In this feature of Jobaaj Stories, we bring to you the inspiring tale of CS Umesh Pratap Singh, a boy who lived below his means, struggled hard, and managed to break his family's cycle of poverty through education and willpower.
I am Umesh,
I am a proud CS, and the assistant company secretary to Ujjivan Small Finance Bank.
However, my journey hasn't been as easy as one could expect.
I come from a family of farmers and we coped with financial struggles, so much so that even education was a luxury for me.
I grew up in Balkaran Purwa, a very small village located in the Gonda district of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
My family was involved in farming and so my childhood flourished among the fields. Typically, I also had to travel around 3 km to my school due to the lack of any sophisticated transportation.
Ours was a below-average life and most of the future career options were limited to either agriculture or moving to a big city to earn a livelihood.
That's what my father did. He lived in Delhi working in a minimum-wage construction-related job. Ultimately, in 2008, our whole family moved to Delhi.
Life changed for the better, I could have access to a better kind of education compared to the one I received in my village.
The city was big and I was fascinated by the tall buildings, the lavish lifestyles, and the sophisticated people.
We lived in a small rental house in new Seemapuri, Delhi, and although our financial condition hadn't improved for much, I realized that I can improve our way of life.
Taking the decision of pursuing CS
My parents were quite supportive of my studies and even though we used to struggle for basic necessities.
After completing my Commerce stream in 12th grade, I pursued my Bcom from Indira Gandhi National Open University.
I had made education my biggest priority now.
I had decided to pursue the career of Company Secretary at his point.
The only challenge was to convince my parents. After all, I was going to invest 3 years of my life studying for this course.
I was able to explain to my father the economic value of the course and how it could enable me to turn around our lives.
However, our financial problems still worked against my decision.
And then, the gods blessed us.
A committee comprising of some locals offered to loan me money on the condition that I use it strictly for my coaching expenses.
I was incredibly grateful to them for their kindness and so in 2013, I enrolled myself in the CS foundation program.
Treading the path of CS while making ends meet
At this point, my mother had started to work in a clothing factory to support my brother and my own education expenses.
I too decided to contribute to the family income and bear my own expenses.
Therefore, I took up a newspaper selling job in 2014-2015 and was able to come to my family's aid.
Coming to my studies, I had cleared CS foundation and Executive Programs fairly easily in the first attempt.
However, I guess my early success went to my head and ultimately I start failing in my CS finals.
After my 3rd attempt, my father insisted that I should quit. Moreover, it was becoming difficult for him to support me financially anymore.
Fortunately, my internship began in 2017 after which I could manage my travel and other expenses by myself.
After unparalleled efforts, and uncountable sleepless nights, I finally cleared the CS final in 2019.
I had made my dream come true. But there was much more to do.
Making Career advancements
Initially, after completing CS, I joined a boutique firm in Delhi, but I wanted corporate exposure.
I then got an internship in Bangalore with a bank.
Initially, the corporate environment was a bit overwhelming, but gradually I adjusted to this life and the work. My superiors and colleagues helped a lot in the process.
I also reciprocated and put all my efforts into the work.
I remember working till midnight in the office at the time of the Bank's IPO. My efforts didn't go unnoticed and I even got to attend the listing ceremony in the Mumbai NSE office.
Soon, my internship came to an end, and I was placed full-time as the Assistance Company secretary in the bank.
This was something that I had always wanted. My dreams were slowly coming true.
I was able to work at very high positions, being able to convene Board committees meetings independently, interact with Board members, Senior RBI officials during annual financial inspections, and more.
Furthermore, all of these achievements gave me a serious boost in confidence.
My academic struggles and my hard work had finally come to fruition.
The journey was hard, but I was able to finally make it. Thanks to my education.
Coming from a financially weak background, I have been greatly able to embrace and appreciate the opportunities I was given.
I am always looking for new and better opportunities to keep improving myself and advance ahead in my life for the sake of my family's betterment.
Soon, I'll be joining one of India's leading General Insurance companies in a Managerial role(Legal and compliance).
I wish to keep growing and embracing the career that my education paved for me.
I am eternally grateful to everyone who helped me on this road, and I am especially grateful to my family, whom I can finally pay back for all the sacrifices they made for my fulfillment.