How I I Landed my Dream Job & Realized I was Grazing in the Wrong Pastures
By the time I turned 6; my parents had already told half the neighbors “Bada hoke ye Engineer Banega!” Of course, those were the days when only Engineering and Medical were the worthwhile professions in India according to an anonymous Parents of India survey. So yes, that’s one of the reasons I became an engineer; after all I never wanted my parents to lose face in front of those neighbors who’re probably non-existent by now.
The sad truth, though, was that Engineering College was a totally different story which I guess every engineer knows and those entire 4 years, I guess I did everything except…well Engineering! However, once I reached my 3rd year of Engineering without a single backlog, I learnt there was a new kid in town. And he was called an MBA!
It was the stuff we had always seen in Hollywood movies. Smart, suave men with briefcases to match their crisp suits; burning the mid-night oil to change the fortunes of various organizations. And earning money that seemed to have no end! Leading Indian newspapers often carried the story of how this IIM guy got a 2 crores offer and how that FMS chick was now the most eligible bride in the colony. Oh boy, was I bitten by the MBA bug!
And that’s how I ended up writing the CAT. Twice!
I didn’t land up at one of the IIM’s (much to the sorrow of my parents and delight of jealous neighbors) but IMT, Ghaziabad wasn’t a bad deal either. After all, it was ranked as the 9th Best B – School in India by god knows what magazine.
When I entered B – school, I thought this was finally it. I was frankly better than 97.3 % of the other candidates who wrote the CAT and my dream ride to fame and fortune had begun. Throughout those 2 years, I continued to believe this with the notion that there were a thousand and one companies lined up outside the doors of my hostel room, begging at the chance to have this freakin’ awesome MBA work for them.
After all, I had completed all the 15 case studies in Product Management and Strategy!
Nonetheless, I did land up at a pretty well paying job with a pretty well known MNC that had a pretty well sounding title for me. My parents were happy, my bank balance even more so and for once, I was content.
6 months into my “dream job” and that’s when the bubble burst!
I began to dread Mondays and going to work even though there wasn’t much. I began to hate those hour long coffee breaks where colleagues bitched about everything under the sun. Soon enough, I found myself on the wrong side of office politics only because I wasn’t “one of them”.
Needless to say, I quit that job after a year and found myself another one; this time with another MNC. To say that the same story repeated itself would be an understatement!
And that’s when I began to doubt myself…
To be very honest with you, I’ve always been a confused soul. When I was a kid, I never knew whether I liked chocolate or ice-cream and I still don’t. But this was different! I began to doubt my talent and abilities and when that happens, it’s a really tough time for your girlfriend! While my friends were still at the same job, earning a lot more money (but cribbing, because frankly that never stops), here was I, ready to change my 2nd job in 2 years.
Friends poked fun at me saying I didn’t know what I wanted. My parents were worried because their only son didn’t have the “stability factor” that was needed in a potential groom. As for me, I didn’t have a friggin’ clue because like I said, I’ve always been the confused sorts!
As they say, it was time for a little introspection and that’s exactly what I did. I knew my strengths; I was pretty good with Marketing fundas and really good when it came to Digital and Online Marketing. And I loved to write. So I began to job hunt for a company that offered me the chance to do all the above and one where I would actually be doing something that made a difference. It might sound cliched but I wanted to work with smart people who were challenging the status-quo!
They say when you really want something truly and honestly; the entire universe conspires to let you have it. I knew I wanted the job as Marketing Head at iimjobs.com, the minute I laid my eyes on the posting. 20 days and a few interview rounds later, I had that job.
When I first met Tarun, it was at a small coffee shop in Bangalore. He took me though the entirety of how he founded iimjobs.com and suggested I meet one of his investors. One meeting with Sameer was all it took to dispel all my doubts and make me realize this is where I wanted to be. Of course, the fact that both Tarun and Sameer had changed more jobs than me before finding their true calling was a blessing in disguise!
Yes, there was the usual uproar from friends and family about the perils of joining a start-up. I must have heard different versions of “They might go out of business” or “Hike kitna mila?” umpteen times by now, each ending with a he-must-be-mad look. But for the 1st time in so many years, I finally feel free and love my work.
I’ve already met quite a few people who share the same passion and belief and after 27 years, I’ve realized that I’m no longer part of a dying breed or a confused one; I had simply been grazing in the wrong pastures!
P.S – For all the inquisitive folks, am attaching below the presentation that I sent Tarun as a letter of intent