all of this. If it flourishes you could turn it into a full fledged business. Watch your confidence surge because you now know that you have something to fall back on.

We need to work smart and allocate a couple of hours to take up this second life. The networking here can open new avenues for growth. Someone met a prospective employer at his son’s cricket coaching camp.

Some tips to keep one’s head above water –

  • Don’t panic and send out your resume to all and sundry. It undermines your own worth and puts HR consultants in a quandary.
  • Take on an extra responsibility at your workplace.
  • Introspect. Check if you can put away a couple of hours for what you want to do and charge a fee. Tuition for a few children @ 750 rupees a month, with about 10 children, adds up to about 7500 rupees a month.
  • Do not tell your tale of woe to everyone. Didn’t your parents tide over by continuing to do what they did best?
  • Do not jump jobs. Stay put if all things are fine. If there is a salary cut – it is still better than no salary at all.


- Gita Nair (views expressed in the article are that of the author)


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