[Awesome Startup Employee] Not just another brick in the wall: Deepak Dhar
Our Awesome Startup Employee, Deepak Dhar, has been nominated by the founders of Citrus Pay, Jitendra Gupta and Satyen V. Kothari. Deepak Dhar heads operations at Citrus Pay.
Two years ago, Deepak was looking to work with a startup. On his list of potential companies was Citrus Pay. Being fresh out of College he was on the lookout for a project or internship. Jitendra offered him to join the company full-time. Deepak offered to work for a short duration of two to three weeks with them so as to see if they fit well. Jitendra recalls, “I remember asking him to ‘get lost’. I told him, we need to trust each other. This is matrimony not dating. I am glad he accepted.” This marriage (Deepak’s bond with Citrus pay) is successful and Deepak says with a smile, “We are waiting to see what happens when we hit the seven year itch.”
During their first meeting, Jitendra remembers asking Deepak,“Why a startup?” Deepak’s reply to this question was,
The usual simple reason; I want my contribution to matter. At most big places you are just another brick in the wall.
Deepak joined Citrus Pay in February 2012. He says, “So far the journey has been fun and challenging. Like any startup initially, there were a lot of challenges to overcome. It requires a lot of hard work.” He did burn the midnight oil. He jokes about the long late night phone calls with Jitendra. “We had our wives worried with our long midnight calls.” Jokes apart, he adds, “Initially there were so many challenges that sometimes one questioned oneself whether it was all worth it.”
Jitendra says, “Deepak topped the list when we did an informal poll for ‘Who is your favorite employee at Citrus Pay?’ He beat everyone hands down! He always says, "Softwares don’t build a startup, people do!"No wonder he is the crowd favorite!
Deepak believes that at Citrus Pay, they are aspiring to build a great product, but that is just one part of it. The other part is people. From a startup point of view, it makes a lot of difference to have someone on board not just with a great skill set, but more importantly, someone who can stand tall under pressure. Here attitude plays a key role. Hiring people with a great attitude is half the battle won. Once you have a team with a great attitude then it is easy from there. Startups need committed individuals who don’t mind long working hours and enjoy a life full of challenges. “It isn’t for the luxury loving types,” he says.
Deepak’s thoughts on working with both Jitender and Satyen are interesting. He says, “It’s a love hate relationship. You start the day by loving and by the end of the day it turns to hate. You go back home, and the next morning it is love again.” Working with both of them, according to Deepak, has been a great learning experience. Both of them are different kinds of people. He says, “Jitender is more detail oriented and Satyen has his focus on the bigger picture. Between the two, they cover the entire spectrum. As both Satyen and Jitender come with a great variety of skills, it allows for great learning.”
For Deepak, his greatest learning at Citrus Pay is knowing that ‘things are not as difficult as they appear’. There is no doubt a lot of hard work that one needs to put in. The best thing to do is just hang in there despite all odds. “Before Citrus, I did not have much belief in myself. I thought how much can an individual make a difference? Citrus Pay changed that. I realized that a set of individuals together can make a difference,” he adds. Sky is the limit and you can achieve what you want.
“At Citrus Pay so many moments are memorable moments; every milestone that we have achieved is special. The recent team outing to Lonavala was very memorable as we had a good time talking about what we had achieved and how the last few years have been. The informal setting meant people shared a lot of things that had not been said before.”
His message to everyone at Citrus Pay is,
Have asked multiple times in the last two-and-a-half years, if it is all worth it. The answer has always been a resounding yes. Surprisingly, for a different reason every time! Keep finding the reason that makes it worth for you.
Jitender says, “He once told me how he has had the privilege of opening and closing the office for almost a year; he said he couldn’t have done this anywhere except in a startup! He is one of the most hardworking guys I have met.”
Given his passion for work, how does he handle his work-life balance? Deepak says, “My wife is a doctor and when I was burning the midnight oil she was doing her internship so it was a good time. With the new addition to the family, we had to make slight adjustments. Today, Citrus Pay has grown to a level that we do not need to be engaged 24X7. That leaves time for other things.”
Something that the world does not know about him is that given a chance he would love to study or practice law. His hobbies include coding, reading social and regional history and history of organizations. A couple of years ago he was big on video games too. When it comes to food, he says, “It is not a hobby, it is passion. In our courtship years of two years, my wife and I never walked into the same restaurant twice.” He loves to try new places to eat on a good day. On a bad day, it is back to the same tried and tested restaurants.
In the last eight months his best form of relaxation has been spending time with his kid. He says that there is nothing better than spending time with a child who is discovering the world and is curious about how things work and is learning something new every day.
“You don’t plan greatness, you stumble upon it. Just walk enough to have a chance to stumble upon something,” is his message to the world.
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