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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Around and About!

The Background 

In the previous blog, I have mentioned that I had quit my organization. I had no concrete plan in mind and was looking at the horizon with an optimistic mindset.At that point of time, I had no clear vision and had come out of the industry with all my savings wiped out. So I was back to square one on the financial front.Penniless,broke and depending on my mother for money but definitely not hopeless. After the highs of working in the industry, I was at an impasse. I was really confused about what I wanted in life.I was at the crossroads unsure of which path to take. My resignation had not helped matters at home. My family was both shocked and surprised by the turn of events. They were very concerned about my future and to a certain degree hurt by my actions. Mentally I was on all fours and was trying to collect myself.

True there is good money in IT and I am very sure if I had stayed in the field I would have progressed very well. But there are scores of IT professionals in India. My organization itself had more than 5000 employees milling about. I wanted a different path for myself and meandering down the tried and tested path really did not appease to me. I have always wanted to work in a role that would do justice to my capabilities and capacity. On the onset, I knew that it was going to be a thorny path and certainly no bed of roses. I have always been good with academics so I thought maybe post graduation is my calling. I thought with a post graduate degree I would be very happy. I only realized later how wrong I was in my self-assessment.

The weeks following my resignation were very agonizing. I was unable to perform even basic tasks.I had been dealt a severe blow psychologically and emotionally. To arrest this slide I turned to my hobbies. I started reading. I bought a BTWIN bicycle and started cycling. Mental exhaustion had crept in and it took a long time and effort clawing my way out of it. I spent two months at home doing absolutely nothing. Zilch, Nada, Zero productivity. 

I came out of this phase only because of support of my family and some near and dear friends. Though my family disappointed and puzzled, they stood behind me like a rock giving reassurances at every point I felt like giving up. It was absolutely the nadir of my life so far and I slowly crawled out of it.
I went to Hyderabad with my maternal uncle and did some sightseeing with him. I saw the beautiful city of Hyderabad during the sojourn. The laser light show at Lumbini park and trip to Ramoji Film city remained the highlight of my trip there. I returned home with a lighter mind.

I joined ACE coaching class in Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad and was initially very pumped to study. Let the reader be warned that Dilsukhnagar area is one of the filthiest places in Hyderabad and the people there loot the students blind. The coaching classes prey on the hapless students who come with great expectation. There is no good hostel and the eateries that have mushroomed do not provide hygienic food. The only good part about the place was that it is very cheap and considering I was short on budget suited me well. I tried to work up a good routine.

I was fastidious about the preparations and scored well in the initial tests. I saw the sheer number of students who were hopeful they would make a mark in the entrance exams. Many were determined but the majority had no clue about what they were doing here. Staying away from home didn't bode well for me and my health suffered. I was not completely out of trauma and the environment there only served to accentuate it. 
It didn't take long for the charm to wear off. I grew weary of the classes and stopped attending altogether.I spent my days brooding and sulking.At this point, I was having second thoughts about quitting my job. I was muddled in a chain of bad decision that had taken me from the top to the deepest trenches from where it seemed I would never recover.

The Opportunities

I came back home to Mumbai. Again there was this period of uncertainty where I didn't know what to do. I was thin ice and it really seemed that I was truly doomed. 
Finally, it dawned on me. I was looking under the wrong rock. I earnestly started to apply for jobs. I updated my Naukri and Shine profiles. I expanded my scope for Job searches and did not restrict myself to only IT jobs. I am going to mention a few of the memorable interviews. I applied to Zycus Infotech through Naukri portal. It seemed a cool company and had advertised for software professional in testing domain. I met the eligibility criteria and appeared for the first round. However, I did not proceed beyond the first round and out in the aptitude test itself.

The marketing firm Appco contacted me through I surprisingly received an email from the Palladium Group which is a subsidiary of Appco from Initially, I was very sceptical and I was not sure the firm was genuine or no. However, all my misgivings were driven out when I reached the office. The office was close to Mahakali road of Western Express Highway. I was requested to wear smart business formal and come to the venue. Once at the venue, I was asked to fill a form. I was initially taken aback as the form had questions like 'Why do you think you will do well in Advertising and marketing' and also 'What according to you is the meaning of the term Customer relations or service industry'. As I am from a technological background I was not at all familiar with these terms. I did the best I could in this form and submitted it. We were ushered inside the firm. I was the first one to be interviewed and I guess the nervousness showed. I was stuttering and stammering when the HR asked me to introduce myself. As the questions, I felt I had made a very bad first impression and didn't have any chance of making it to the next round. But all of a sudden I found my voice and confidently told her about my desire to explore new avenues professionally. I told her I had resigned from my previous organisation and was ready to go out of my comfort zone.I left the Appco office cursing myself for being so dimwitted throughout the interview.

