Looking back... and looking ahead.
I decided on which company to join pretty early. Two of my best friends from the senior batch has already joined that firm, and the chance to be with them for some more years was too tempting. They used to call me almost every week, come down to campus at regular intervals and mail once in a while. Apart from crushes, girl friends, campus, professors, life, love and universe, we also discussed the work.
It was good to hear that they were happy about their work. So what if it is a bit overworked... you really have to slog it out in the initial years anyway. It was full of my seniors and alumni from our college. Can life get any better?
I also decided to try for another group - they have their own system akin to the civil service. Having betrayed my family's IAS/IFS ambitions for an MBA, it was the least I could do. Besides, I also had friends who already got job offers from the company and who were planning to take it up.
A big NO was there for the FMCG sector. Not because I have anything against them, but because I was convinced - or brainwashed, to use the right term - by one of the faculty that you need atleast an A in the various Law papers to atleast think of qualifying for an FMCG. I took the easy way out - did not touch the book, but mentally voted the FMCGs off my list.
Then the fizzy guys. Granted, I got into them both swimmingly for my summers. Granted, I know people who work in both - again, loving seniors - and think they are cool. But my communist upbringing was opening a can of self questioning : How comfortable I would be, if I was asked to go to my state where people were fighting for these guys to shut down on their factory? Do I want to choose between my upbringing, four years of graduation and friends and a man who unceremoniously - arrogantly, again, to use the right word - ignored the question about the pesticides when he visited our campus?
Do I want to work for the IT companies? Well, atleast they have free internet.
The first company did choose me for the final interview. However, small things - how the ppt presentation was made, how the man talked proudly about not having time for his family.. it all came out in the interview. I walked out knowing that I did not make it, and I was happy that I did not.
Then, friends from the clone companies came calling. Forget them, join us. Said another friend. Again, doubt, questioning. How different will the two be? I chose not to apply to that bunch of earnest and young swashbucklers at all.
The company with the IAS hierarchy had a long form to fill up. I thought of doodling towards the end, but finally gave some prefunctory answers and sent it across.
Meanwhile, across a dinner table and a coffee table, I had got a job. This made me pretty much happy. I was not in love, but I was in like.
Recruitment time in full swing. Applied to three companies who came on the first day. Walked out of one after telling the interviewer that I do not want that job profile. Screwed up the other one by being myself. The last one. No seniors here, no batchmates so far. Nobody knows anything about them. I have not attended their ppt. My friends who are going for the interview have not pegged it high. "What arbitness.. " I muttered to myself.
I would not call it love at first sight. Both the people who interrviewed me are happily married, and one of them is a woman. I liked the lady, the way she talked, and the fact that her hair was streaked. I made a mental note to streak likewise as soon as the process gets over. It was more like talking to an elder cousin, discussing life and work. And I discovered to my mortification that even though they deal with technology, they are very much an FMCG.
"Hey, this aint half bad." I told myself. I knew that if the lady was as straight talking as she sounded, I stood a chance of getting a second round call.
I enter the room to fnd a middle aged gentleman wearing a chequred half sleeve shirt looking curiously at me. "Is this the interview room?" I asked.
Boy, Where are his formals? May be the poor chap lost his luggage. However, he was in a good mood despite that, and I happily chatted away with him. Half way through, my cell phone rang to the tune of some cheesy movie jatka number. I fumbled and cursed under my breath trying to locate the phone in any one of my suit pockets. He looked on with a bemused smile.
"Attend the call." Attend the call??? Are you kidding me?????? You may be dressed informally because you lost your luggage. But asking me to take my call equals telling me politely that I am not getting the job. Anyway, I thought of the verbal lashing the poor placement committee guys were going to get because of me ( they had got thrashed because food was not hot enough in some earlier occasion) and sat through and talked. And talked.
By the time I came out, I was in love. I went up to the placement guy handling this company and told him; "If they want me, I am in. I am in love with them." He smiled ( a cute smile, I should add here) and about three hours later, told me and other three friends, that we are accepted. I smiled. I grinned. And I grinned some more when I saw one of my friends saying yes to the offer. "I like them. They are very chill people." was his response.
Am I happy now?
Do I love my work?
Do I love my colleagues?
Will I recommend my company to you and ask you to join us?
What I can do is to tell you about my company. Whether you fit in here or not, that is a decision you have to make ( and the company too).
So any of my juniors reading this, keep this in mind. Joining a company and the 'lightening bolt' [ ref MarioPuzo's Godfather] is not very different. I hope you guys find your lightening bolts.