I WANT THAT JOB. What am I ready to do for it?
This story of Sridhar Ramanathan is inspired by his Linkedin Post.
I am, as usual, an observer and a raconteur. In this case, the story core is Sridhar’s. The screenplay, dialogue, and masala addition: all mine!
25 years young, and I was clear about what I wanted to do.
At least where I wanted to work.
My uncle was surprised at this clarity, and my family was behind me. With that wind beneath my wings, I set out to accomplish my desire.
I wanted to work at Ogilvy Advertising.
Don’t ask me why! Don’t you have a dream company that you want to work or be associated with?
It was the same with me.
I wanted it. I wanted it desperately. And I wanted it now.
I set about knowing everything about the company. Those were not the internet days. I couldn’t simply google it all up. I went to my network, people I knew. I asked them for more information and connections. One thing led to another, and I had quite a docket on Ogilvy advertising. The hierarchy, the decision-maker, and the influencers around him.
My behaviour was a mix of marketing and sales. A bit of detective journalism as well, with a lot of legwork.
I also went to industry meetings to observe, ask, analyze and document.
Desire mixed Desperation, and a devil may care attitude is a powder keg combination.
The decision-maker who took hiring calls was the Managing Director, Mr. Mani Ayer. A man in his 40s who could easily have passed for a Colonel in the army. That kind of posture, behaviour, and discipline. More like “a place for everything and everything in its place” kind of a guy.
He knew what he wanted, when, and how. Well, from what I heard, he also wanted things NOW. At the snap of his finger!
He was the guy whose attention I needed to get. Getting to him, though, seemed out of the question.
I did make a feeble attempt at securing a meeting to be shooed away by the sentry at the door! He said that the boss is busy and was about to leave. So, I needed to go to make space!
I waited outside and observed. Mr. Mani walked out surrounded by colleagues, discussing something. As he was about to get into the car, his secretary came and handed him a docket.
Lingering around, I sat at a tea shop overlooking the Ogilvy office. The security came over for a smoke and tea. He recognized me and gave a weak smile. How many think, small bearded folks could he have shooed off today. We got talking, and I asked him about the docket. The security guard told me that Mr. Mani optimized every minute.
So, the drive back home was used to scan the day’s reading and updates.
Through him, I also learned more about the company’s needs and the kind of questions Mr. Mani asks.
You must be thinking, how will a security guy know all this?
When people wait for an interview, what do they do? They talk.
When someone comes out of Mr. Mani’s room after an interview, that person is besieged outside the office. Quizzed on the questions asked. All of this happened in front of the security.
You’d be surprised what kind of information a single tea can get you!
That evening, I sat and prepared. I listed all possible questions Mr. Mani could ask. And I wrote down my answers for each of them. I added information about me, and I included photocopies of testimonials from my previous bosses.
I also wrote why I wanted to join Ogilvy and the change I would bring about.
A bit of cheeky humour as well, as I mentioned that I will marry only after I get employment at Ogilvy.
I put the docket into a green office envelope and used my previous evening’s relationship building with the security to get into the building. He led me to Mr. Mani’s secretary. I leaned across the table with a confident attitude and tone and said this docket is to be added to Mr. Mani’s evening reading.
I waited the next day for a call that never came.
The day after, it did. A call from Ogilvy asking me to show up tomorrow morning at 9AM.
I was there by 830AM.
I walked into Mr. Mani’s office with butterflies in my stomach. Was I going to be reprimanded?
Somehow this walk reminded me of the day I was marched to the headmaster’s room. Was this going to be similar?
I stood in front of Mr. Mani, who was busy on the phone. I noticed my docket sitting on his table, with a green tick mark on top of it. Not knowing what to make of it, I stood there, shifting my weight from one leg to the other.
Mr. Mani kept the phone down and looked at me slowly. He didn’t say a word, but I knew I was being evaluated. I looked back at him with a beaming smile.
He pointed to the docket and asked, “Is this yours?”
Mr. Mani said: “Wait here for a minute,” and he left the room. I stood there doing a slow mental number count.
Within a minute, Mr. Mani was back with another person to whom he handed the docket. That gentleman was Ranjan Kapur, the deputy MD of the firm.
Ranjan: “It looks like a police dossier. It answers all the usual questions we ask. What have you been up to?”
Me: “Just doing my background research, sir. I wanted to cover all angles.”
Ranjan: “I see. Why do you want to join this firm?”
I am not going to tell you what I said there. That’s a story for another day. I had rehearsed the answer well, and the answer flowed smoothly. As smooth as a G.Vishwanath cover drive.
Ranjan was impressed, and he had to say what is now ad nauseam in the corporate World, “We will get back to you.”
I knew I had aced it. I knew I had it. What I did not know was the when!
The call came five months later. They had created a new role for me and I lapped it up.
I enjoyed the job so much that I ended up investing my next 25 years in it.
So, my question to you is:
You want that job? What are you ready to do for it?
When you know what you want, clearly
And are ready to do what needs to be done
Even if that means some more travel, tears, and sweat
What is to stop you
Go forth, and multiply
We need more like you.
What’s the time?
The time is now!
From a YouTube video chronicling Apa, the man who has climbed the Everest 21 times
- All stories in this “52” series:
1. The Cycle Wheel
2. The strong polish their fangs and the weak….
5. What happens to nice guys?
7. Growth: How did she do it?
9. When would you fire yourself?
11. What happened to soft-spoken Radha?
12. Simplicity needs common sense, not education!
14. Rushing to Conclu….
17. The importance of competition
21. A division with minimal acrimony?
22. The Everest sighting that turned out to be…
25. What does it take to win? RAHUL PART 1
26. Vagabonding as a way of life RAHUL PART 2
27. Which past experiences are you mixing up? RAHUL PART3
31. A squishy squeezy state of affairs. SRIDHAR Part 1
Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur.
Connect with me at Outlier @PravinShekar.com
For creative collusions, join: http://bit.ly/JoinMyOutlierTribe
Pravin is the author of multiple books: http://tiny.cc/PravinShekarBooks
Devil Does Care, Marketing lessons from The Art of War, Marketing lessons from Mythology, Getting paid to speak, a Virtual Summit Playbook, Climb your way out of hell, a collection of travel pics/romantic poems, and stories from the heart!
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