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My First Job

Posted by RB Kollannur on April 12, 2009


25 May 2004, NIIT Residency Road, Bangalore – It was an early start to the morning. I was staring through the window watching people run for cover as a drizzle came from the heavens. Luckily, I was safe inside an air conditioned classroom with a cup of cold coffee in my hand.

I had two interviews lined up for the day –  A tech support job in a Hyderabad based startup and for a database administration role in an FMCG company. The first company took its time in getting there. Blame it on the traffic. At least, I could relish on the last sip of cold coffee from the machine as I watched water droplets trickle down across the windows.

It was a curious turn of events that brought me to Bangalore in the first place. I had been here only for a week, on a bootcamp from NIIT Ravipuram (Kochi). After enduring a fruitless couple of months of MBA interviews, I was distraught over the options available. With only a BBA from the local university, I didn’t see many immediate career options. CA was too tedious and long. I wanted to make better use of my memory than remembering all the legal nuances attached (I still have trouble forgetting the definitions in the Indian Contract Act 1872). I did not like auditing either. It felt like doing an autopsy, when you could have spend time finding a cure. So MBA, it was gonna be.

I went back to the Java book that I was fishing through. It has been two years since I wrote my last program and everything drew a blank. No. Cross that. Void, as per programming parlance.

… If you use too many nested ifs, you might end up being a headcase. Use switchcase instead … Int is a datatype and has no connection with the Ents in LOTR … The other datatypes are short, long (Hey, is this the stock market?), float, byte (?)… .

Time for a quick bite.

CAT was easy enough. I didn’t have any major concerns, though an IIM call was unlikely. But GDs have always been my Achilles’ Heel. I prefer to wait till everyone is done talking before I start.

(Hmm. This sandwich is good.)

But I needed a filler while I attempted CAT again. And that meant looking for a job. 😦

The recruiters have finally arrived. They will be conducting some written tests and will be coming up with another shortlist after that. Damn! There goes the thin layer of hope I was holding on to. Back to the drawing board.

Getting a temporary job in my hometown wasn’t difficult. But I had been there for most of my life. I wanted a job outside Kerala, to learn about the people outside the state. For that I’ll need to rely on my computing skills than my accouting ones. And so I went back to my old NIIT center to see if they knew of any jobs available. It had been two years since I had gone there. In all likelihood they won’t even remember me.

The written test went ahead smoothly and I was shortlisted for the interview. First hurdle crossed.

I had shelved a programming career for a management one two years ago. I had completed a two year course at NIIT, but I still had two more years to complete my degree. Now with an year gap, I would have to get back to my programming roots.

The interview was a bit tricky. Though the job was for technical support, they were looking for good candidates who can become programmers may be six months down the line. They were not overtly concerned about your programming language skills either, since they used Delphi, which not many knew.

In hindsight putting my CAT percentile on the CV (On my mom’s insistence) was tactless. It was obvious that I would not be looking to commit to the company for a long period. Post MBA, it would be easy for me to get a job for ten times the salary they were offering (Which incidentally I did get) and given my academic background, MBA would have been the natural next step.

I reached the NIIT office early morning, but they were not able to help me much. Fortunately for me, I ran into one of my former faculties who was still teaching there. She informed me they’ll let me know if  anything comes up. I wasn’t expecting opportunities to prop up out of thin air, but at least I’ll be in the checklist for a while.

Having realized that I was a bit nervous as I awaited the final results. The other interview was to be in Whitefield, in the outskirts of the city. But I needed to stay at the center till the results came, in case there is another round of interview. As the clock ticked on, it grew more and more likely that I’ll have to skip the interview at Whitefield. There was no communication from the first company either. Dejected, I walked back to my hotel in Majestic and booked for my tickets back home. I called back home to inform of the results, rather the non-result.

The next day I got a call from Kochi telling me to report to Bangalore in two days. Apparently there was a bootcamp being organized for recruitment and they needed to sent a team. Couple of the students had dropped out in the last minute and they needed someone to fill in. As I had gone there only the day before, I was drafted in. Everything fell in place at the right time.

My dad told me to get in touch with NIIT. NIIT had contacted them (Since I had left my home phone as the contact number) to inform that I had cleared my interview and had to report to the Bangalore Stock Exchange the next day for induction (The company had a support team there).

Epilogue : I would shift to Hyderabad later, where after one month of further tests and training I was shifted into programming (with a marginal salary hike 🙂 ). I left the job a few months later, before a GD/PI filled February 2005, satisfied with the learning acquired over the past months.

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