Imagine my surprise when the call came in the evening informing me that I had been selected for the next round.

I was called next day to the same office. This round consisted of written and aptitude test.  The round was merely perfunctory. The real challenge lay on the field. I was assigned a trainer. We booked an OLA cab and reached Deonar. I suddenly took ill and puked on the road. Bad day to get sick ,huh?
Throughout the cab ride, our guide engaged us in questions that were really peculiar. I did a much better job at introducing myself and immediately made a good impression.We pulled over in Deonar and entered a posh restaurant XO cafe in Deonar.We ordered our food and the trainer explained in detail about Appco and the business module that they followed.

We had our lunch and then went into the 'field'. We had to pitch 'Sight Saver ' NGO which helped in educating the blind children. As I had no prior experience in the sales department I was intrigued by the whole process. I was told that I would be evaluated on the performance of that day. We entered a business park and started pitching our product(in this case NGO 'Sight Saver'). We went to potential clients and told them about the NGO and asked for donations for it. When my turn came for the pitch I fumbled there.I lost my nerve in front of the client and it was a big no-no.We returned to the office and I had my final HR round. The HR round did not go too well either and I was not optimistic about my chances. Sure enough, I did not get selected.

Game on

I turned all my attention to Naukri and shine portals and redoubled my efforts. I chanced upon a Naukri add for a walk-in drive at Packt publishing for the role of Content Development Editor. I came upon the add quite fortuitously. I was surfing the web late night on the 9th of September and luckily the date for the walk-in was the next day itself. I checked out the website of Packt publishing and was mighty impressed.

Packt ,pronounced packed, is a print on demand publishing company based in Birmingham,UK, and Mumbai.A majority of its book offering concern information technology or software.It offers print books as well as e-books in several formats.Packt supports and promotes open source projects and concepts.You can visit the link for the company here.
There were six rounds of pen and paper format test and three rounds of interviews.The first round was the essay round and was common for all roles.The topic was "Write in about 250 words what makes you the person you are".The second round was verbal ability round. Fill in the blanks, choose the correct alternatives.the test was very challenging. Third round sentence correction/completion round.The fourth round was online round.Essay on the topic "Android vs Word press for bloggers".Write on anyone in about 250 words.The fifth Round was suggestions on content improvement . Given a chapter on Mathematics and had to provide comments to improve the quality of the content. The sixth round was letter writing round. Two letters to different authors with different scenarios. The first scenario was regarding a plagiarism issue and the follow-up from the organization. The second was related to delay in payment from the organization to the author. The letter was to confirm payment and request further chapters from the author.

I was told by the HR that they would be following up with me the coming week in case I got selected. I was very hopeful about it as all my tests went well. Thus began the long wait for the call from the company.In the meanwhile, I appeared for another interview at Trinity Global services. The role was that of a content writer. I arrived at the venue but was disappointed by the size of the organization. I had reservations and really did not get a good vibe there.I thanked the interviewer, shook hands with him and politely walked out of the venue.
I was overjoyed when I received a call from the HR department of PACKT informing me that I had been selected for further rounds.The face to face interviews had three rounds.
The first was the HR round. The HR asked general questions regarding the role and willingness to work for the company. All in all, it was a good interview.

The next was an interview with the line manager. My interview was done by one smart Fahad. He asked me to introduce myself. I told briefly told him about myself, my academic record, my  work experience and my hobbies. I drew attention to my love for editing by mentioning about my blog. I also told him about the content development project I was working on for my friends start up. He asked me about my gap and also gave good career advice. I think I did a good job there and he seemed impressed. He asked me why I had left my previous organization.I explained to him that my interests lay elsewhere and I wanted to pursue my passion. These two rounds wound up well before noon.

The senior manager was very intent on my previous work experience and asked me in detail about it.I was thoroughly prepared for such a scenario and had prepared well for it.I was not able to give satisfactory answers to some of the questions he posed but overall the experience was good. He seemed interested in my work of content development and was impressed by my blog.
I showed him my eagerness for the role.
Immediately after my senior manager interview, I was informed that I had been hired!

Finally after much trials and tribulations I had been able to secure a job in the field of my interests. I felt vindicated and victory indeed felt very sweet.

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