Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Everyone at ISB Needs a Hug

It’s finally the time of the year at ISB when you can no longer complain about not being hit on. Placement season has hit everyone, and how! If you’d call this pun ‘sad’, I’ll just blame it on the aura of the campus for having rubbed off a little too much on me. As someone who is looking to get back to his business after the session ends in April, I often get to hear people say that my life seems “sorted” and that they’re jealous of how I don’t have to go through this whole grind. While there may be other realities to the seeming appearance of being sorted, I’ll leave that topic for another day. For now, I just want to tell you how I feel as an independent spectator, detached from the placement hullabaloo.

Recruiters have been releasing shortlists left, right and center. A common complaint seems to be that the same bunch has been getting shortlists for multiple companies, like their resumes have some secret sauce that tickles the HR managers’ taste buds. Candidates with over a decade of experience, who thought they had an edge over the inexperienced lot, feel emasculated. The ones with the base minimum two years of experience finally feel a sense of acknowledgment in some form, as roles that focus on lesser experience seem to be more popular. Further, those in the mid-experience age bracket feel like it would’ve been better for them to be on either side but in the middle ground that they find themselves in. And, don’t even get me started about how dejected the Chartered Accountants here feel.

There’s new found respect for people who have multiple calls for interviews. And there are hushed tones for those who remain “shortlist virgins”, as a close friend puts it. Having realized that GPA is not the only factor attracting interview calls, there is a new sense of hierarchy which has now developed, bracketing people as top performers based on the number of interviews they’re scheduled to sit for and their respective belongingness with case-prep groups for the McKinseys and the Parthenons.

But as I see it, everyone who made it to ISB has a wonderful story to tell. They’ve all been star performers all their lives, and there has not been a single resume that I have seen and not been thoroughly impressed with. I’m blamed for being loose with my compliments, but I say this with as much sincerity as I exude when I tell you that I feel like the dumbest person in this lot of 900-odd. Like, I almost just made it by chance and don’t deserve to be here. And I must tell you that if you haven’t received a shortlist yet, it doesn’t make you a lesser mortal than another. I wish with all my heart that all 900 people at ISB get placed on Day-1. If not, then hopefully all do by Day-2. But even if you don’t, I really hope that you won’t let these parameters define your self-worth. It’s a never-ending rat race, and honestly, your success does not depend on how early you get placed.

This may appear like a sermon, and you probably think I can’t empathize, but I say this as someone who has battled self-worth issues almost all his life. I say this as a person whose life revolves around the ritual of giving himself positive reaffirmations in the mirror every morning, lest he breaks down under his own demons of self-doubt. And, it will kill me to know that any of you would have to ever go through such an ordeal.

I see my friends almost devoid of energy, trying to pull themselves through what seems like a never-ending trial called ‘B-school life’. I can sense the glumness in the environment, as I’m sure you can too. It’s a trying time. But can you blame the lid or the container if they can’t seem to match? It’s just not the right fit, at times. And I would just hope that all my friends find the strength to sail through this period while they try to stumble upon the right fit. A lot of people came with the expectation to bag a pay package of above the last year’s declared median annual salary. It may again seem preachy to say this, but don’t measure your worth with the salary package you get. If you’ve ever been through heartbreak, you would know that no matter how fulfilled life may be on every other front, it just takes that one void to make you feel like you’ve earned nothing in life. With this, I wish that you all, more importantly, find a more fulfilling life with your respective present and to-be families.

And please don’t worry about people judging your intelligence, skills or worth based on the monetary compensation you gain right out of ISB. You know that you’re definitely worth much more than an amount any goddamn company in the world will assign to you. And, I promise that you’ll have my highest respect for what you are because I swear to God, I have never, ever, seen a more talented bunch in my life as I have witnessed at ISB.

I can assure you that if you ever feel the need for some external comparison to feel validated, I shall well-deservedly stand beneath you, where I rightfully already am. Wishing you, my friend, all the best for the placement season ahead. I wish you get the job of your choice. And if not, I hope you find the courage to know that there is much more to the definition of success than whatever happens in the next three months.

P.S. Available for celebratory and consolatory hugs during Day-1, and beyond.

Image Source: chic-type.com