Alone in corporate world

(One of the oldest posts that I had written)

The third year of college was about to end. Some companies came for intern recruitment, and since that time, it had been a point of discussion that a person should be good in bonding, to be a part of a team. Placement is the one thing which matters most to an engineer, at least one like me, who even thought of taking admission to a college on the basis of its placement scenario. When it was the final year, obviously this was the thing of highest concern. Everyone was looking for a job, making CVs, preparing HR questions which they would have mugged up at least 100 times, but a smart interviewee will show that he had naturally thought of it. I also was doing the same, no exception. We also had a placement preparation workshop, which cost about 1200 bucks. A person, who won’t even attend regular class, was seriously attending those by paying extra money, which he may not even have spent to impress a girl (girls are most important topic of discussion for an engineer, but let’s talk about it later someday). So, in placement preparation workshop we were told that most important thing after cracking initial test would be your CV, as it is your first impression and most of the questions would be asked based on it. When I made my CV and had shown it to Workshop host, he made very important changes. These changes mainly included putting your group activities above personal achievements. When asked why, the answer was “As a recruiter of 4 companies, I mainly look that a person can be part of a team or not. And most other recruiters do the same.”

Having a pointer just above 7 in an NIT and not to be among toppers is one of the worst things because most of the companies would allow you for a written test. When you crack them, they will allow you for Group Discussion. But when you reach Personal Interview, they will ask you, why your CGPA is low, hadn’t you studied properly, what you were doing all these years, blah blah blah. I had drawn a conclusion that they are really bored with interviews of geeks, and as a part of enjoying their holidays, they ask us to come to interviews. While looking at some bald interviewers, I even thought is it a Roadies interview, they were just enjoying letting me know that I have not done anything other than gaming, social networking, sleeping, in my engineering life.

So cutting a long story short, while this phase continued, I was preparing for some big names which were about to visit campus, I didn’t even visit my home in those holidays. I had thought of taking one company which was about to visit campus as a practice match for the next company coming next week. But my destiny had other plans and I hit the century in that practice match and hence, in placement terms, I was disqualified to play in the main match. But one of the good things was, two other, who were selected with me had the potential to be the best friends and I was looking forward to the same.

After college got over, I enjoyed 2 months vacations to the fullest and joined the company on my official birthday- 1st July. In the company I made really good friends, and by “friends” I really mean friends not colleagues. And I was happy with the new team and its bonding. I thought may be team bonding was needed, as we had to move along. We have to help each other wherever we are falling short. So maybe, it was correct that team bonding was necessary.

After initial phase of induction of 24 days out of which 8 were spent in 3 star hotel (may be one thing for which I will always remember company as Good one 😛 ), we were allotted departments. And while we had our introduction with HoDs of the different departments I told HoD of SCM department that I was interested in the SCM. And due to his help, I was allotted the same department.

My project was store layout improvement. Initially I had good interaction with other 6 guys of the same department, out of which one person was bridge level between HoD and others. And by the way, there were 7 persons. One of them was on outdoor duty, so hadn’t seen his face till the time I was in the department. I had doubt that maybe he joined the company he went to visit.

When I went to stores many times, I really had no clue where to start from and what to do. As the company was making losses, I knew any high- fundoo idea won’t work. What I should think without involving money was a really big question. Anyway, in parallel, I started knowing about SCM department. People in the department were nice to me and were letting me know about different aspects.

I started working on many things in the department. And while working I had constant interaction with Gaurav Sir. He would always ask me not to limit your thoughts, how you should always be in learning mode. He would rarely get time, as our department was not following any of the SCM methods, was somehow just running. His face was really expressive. You could feel cheerful yourself if you saw Gaurav Sir laughing happily, but the next moment he would seem like being under so much pressure, that you would sympathize for him.

