March 6, 2023

What we learnt in our first six months at a social sector job

Six months? Really? It definitely feels longer.

2 min read

Disclaimer: No employees were harmed in the making of this piece. We think.


You have to adapt to the sector lingo very quickly, or else…

A confused man saying I don't know what scale is and at this point I'm too afraid to ask_nonprofit humour


Your nonprofit card stands to be revoked if you have never attended a conference at India Habitat Centre. Needless to say, the smallest details of the Stein Auditorium are now permanently etched into our memory.

A man given two choices as red button saying IHC and generic 5 star hotel to show nonprofits deciding where to host their event_nonprofit humour


Networking at conferences will alter your brain chemistry in unique ways. Sometimes when my mother comes to visit I greet her with “Hi, can I have your business card?”

Bernie sanders saying I'm once again asking for your business card_nonprofit humour


Sneaking up behind experts that just got off the stage becomes part of your key responsibilities.

A man sneaking behind a women and saying Hello ji_nonprofit humour


But be warned, said expert may use some terms you may have never heard of. (Pro tip: Just say ‘ecosystem development’ or ‘just transition’ anytime there’s an awkward silence.)

A woman saying weatherism, is that the word for it?_nonprofit humour


At least there’s free food at conferences. That’s such a great perk. Truly. No complaints. *cue food poisoning* *cries in no-health-insurance*.

A blindfolded woman surrounded by red flags with the image saying me searching for free food at the conference despite all the red flags_nonprofit humour


We don’t know what FCRA is but our boss says we’ll never get one. Much like a return on a public policy master’s degree.

A man (me) looking at another woman (development sector job) while walking with his partner and ignoring her (financial stability)_nonprofit humour


It can be slightly complicated to explain what we do for a living *cough*.

A man saying kehna kya chahte ho_nonprofit humour


But despite everything, the people are genuinely nice, passionate about the impact of their organisation, and love to scale their work (did we use ‘scale’ correctly?)

A colonel toad saying Gentlepeople, it is with great pleasure to inform you that we've made impact at scale_nonprofit humour

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Halima Ansari-Image
Halima Ansari

Halima Ansari is an editorial analyst at IDR where she’s responsible for writing, editing, and publishing content. She is interested in gender and ethics in technology and has written on the same for Feminism in India and MP-IDSA. Halima holds an MA in Politics and Area Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia and a BA in History from Lady Shri Ram College for Women.

Jasmine Bal-Image
Jasmine Bal

Jasmine Bal is an editorial analyst at IDR, where she is responsible for writing, editing, and transcribing content. She has previously worked as an editor at Viva Books and as a tutor at the FLA Writing Center at Sophia University, Japan. Jasmine holds master’s degrees in global studies and English, and a bachelor’s degree in social sciences.

Srishti Gupta-Image
Srishti Gupta

Srishti Gupta is an editorial analyst at IDR where she’s responsible for writing, editing, and translating content. She previously worked in an editorial capacity at Springer Nature. She holds a master’s degree in political science and is interested in researching gender, social justice, security, and international relations.