Why it isn’t easy to be thrown into the rat race
When I was a child all I wanted to do was grow up and become an adult. Wear pencil skirts and attend meetings. Work in an office with big glass doors. Have an assistant. Didn’t we all want all this?
Society doesn’t help matters. We, the millennials, are conditioned to believe that unless all the above holds true, we have no claim to fame. And, so we dive in, eyes closed and arms outstretched into the infinite pool of endless possibilities. Or so we think.
We get into fancy institutions, whose fees we pay off as loans. We half-starve through the course to survive in some city touted to be the ‘business hub’. We sacrifice without being taught how to. We pull all-nighters and we give it our 93 per cent because that’s what’s going to get us the golden ticket. We have a brand name; we’re taught the trade; we’re promised placements and as we receive the much-awaited papers professing our measured talents we know what follows--the ephemeral job hunt.
Only it isn’t as ephemeral as you’d have expected. You count the sixes, sevens and eights in your class and think--it’s alright, I have a shot. But what you forget is that you aren’t just competing with the 50 furiously talented students in your year-long course. You’re competing against billions in a country, where reproduction supercedes production.
Being thrown headlong into the rat race for the perfect job is a lot like getting winded in a marathon. The longer you go on, the wearier, crankier and prissier you get. You know you’ll probably reach the finish line but you don’t know how or when. Or most importantly, after whom.
When you go for interviews, you feel cloned. Everyone looks like you, everyone talks like you. You’ll start thinking up ways to be a little different, to stand out, to be noticed and appreciated. You’ll think of clever jokes and veto them instantly. You’ll try anecdotes but who really listens to those anyway?
So, you take a deep breath and you pray that this one’s the one. That that sweaty train ride from Churchgate was worth the trouble. That that weekend spent in reading up on the company tilts them in your favour. That stalking them on LinkedIn grants you approval. That answering their questions in crisp tones like they taught you in the TEDx videos will seal the deal.
Truth is, you’ve got to fake it a lot. You’ve to fake enthusiasm when your classmate gets the job you were counting on. You’ve to fake reassurance to your parents when you tell them you didn’t really want it anyway. You’ve to fake it to yourself mostly when you convince yourself that this wasn’t really your niche, right?
But despite all the panic attacks, the tears stifled in your pillow, the throb in your fist for having punched the wall too hard, you still keep trying. And, you keep learning. You do get better with practice and soon enough, you’ll know what to leave out, what to stress on and how to sell your strengths.
So, survive. Breathe. Get kicked down. Shake it off. And, try again. Try till you succeed; try till you know it was worth the wait; try till it all finally makes sense. And, believe me, it’ll definitely be worth it.