Monday 7 June 2010

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's new life ...

Where I work there are not many people who are permanently  based in the office with me. One young junior staff member whose function is data entry and whose English is limited, one finance person who is also doing project work at one of out remote offices, S whose role is documentation but is only part time and has good English, and Mr P himself when he is not out at our field offices or meeting with donors and funders. Otherwise the office is very quiet. I share a room with S and with one other person, project manager H.
Until recently H has been essentially office based as the mother and child health project he had been working on was completing and he was busy writing reports . Then for the  past couple of months he has been in the office less as he took on a new project in Natural Resource Management in one of our remote locations. Last week I noticed H was looking particularly happy, but I didn't get a chance to ask him why. His happiness surprised me as I suspected he was not happy with his new project - although he is a good project manager, the subject area didn't sound to me like a good fit for the H I had got to know over the past 6 months. Then on Friday I was talking with S about the various staff changes which have happened recently and she tells me that H has a new job, and a good one for him. So this morning I congratulate him and get the whole story.
H's new job is as a project coordinator - project manager effectively - for a government run health project. His contract is for 3 years. The down side is that it is in a district some 200Kms away from here, so he will have a 6-8 hour commute each way at weekends back to his family here, until he can ascertain the standing of the local schools and make a decision about moving his wife and child with him. But the upside is that he goes from a salary of 8,000 rupees per month to 25,000 rupees per month. Now by anyone's reckoning tripling your salary is a great achievement! I double mine once and was ecstatic! But this is over 3 times his existing salary, plus vehicle. Well done H!
In his normal understated way, H tells me he is "very happy", that recently he has been finding it impossible for the family to survive on the 8,000 Rupees and he has been borrowing money each month just to get by. I didn't like to ask where he was borrowing money from - whether it was from within his extended family (which has pros and cons), the bank (which I doubt), some money lender (I hope not), or some credit union type facility (a better option). At least now he can see himself paying back his debts and saving some money. Whilst this is not an unimportant factor, he also added that his current project had not been giving him much personal satisfaction lately. This job will play more to his Masters in Social Work background and skill set and is clearly in a project in a field H enjoys working in, namely health. His delight at his good fortune is infectious when he talks about his new job, the new money and the new possibilities it opens up for him and his family. He proudly showed my his appointment letter.
So please where ever you are today, whether you are in a job you love or not, please raise a glass of your favourite tipple , even a cup of tea will do for this non alcohol imbiber, and toast H and his success . All the best H.


  1. I wish I could congratulate H in person but I will toast him with my forthcoming cup of jasmine tea instead. Congratulations to H!

  2. A glass of grape and cherry juice with tonic water raised in congratulations here too...