6 Entrepreneurial Lessons From Cleaning the Mountains [One Week One Job]

Guest article by Jubanashwa Mishra, a 28 year old from Orissa who is experimenting with a new job every week for 28 weeks in 28 states.

When I first decided to embark on this journey of 28 jobs, across 28 states in 28 weeks, I hadn’t expected the overwhelming reception from the media as I have received, and I would like to extend a special thanks to NextBigWhat, for being the first one to cover me. Seeing the article which appeared on NextBigWhat, Rahul Narvekar, CEO, NDTV Ethnic Retail Pvt ltd wrote to me. Many others, such as Lalit Mangal, Founder, CommonFloor; Professor Anil Gupta of IIMA and Sristi foundation are the ones who gave me my first few job offers.

And it was from the idea of a rolling ball, that I figured important entrepreneurial lessons from a job as remote and underappreciated as cleaning the mountains. Like the dynamic conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy that keeps the ball rolling, there are infinite things happening around you and to extract this knowledge, all you need to do is to take a second to observe, pay attention and experience the moment.

Jubanashwa-Mishra
Jubanashwa Mishra

After working as a photographer in Harayana, Market Researcher in Gujarat and a Hotel Manager in Rajasthan, I moved to Himachal to work with WasteWarriors.org, an organization striving towards preserving the beauty of our mountains by keeping them clean. Going up on Monday morning to Triund hill from the Bhagshu village and coming back the next day, with Jodie Underhill, Founder of Wastewarriors.org was an experience in itself and here are a few things I learnt, which could be helpful in every entrepreneurial journey.

One: Ideas are always Sexy, There are Always Hidden Thorns

The beauty of the landscape is so absorbing, that when we started the journey uphill, I had almost forgotten that I was here for a job and was looking forward to enjoying the trek. Reality struck, when I was given a pair of hand gloves and a bag to take with me to collect the garbage on the way. But the idea was so engrossing that, I could easily enjoy the pain after a while climbing up, with a garbage bag in one hand, water bottle in other hand, and like a normal city boy traveller one camera bag hanging on my back.

Two: Never give up in middle of the journey

Whether climbing up or down, the journey is always difficult for an inexperienced person and for me it was proving to be more tiring than expected and all I could think of was the rest at the end of the day. But one look at the amount of garbage around you or the stuff in your bag, and it was enough to know that important work needed to be done.

Three: Throw your ego out of the window

By associating with big brands and working for big corporate, you get used to a certain kind of working style; a certain amount of ego is bound to creep in. When you choose to start your own company, everything your education, your past work experiences and your designation all stop mattering. You need to do everything yourself. By cleaning mountains, I realised, that there is no place for ego when creating value. The work is worth everything.

 Four: Prepare for the Unexpected

If there is a law an entrepreneur should remember, it is Murphy’s law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Irrespective of how much you plan, things are bound to get out of hand. Late evening just before sunset, I could see the village lights from a distance. I felt that had almost reached there, and we were not carrying any light source, except our mobile phones. And with this tiny source of light, we got lost for sometime, the journey was excruciatingly painful and while every muscle in my body screamed for rest, I was not allowed to.

Five: There is always a smile at the end

Even with all the new and painful experiences, the journey was unlike any other and the feeling of accomplishment was unparalleled by anything I had done before.

So there you have it, a few thing I learnt on the job, ridding the mountains of garbage. There are miles to go before I sleep and many more jobs lie ahead of me.

Six: Don’t follow my lessons, learn your own.

[Note: To complete this journey, and document it in a film and book, Jubanashwa has started a crowd funding campaign. If you’d like to help, go here. One Week One Job India website here.]

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