I had chucked my well paying job because of difference of opinion with my boss, the Marketing Manager and now feeling foolish. I was too stubborn and egotist to apologise to Mr. M and get back the job. I roamed all over the Connaught Place, had a Big Boy Burger and Banana Split Sundae at the Nirula’s Corner House outlet, then around 5 pm headed back to home. I decided not to break the news of my freshly becoming unemployed so soon to my parents. I was 25 and my CV already boasts of three employments, none lasting more than 18 months.

Approaching home I saw the younger boys of the colony playing cricket in the park. I decided to join them and further delay my appearance at home. Also playing with younger lots reduces the stress. So, finally I reached home well past 7 pm with dusk settling in on a mid March evening. Mom opened the door and said, “How come you are sweating so much? Are you alright?” A typical concern of all mothers for their 25 year old’s; I told her that I have been playing the park and that is why I am sweating. She asked if I would like some tea. I said yes to that and went to freshen up and change into my pajamas. Mom brought the tea along with some potato cutlet; it is the norm of most Bong household to have evening snacks with tea whenever they reach home from office. Then she gave me the bunch of mails that had come during the day. There were two letters for me; one was from my long-distance girl friend which I kept for later reading and the other one from the FMCG company where I had applied for a job. Praying that it was not a rejection letter and visibly shaking, I opened the letter. It was a polite letter asking me to visit their Connaught Circus Office for an interview. The date mentioned was three days away and I felt both elated and skeptical. It was a big company and I didn’t know much about their culture though I have been to their office seeking advertisement in the magazine that I was working as Marketing Executive. But that was just meeting the Brand Managers and impressing them with inflated circulation and readership data. I waited for my brother to come who may have some knowledge about the organisation.

On the appointed date, I wore a neck-tie, borrowed from my brother and took an auto-rickshaw to reach the D-Company office in Connaught Circus. There were 4 more candidates and all of them looked quite confident of themselves. The receptionist, Suman, knew me from my previous visits and in a low voice wished me luck. We were told there will be a written test followed by an interview with the Marketing Head.

The written test consisted of English Comprehension test along with sections on marketing acumen and mathematical ability. I had no problem with the first two but got completely stumped by the third. Even today, I vividly remember that my brain stopped functioning when I tried to figure out the result of 2% of Rs.800/-! I simply sat there with a blank stare at the question. The invigilator by the name of RD, a guy who later became very good friend, took the answer sheets and asked us to wait in the reception area. The other candidates gave a triumphant smile but I was still trying to figure out the maths answer. One by one the candidates were called inside and two of them came out shaking their head, an obvious sign of dejection. The other two came out and sat down in the reception, the short listed guys! I was the last one called inside, the same conference room where the written test was taken. There were two guys and I knew one of them, however they introduced themselves as Senior Brand Managers and asked me to sit comfortably. After that came a barrage of questions, especially on the maths part. The guy whom I have not met earlier asked me, “You don’t know what 2% of Rs.800 is?” By that time I had it figured and answered “It is Rs.16”. He smiled and said “Why didn’t you write that here?” showing me the answer sheet and then pushing it towards me said, “Write it down.” Thereafter, I was asked on my views on several brands of the company which I had some vague ideas and gave my views. I was asked to wait in the reception again. Now, there were three shortlisted candidates for one Marketing Assistant (that’s what the position was called but for all practical purposes it was Brand Executive).

My interview with the Marketing Head lasted all of five minutes. He asked me a question (on brand marketing) and the moment I started answering he would say “Wrong” or “That’s not correct” and would give the answer which in at least two cases were exactly the same that I said. Anyways, the other two guys were asked to proceed to the Company Headquarters for the final interview with Managing Director. I was asked to wait outside and kept thinking when someone will come out and say, “Thank you for your interest in our organisation but sorry you do not fit our requirements.” But surprisingly, the HR Manager, who was sitting with the Marketing Head and did not utter a single word in that five minutes, came out and asked me to accompany him. I was taken to the HQ by the HR Manager in his car! I couldn’t believe it!

The Managing Director of an Indian Company is usually the owner and by virtue of that, is the Lalaji. The image of Lalaji is not very amiable in the context of corporate culture, but this Lalaji, I found very different from the others that I had previously met. He asked me to sit down and then said, “You have been selected. You can relax now.” After that he asked me a lot questions about my family, education and current job. I gave honest answers except that I was unemployed at that very moment. I was asked when I can join and I gave the standard reply of a month’s time, though I would have loved to join the very next day. I was told that some formalities (reference & background checks) needed to be completed and I shall be getting the appointment/ offer letter shortly. Thereafter, the HR Manager said there is employee bus going to Delhi which I can take for a drop at Connaught Place. I came out with a bit of anxiety what if they figure out that I am without a job now? The other two candidates were also waiting and one of them was selected too in sales function (back office).

A week later, I received my appointment letter that said my salary was same as what I was getting in my previous job but there were added benefits. I was advised to report to the Marketing Head at their Connaught Circus office in 15 days time. My brother advised me to behave well and stick to the organisation for somehow he knew about my chucking the previous job but had kept his mouth shut all this long time.

I joined the organisation that changed my life completely and wholesomely. I met my life partner during the course of my tenure, made some very good lifelong friends, learnt a lot and above all had wonderful bosses that were eager to share knowledge unhindered. Through a series of interesting episodes, I will share some of my escapades at the D-Company.

(To be continued….)

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