A full-time student to a full-time professional
June 2009 : I graduated as an Electronics and Communications Engineer from a private college in Hyderabad, India. A couple of months prior to my convocation, I had got placed in a leading Telecom company. This meant that I wouldn’t be allowed to appear for any further interviews conducted by companies that visited our campus for placements. Like most colleges, my college had this policy to ensure everyone got a (fair) chance to bag a job for themselves. I was always an average student and I kind of liked this policy as it enhanced the probability for everyone to leave college with a ticket to one of the many IT Parks in India.
Mid-August 2009 : This was the time when I was supposed to join Reliance Telecommunications. With a lot of anticipation, 33 of my batchmates and I reported at 9:00 am sharp at their local office. But to our surprise, we were told that due to the infamous recession, we had lost our jobs (even before joining, lol!). To make matters worse (basis our expectations post getting an Engineering Degree from college), they decided to give us an offer as Field Sales Executives to sell dongles (door-to-door). Not taking anything away from this opportunity / role , I thought at that time that the company would be underutilising talent by hiring us for this role which could be done (maybe even better) by freshmen from school looking out for jobs. However, in due course I’ve come to realise (more than ever before) that no job is lesser than the other. Opportunities do not show up at the doorstep (like I thought it did for me during the college placements). It is all about creating opportunities for oneself by learning & applying through every step of the way. Long story short, all 34 of us declined the offer and went our respective ways to look for the logical next step of securing a 9 to 5 job.
Home Calling : I was a boarding school student since my fourth standard which meant that my folks saw this (me being out of college and jobless) as an opportunity to get me spend some quality time with family. I liked the fact that they didn’t put any undue pressure on me to get a job immediately after college (which wasn’t the case with many of my friends from college) but I declined this generous offer and instead decided to extend my internship (which was part of our curriculum) at a firm re-selling Chinese military grade laptops and other ancillary parts. My role was very basic : Sometimes I was taking care of the last mile delivery of samples to prospective clients and sometimes I spent time working on building an advanced traffic signal system for an arterial road in the city (this was assigned to me when I raised concerns about not being given the right industry training that I expected out of my internship). Either way, neither of these roles were related to my specialisation but I decided to continue the drill. This turned out to be the first bold decision that helped me build a foundation for my career. I also realised that I was starting to appreciate every task assigned to me. I made it a point to involve myself in every project I was exposed to and have transferrable takeaways for my future full-time jobs that I had hoped would become a reality soon.
Got lucky : Fortune favours the brave, doesn’t it? I was out on a lunch break with my intern colleagues (my batchmates from college) when all three of them (except me) got back-to-back calls from a reputed MNC with offices in the city for potential job opportunities (same role, multiple open positions). They got their interviews scheduled for the very next day. I figured that this was because of them uploading their resumes on job portals which I hadn’t even thought of (silly, I know!). I thought to myself-my qualifications were the same as theirs with no work experience, so why could I not tag along for these interviews? And that is exactly what I did the following day-I tagged along with my friends to get interviewed. This was the second bold decision I made in my career and it worked in my favour, yet again. I managed to convince the HR to let me participate in the interview process. The next 30 days were filled with interviews, background checks, etc at the end of which I got the formal offer letter. I was excited yet apprehensive at the same time after what had happened earlier with my original offer (from college placements). But I got second time lucky-the offer stood and I joined Google India by the end of September 2009. As it turned out, the next 2+ years at Google happened to be one of the best phases of my life-I worked hard, grew as a professional and made a lot of friends!
The 3+ month window elaborated above was an emotional roller coaster ride for me. It had a few things that I could control and many things which were beyond my control. But my persistence to keep at it while hoping for the best worked in my favour. It helped me get my first full-time job. The sense of accomplishment was real. I was happy…