From smack-bang in the middle of the bell curve

Chinese curses and perspective

In blah, ISB on March 5, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I wonder what those in the ISB class of 2009 have been feeling, ever since the world went to hell in a hand-basket, or so it seemed starting September 2008. If they’re like me and my peers from the batch of 2006, most of them took a break from their in-progress careers to “upgrade” their qualifications, to potentially change career tracks and definitely to improve earning potential in the medium and long term. Some, with very specific thoughts on where they wanted to be, others, with a much foggier idea, looking to ‘sample the menu’ as courses unfolded and options made themselves available.

The challenge, I clearly remember wrestling with, was to show patience and refrain from the temptation to latch onto whatever job opportunity came along first. Seniors philosophically remarked how a large percentage of the batch would’ve switched jobs come month two, so it didn’t even really matter what you picked on campus anyway. Wonder how I would’ve reacted to being told that the challenge wouldn’t be “which” but “if”. The atmosphere in a highly competitive environment is brittle at the best of times, with CTC comparisons and “sexy” industries or job functions causing people to fret about the appointment letter in hand just because “so-and-so got offered xx” and “the other got into that much vaunted field of xxxxxx”.

As those who’d “been-there-done-that”, most of us would nod/smirk knowingly when hearing about the current batch talk about the nightmare that term 2 was or how sleep-deprivation was so big a deal. It’s been almost three years since I graduated. I know a lot more now about my career preferences than I did while handing over the key to my room in SV2-H12. Yet, I’m glad I’m not answering questions about how to deal with the scenario that seems to have paralyzed so many companies into freezing recruitments.

Logic suggests, its temporary. Logic suggests, only businesses operating out of 4 X 4 Sq feet and selling crushed betelnut with an assortment of flavours and wrapped in betel leaves, namely corner paan-shops can afford to not continuously induct fresh managerial talent, and expect to grow and satisfy investor expectations. Logic suggests that the great Indian middle class that has got its first taste of Mcdonalds, Playstations and Power-steering will want more, much more. Logic suggests that this phase should be a very short-lived hiccup in an otherwise upward trend. That come 2012, those of the current batch will be a more sought-after battle-hardened group of professionals than those preceding them.

Logic, struggling at the best of times to explain the gaps in the actualized versus the expected, is going to be even short-handed now. It’ll be a challenge to take the measured decision rather than the convenient one. Here’s wishing them all the ability to maintain that elusive animal called perspective in times, that the Chinese, call “interesting”.

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