April 19, 2021

Overheard in the social sector: Part II

Disclaimer: These quotes are fictional, but the feelings are real.

2 min read


“I’m currently in the middle of an ongoing battle with my HR team. I need adoption or maternity leave for Lola and I can’t believe they aren’t granting it.

Yes, I know Lola is a puppy, but still.”

Overheard at the newest hipster coffee shop.


“Yesterday my sister was telling me about this new exercise routine she started during the lockdown and how it’s been a time of transformational change for her. I zoned out immediately—I’m still recovering from how much we used the words ‘transformative change’ in the impact report we published last week.”

Overheard at an online exercise class.


“My friend sent me a recurring calendar invite to make sure we see each other regularly. Not sure if I’ve peaked or hit rock bottom.”

Overhead at the park.


“It turns out I can’t break up with Aarav for another year. Yeah, our grant from the foundation he works at is up for renewal next year, and we can’t do anything to jeopardise it.

I know, I know. I should have thought twice before dating someone on the donor side but it’s too late for that advice now.”

— Overhead during an unmuted Zoom conference.


“Do you know a good workflow management application? I’m part of three collaboratives on partnership building and I keep mixing up the emails I send them.”

— Overheard on the local train.


“Yeah our offices opened up for a grand total of one week. To make that one week possible, an internal team of 12 people spent multiple days cleaning the space, buying sanitiser, revising our WFH policies, and writing safety guidelines. And after all that, we just got an email saying that they are thinking of ending the lease.”

— Overheard at the grocery store.


“My company is organising mandatory, mindfulness sessions over Zoom because they ‘care about our well-being during these unprecedented times’ but when I asked them for time off to attend an actual yoga retreat, they refused.”

— Overheard at the beach.


“The other day I was listening to a philanthropist give a talk about how we need to build a strong pool of talent and expertise in the sector. Yeah, they’re the same one who thinks that my organisation is paying me ‘too much’ because I can just about afford to pay rent in Mumbai.”

— Overheard at the vegetable vendor.


“I’m only three years into my career but I’m already ready for retirement.”

— Overheard in the elevator.

Want more? Read Part I here.

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India Development Review (IDR) is India’s first independent online media platform for leaders in the development community. Our mission is to advance knowledge on social impact in India. We publish ideas, opinion, analysis, and lessons from real-world practice.