It has been a year now. That time of your life when you are supposed to have become independent and self sustainable etc etc. Exactly 365 days ago, I joined one of India’s or rather world’s top Telecom companies as a Management Trainee. The plan was to become Marketing Head within 10 years, India CEO in maybe 15 and Global CEO in 20. As John Lennon once said, “You may say I am a dreamer but I am not the only one!”
I still remember having gone to office on the first day, trying to look as dapper as possible. Somewhere deep within, we all feel that looking “good” will earn you brownie points & if you don’t feel that way, well keep your views to yourself!! Just kidding! Atleast I felt that way. The next few days were spent meeting the top honchos of the Indian Opco, as the HR often said! With the number of Top Management crossing 50 in about 5 days and them highlighting their career graph, my timelines were revised. At the same time, I had accomplished the task of checking out all their Linkedin profiles in the quickest time, I believe! Suddenly Global CEO seemed a distant dream. We all ain’t John Lennon after all!
Sales & Marketing!! Those were the only two words that made any sense in B-School. Hence, the choice was obvious when I had sat for placements. But, those were days of ignorance, as I now see. As most MBA grads with S&M as their preference would know, the most dreadful day in a Management Trainee’s life is the day when he/she gets his/her stint location. I still remember mine. All the MTs had been teasing each other with the idea of going to the location they most feared. Chennai for Northies & Punjab for Southies! And then the inevitable started. One after the other, the cards were unfolded and then the HR said those magical words, “Adarsh Sharma- Ubli, Karnataka” or thats what I heard. Turns out, the place is “H”ubli. Call me illiterate but that was the first time I had heard about the place! I don’t even remember what others were feeling at that time, I didn’t care! My life had been ruined, I had been send to the jungles of Karnataka L But I told myself, “There must be answer, Let it be!”
Turns out, things weren’t that bad afterall. Ya, I remember having made a few calls in order to find another job(the initial days) but eventually I settled in. The best part was not having a bad boss, as many other colleagues complained! The majority of the people could speak hindi, the non-availability of which had been amongst the biggest fears. I had also started enjoying the food and had even located a place that served fresh Aloo Paranthas! But still, something was wrong. Friends told me that this could just be the lack of company or common problems one faces in his first job. I just didn’t like the job!! All throughout I had known that I will have to do 2 years of sales (atleast), before the bliss of Marketing appeared and a halo appeared around my head!! I could have done that but for what?? Spending my entire day on a few excel sheets to see how I can reduce call rates and still retain customers? Bunkum! Copy the competitor’s plan and increase/decrease 5 paise/min! No offence to my buddies back there. The job has its own challenges, but it didn’t make any sense anymore. Also, what all we did in the name of sales was something my conscience didn’t allow me. I didn’t want to be a marketing guy who made products according to his (or his boss’) whims & fancies, and tell the Sales guys to sell it (By hook or by crook)!
So, the search began!!
It took a few months and eventually I was lucky enough to have a couple of job offers in hand .While many thought that I gave up because of sales, I think it was a bit more complex. Probably I just couldn’t fit into the so called “corporate” culture. So, when a decent enough Consulting Company made me an offer, I politely refused. Ya, the consultant through whom I cracked it started crying when I informed her about my decision! Apparently, it was the first job she had ever cracked. I actually felt sorry but I did what I had to do. So after 8 months of selling SIM cards, I decided to join a Quick Service Restaurant Chain based out of Pune & Mumbai. The company is small (startup as many say) and I directly report to the CEO(makes it sound cool, doesn’t it :P )! While my mom still thinks that I have become a cook, all I do is sell food to feed myself. We have plans to become the biggest QSR Chain that India has ever produced, and why not! Right now I head South Mumbai operations and the next step will probably be heading/launching a new city. Suddenly, the timelines have shortened significantly! Gives some satisfaction at the end of the day J