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First Is Best

The firsts in one’s life are always special. They need not have been perfect yet remain in your hearts forever. The first school, first friend (maybe not be necessarily the first but someone who first made you feel special), first house, first crush, first love, first job, the list can go on.

A lot of firsts are etched out in my memory; the foremost and most often thought of and cherished one being that of my first job. In many ways, it could have been better. In many ways, I could have handled it better. Yet in spite of such failings, I cannot deny the fact that my investment in this job reaped me rich dividends in many more ways than one.

My first work place aided as my personality development school of sorts. From a shy, self-doubting person, I became a more confident person who started to believe in her abilities; even developed leadership qualities. It helped that my work commanded respect from my colleagues. While, working with a team felt more like an extension of a college life, pulling each other’s legs, having fun at some jerk’s (there are always some around, aren’t they?) expense, it also taught me the importance of team work where one pitched in for the other without much ado when the occasion demanded. When the working hours extended long after the required time (and it happened quite often when the project was at the nascent stage), it felt like an extended party time. (Yes, it was crazy.)

While all the fun was good, there was serious work done too. With our project being the first of its kind in India, at that time, there was a lot of documentation work (yes that boring stuff), fire-fighting, learning new concepts, revisiting work methods and fine-tuning them, endless discussions and conference calls with clients (tough German clients at that). That, I was preferred over my team mates to work on crucial areas gave me the extra boost to drive myself further; needless to add that it also spoke for my abilities and expertise. I was happy to justify the confidence shown in me by giving it my all.

I was to learn later that mixing your emotions with your career is not a wise thing to do and you might always maintain a love-hate relationship with your job. Some of the valuable corporate lessons that were to remain with me for my future stints in the corporate world:

1. Climbing the ladder is not proportional to the amount and quality of work put in.
2. Less-deserving colleagues may always seem to move up the rung faster than you.
3. Corporate life does not function in all fairness and you will be at some points of time at the receiving end of unfair treatment.
4. Sometimes it takes just one person or moment to destroy the trust with the company.

The utopian attitude and naivety of a fresher almost always clashes violently with the real, harsh and scheming world resulting in either an enlightened and wiser person ready to mould oneself to fit in or to become a cynic who is unable to let go of values like sincerity, honesty, justice and equality and yet desperately tries to fit in.

And so, I ended up with a bitter taste in my mouth unable to digest or accept with grace or surrender to the whys and hows of the corporate world; where ratings are pre-decided and the appraisals orchestrated to somehow highlight the misses more than the hits therein ‘justifying’ the score so to say.

Yet, for all that my first job taught me—positives still outweigh the negatives—I am truly grateful for the experience.


  1. Cannot agree more..moving ahead involves lot of *** kissing and if u r not upto it be prepare to put double the efforts..:(

  2. :) you have a way of putting everything so neatly... loved the post! :)

  3. perception: ya, very true! Also, the enthusiasm connected with the first job is never the same as we grow wordly wise with each job.

    Purnima: thank you so much!

  4. like all your posts, just commenting on this one! :)
    I feel the scene does not hold true only in corporates, its everywhere. Scenes where as u had said, honesty, sincerity, justice and equality dont mean much! and it hits us hard, a few bunch of people, and i too oft wonder how people cope up, as ud said turn a cynic, turn thick skinned or acclitamise its said its a jungle out there, survival of the smartest i wud think! :)

  5. Vaidegi: Thanks so much!..:-) survival of the fittest is right!


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