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  who's who >> Shukla Bose >> Christel House India


You have to bring a lot of your self and your emotions into the job because you are dealing with human beings, not financial capital...

The challenge is that you must be emotional, yet your success lies in being objective and taking clear businesslike decisions.”Thus spake Shukla Bose on her new passion (and business): social work.

When Bose, the ex-managing director of Resort Condominiums International (RCI), took over as MD of Christel House India (CHI), she wasn’t too sure of herself. “When I joined CHI, I was scared.

Didn’t know what I was going for. After the high profile, being formally dressed, sitting in a board room, meeting top hoteliers and resort developers of the world, moving in luxury cars, flying first class, now wearing rubber slippers and walking in the slums, teaching children the very basics of life:
eating, speaking and toilet training!

But working in poverty doesn’t bother me. I had worked with Mother Teresa as a student.”

Yes, her life has turned around 180 degrees. But she has always wanted to do the things that require courage, and that’s what she has done. “People opt for a change when things are not going well.

I have always worked hard and achieved all that I wanted: a high profile lifestyle, bank balance, the best education for my daughter and I could go ahead higher.

It’s a great time to embrace a change in life and knock off your beliefs. The change is bestowed on you.”

What does a business executive bring to the world of social work? Says Bose: “There aren’t many people with my kind of expertise. There is good talent in the field but people are woolly headed.

I can use my business experience in social work and be highly focussed and bring accountability and transparency into the field. I look forward to becoming a model for social work.”

Bose says she no longer entertains in five star hotels, but her world has certainly expanded. “Working in the leisure industry, I did a great job teaching people a lifestyle. Now I am teaching the basics of life to 450 children.

The best thing about this job is that I can actually see a tangible change in the lives of these children.”

If you are seriously thinking of taking up social work as a career, you don’t have to be the MD of a multinational corporation.

But you have to know exactly what you are getting into. It involves your values, beliefs and convictions. It demands a lot of energy, commitment, unconditional dedication, courage and often a change in lifestyle.

Since the field of social work is so varied and broad, it has been categorised into five main areas:

• Family and Child Welfare
• Medical and Psychiatric
• Social Welfare
• Urban and Rural Development, and
• Criminology and Correctional Administration

If you are still at the school or college level, get acquainted with the nature of the job and do some active volunteer work for the experience and a feel of things to come. You can:

• Join the National Student Service (NSS).
• Work as a volunteer for social service organisations.
• Offer to do voluntary work at a nearby organisation.
• Choose an academic stream that will actually help or prepare you for social work or serve as an additional qualification.

Professional qualification

Bachelor of Social Work, a three-year degree course after the 12th standard is a good option.

If you are already a graduate in any discipline, you could go for MSW, a two-year Masters in Social Work course. It’s not easy to get admission in prestigious institutes, though.

There is an entrance test and an interview. Admissions are strictly on merit and students from all over India vie for institutions like TISS, Nirmala Niketan and Delhi School of Social work. So be prepared.

Employment prospects: Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 a month is considered a good starting salary, but pay packets can be fatter if you work for a rich NGO.

On the other hand, you may be living on love and fresh air if you are not career minded.