5 Years of quitting Cognizant

01.01.20 07:35 AM By Kartheeban Chandramohan

Yes, It’s officially 5 years since I have quit my job in Cognizant and decided to do full time Social Work with the non profit organization I founded - Team Everest. Dec 31, 2014 is my last working day in a corporate. I wrote a Facebook post 5 years ago announcing my decision to quit the job which went viral fetching 14,000 likes, 1300 Comments and 1100 Shares. The blog post I wrote was viewed by 6.7 Lakhs people.

So, what am I doing for the past 5 years? 
Is it worth quitting my high paid corporate job?
Is it good to chase passion?

Let me try to answer some of these questions in this blog post. Remember to Read till the end!

Let me start with some of the key accomplishments which I feel proud about:

Giving back to Native: Immediately after quitting my job, I went back to my native - Arni in Tiruvannamalai District, Tamilnadu (India) and started identifying deserving parentless & single parented kids to support for their education. I identified 100 kids and started sponsoring their education. We named it as 'Smile 100' scholarship program.

Mom Dad Community Center: Converted our home in my native (Arni) where I was born and brought up into a community center helping 500 children in the community every year.

The Graduation Dream: A survey data says that out of 100 kids who join the school in India, only 25 students go on to join a graduate program in a college. I have seen this personally in many schools that we work with. Students dropping after school education due to lack of money to join college. This drop out rate is even higher for parentless and single parented students. Hence, we started a scholarship program called 'I am the Change Scholarship' in 2016 sponsoring 18 parentless, single parented students for their UG degree as a first batch.

We are currently sponsoring the graduation program of 400 parentless & single parented students.

Introducing computer education to School Children: We have set up computer labs and doing digital literacy classes for 5500 children every day in Government schools. Digital Literacy is not part of their curriculum and hence this is a very crucial skill to teach our children in 21st century.

Global Volunteering Program: We do an initiative called ‘Speak Out’ (www.speakout.teameverest.ngo) where volunteers teach Spoken English to College students. In our last edition of Speak Out, 800 Volunteers from 12 countries volunteered to teach Spoken English to 400 students who are in Chennai. 15,000+ Calls have happened in last edition alone. We built a mobile application that is used to map students and volunteers, access curriculum, mark attendance and raise issues that are resolved within 48 hours. Happy to conceptualise and execute a global volunteering program like this from scratch. I believe this is the first such tele-volunteering global program happening in India.

Corporate Partnerships: When I quit my job, our nonprofit had no partnerships with any corporates. 5 years down the line, we are currently working with 50+ corporates, SMBs and startups on various initiatives and on a different scale. At least 25% of these companies did their first CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity after my intervention.

Promoting Volunteering: We built a volunteer base of 15,000 volunteers from scratch who are the backbone of many Team Everest initiatives now. We are still learning and exploring many new ways to engage these volunteers in giving back to society.

Beneficiary reach: We currently work with 40,000 children every year on various programs.

Financial Capacity: When I quit my job, our organization didn't have enough funds to meet our goals. We worked hard and grew financially by 2000% in the past 5 years. Yes, that's 20 times. This is very important to scale our scholarship program and other initiatives to reach more children.

So, is it worth quitting the job?

Absolutely Yes. With loads of time in my hand, I'm able to build a team, identify volunteers, do fundraising and find the right corporate partners to help more children.

So, were there challenges?

Like everyone who is trying to chase their dreams, I too had many challenges in my journey. It required a lot of personal sacrifices, hard work and never say die attitude to keep things rolling.

I should thank my parents, my teachers, my friends and all my mentors in Cognizant who made me the person who I'm today.

What's the road ahead?

  1. Scholarship: We will be scaling our Scholarship to new cities in the next 5 years and our vision is to give Scholarships to 2025 new students every year from 2025 onwards.
  2. Promoting Volunteering: We will develop new programs and engage more individual & corporate volunteers to give back to society.
  3. Corporate Partnerships: We will meet more Corporates, SMBs, Startups and help them in making 'Giving' part of their organizational culture.
  4. Reach More beneficiary: We will work towards impacting 10x more children by 2025.

So, how can you help? 

  1. Give time: You are interested to volunteer? Sign up as a volunteer now.
  2. Be a Monthly Giver: Running our Scholarship program requires regular funds. Signup as a monthly donor and donate any amount of your choice monthly to educate a parentless/single parented student - www.hope.teameverest.ngo/join
  3. Donate: Cannot donate monthly? Make a one-time donation now - www.bit.ly/help2020
  4. Refer a corporate: Connect me with your company head or CSR head or HR or manager. We love to partner with like-minded organizations who wants to make a difference. My contact details are given below.
  5. Start a CSR/Giving Club in your company: No matter how big or small your company is. If your company wants to volunteer and looking for guidance, feel free to reach out to me. I will be glad to help.
  6. Follow our work in Social Media: FacebookInstagramLinkedInYoutube and Twitter.

Sponsor Me:

For the past 5 years, I'm not taking any salary and working as a volunteer to promote volunteering in our country and to provide quality education to children who couldn't afford it. Check out my giving journey here.

My wife who was working in Cognizant and later in Philips has also quit her job and joined Team Everest full time. Our current family income is 25% of what we use to earn in 2015. My savings helped me for the past 5 years and I will exhaust them in 2020.

Though I don't charge any of our beneficiaries, this world still charges me for all my expenses :).

The only way I can continue to survive in this world is to earn some money while doing my social work.

You can help me by:

  1. Sponsoring a small amount every month. Whatsapp me as 'Karthee Sponsor' to +91 89399 12365. Click here to whatsapp me now.
  2. Connect me with an individual (CEO, VP/Director, Celebrity, etc..) who can sponsor me fully or partially.
  3. A corporate can sponsor me from its profits so that I can continue to impact more lives.

I have a dream where every Indian volunteer at least once a month. And, I will continue to chase that dream to help more children.

P.S: Whatsapp me at +91 89399 12365 and let's stay connected. Be part of this Volunteering journey!

Thank you!