Routine life continued for 1 month, and by then, I realized that we are not doing any project work. Everyone was just trying to push his extra workload on me. Gaurav Chandra was the only person who was a bit interested in our project. Again in my routine life too, I would take many suggestions from him, would sometimes really annoy him with hell lot of questions. He would whole-heartedly suggest many things. So, slowly he became brotherly figure to me. He would always tell me that you need to learn a lot, specifically what to talk and where to talk. And for the same reason, I had to ‘attend his class’ sometimes. 😛

Life just went on. After 3 months, I had to visit a supplier, and we had to submit our project. But Gaurav sir told me that you will learn a lot by visiting a supplier, so I went there.  That 2 days visit turned out to be 11 days visit. And when I came back and joined office, it was already 15th October, – my true birthday. I was expecting some wishes but later realized that I had not updated the same in my office data. So no one except my own batch GETs knew about it. I thought I will tell the people in my department in the morning meeting, which starts just 30 mins after official starting time. But as soon as our meeting started, Sir told us that “I have news for you guys. Today is my last working day.” I went blank. Frankly, I was really sad. I no more wanted to tell everyone about my birthday. For the whole day, I was observing him. It was his last day, but nobody could have guessed it if he hadn’t told us himself. He was asking about future plans of different materials in shortage. Why was he worried about the future plan, when he was no longer responsible for anything? He was working till the last minute. I was really shocked. My respect for him increased two-folds. But my sadness increased three-folds, as an individual that I would lose my mentor and as a company employee my company would be losing such a great guy.

That night I didn’t even celebrate my birthday. I was not in the mood. Worst the thing was, I had thought of a farewell treat for him, but there was not enough time left. And most importantly, I was cursing myself because he was a big fan of Buddha and I went to elephant caves where there were beautiful Buddha idols on sale, but I had no money at that time. So in the evening, I asked my roommate Amit to lend me money. I wanted to gift him a watch, as he loved watches and had a collection of the same. But just to make things worse, ‘Aanchar Sanhita’ was active in Madhya Pradesh. I had bought a new bike and was yet to receive vehicle number, and Police patrolled on every square, so I couldn’t go and buy one.

We have Lord Ganesh’s idol where some of us pray when we reach office. Most of the times, me and Gaurav Sir would cross each other here as we used to travel by the same bus.  Next day, when I went to the office and was praying to God, I knew something was missing. We had our common meeting as per schedule. But something was missing. I was remembering his every move. How he used to stop everyone at different time, his default standing position. Even at a certain time when he used to drink a glass of water. The bottle was the same, glass was the same, but they had lost their significance today. I did not talk anything that day in the meeting. I was just observing and thinking. All of a sudden, I wanted to observe others’ reactions. But no one was really worried. And some of them even said, “Jaana hi tha yaar usko.”(Anyways, he had to go.)

Life continued as it did earlier. No one was really worried. Only one other person was worried and that was my project mate. But she was worried that who would check our project now. I said, whoever he might be, he won’t be as good as Gaurav Sir. And she replied, “Whatever. But what will happen to our project? ” Then after a lot of thoughts, I realized that it is just part of life and I am becoming emotional unnecessarily.

One of the things which happened in this phase was, my project-mate about whom I had mentioned earlier  was getting herself into troubles. We became friends, and as a friend I was protective about her. But she didn’t like I telling her something. She was comfortable with a guy who directly asks her to come to pub in second meeting, with a girl she really hated in her first meeting only, and even with a guy who was really mean to her. And hence, we were kind of drifting apart while sitting right next to each other.

Life was moving, but I wasn’t. After some lag, I tried to catch up with it again. Two of my colleagues from the same batch had come to live in the same locality we were living. I had thought of them as potential friends in initial phase itself, but we had many a miles between us, in the literal sense. Now this boundary was erased. We were getting along quickly. We started sharing thoughts a lot. Singing songs like crazy people while returning from the company, from the bus stop to our flats, will always remain one of best memories I will have about my life in Indore. Those awesome road trips and weekends, I will be always thankful to you guys for that. Just as my college-mates did in the hostel, they had a habit of coming to our flat and pick anything they wanted from our kitchen. Of course, sometimes I hated it when I knew that my favorite dish was taken by them and that too, without taking any permission. As we started discussing things, and I realized these guys really deserved a better place. And I was the one who was asking them to try harder and leave this place as soon as possible. I was one who prayed to God when they left for any written test.

After some time had passed, I found that the girl getting into a really bad situation by herself. I had a discussion with one of the two colleagues living in the same area as of mine about it. I told him about this situation. He answered with just one sentence that forced me to think for a long time. The sentence was, “Dude, you are alone in the corporate world. Stop considering anyone as a friend.” And this sentence inspired me to write this blog. May be he was right, because I had lost my mentor, had no output where input was friendship, and those who were becoming friends, I was asking them to leave by myself. (Even when I know this will really leave me alone)


But still, confusion remains, when we are alone in the corporate world, why is being a part of the team the most important criterion to get into companies?

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