I was fired in less than a week.
I’d always been unlucky when it came to completing an internship. My first internship was offered to me in the first year of my under-graduation, by a startup founded by one of my college alumni. I was fired in less than a week. The reason: my superior was all the time breathing down my neck making sure that I did the tasks which were given to me. One day, I gave him a piece of my mind. Why on earth would I allow myself to be told to do the task again and again when I had already completed it?! Their lack of coordination was none of my business. And that was that.
I lay still in the underground, hiding, for two years. The shock of being blacklisted had done enough to prove that an arrogant student like me would get nowhere in life. Then, the old Placement and Internship Coordinator was out, a new one was in. I thought life would change for the better. But, it only became worse.
The new Coordinator brought in her own style of working. And she managed to bring in a few big companies too. And I applied to an internship she brought in, with a renowned startup based in Pune, for the role of Digital Marketing.
The notice issued by the college’s Placement Team regarding the specifications of this internship were chock full of doubts. It stated that the internship would be of 6 months, stipend being Rs. 10,000 and the first round would be conducted in college with subsequent rounds at their office.
The day of the first round came nearer. It was the previous evening before the day the selection process was scheduled to be held. A message pops up in my notification window. It reads, ‘ The company will hold all its rounds in its office located in Baner. Students are requested to be there at the company’s office at 10 A.M. sharp tomorrow. Please carry your laptop alongwith you.’
This message turned my life on its head. I was blind with anger that the college had not disclosed all information pertaining to the internship and had changed the venue at the last moment. (I’m a person who dislikes negligence on anybody’s part.) I shot back a reply on the group asking why this change had been done and did they even realise how much inconvenience this was going to cause us. All I got was a bland reply, ‘Due to less number of registrations, the company has decided on this.’
I did not turn up on the next day at their office. Not me. I was asked to meet the Coordinator at the earliest. When I did, I debated that first of all, I did not have a laptop. If it had been told in the notice itself, I would not have applied. I was of the idea that at the time of the first round in college, I would ask them regarding the stipend. That I could not, because they changed the venue. My mom refused to give me money for traveling to the Baner office. I reasoned that the college should not expect us to spend on travel with no assurance of us even getting through the first round. To top it all, my monthly visit wished to flow out in all its glory on the day of the selection.
What the Coordinator answered was totally out of this world. She sneered, ‘Couldn’t you borrow a laptop from one of your friends if you didn’t have one?’ ‘Madam, why would anyone in their right mind lend their expensive laptop to me? Moreover, we need it everyday!!’ ‘If you had made good friends, they would have given it to you.’
She suppressed a laugh, ‘The stipend was Rs. 10,000 per month, you stupid girl!’ ‘Madam, you can see for yourself that the notice does not mention that anywhere ‘ ‘When you can disturb me by sending 100 texts when I am enjoying a Sunday with family, couldn’t you have asked this before?’ I wonder if she was really getting all that disturbed, why she hadn’t told me then and there. The notice did not mention this, this was their botched up way of working.
She spat out, ‘Vaishnavi, I have absolutely no need to hear that a one-way auto fare to Baner costs Rs. 200! What do I care about that? If you don’t have money, then you shouldn’t apply to any internship, why don’t you simply sit at home?’
She hissed, ‘Even I’m a woman. And I don’t feel first day of period is a big deal. You had menstrual cramps is an excuse I will on no ground accept!! All your reasons are just excuses you’ve made because you were feeling too lazy to be present at their office at 10 A. M. I’ve no need for students like you. I will ensure that you are removed from the list and will not be communicated any information about any internship in future.’
I was miserable and sick to the pit of my stomach. But there was hope. Something would work out for me.
I was miserable and sick to the pit of my stomach. If I was blacklisted yet again, what hopes did I have of getting a job? The only way freshers could enter the corporate world was through campus placements. Wtf was I going to do?!
Anyway, things turned out for the better and I was only blacklisted from applying to any internship. I could still apply to placements. There was hope. Something would work out for me.
Over the days, I used to get messages of companies coming in for placements. All good ones for Finance. I think the Marketing guys and girls had been long forgotten.
I became paranoid. I wanted a job desperately after graduation. I went crazy and started monitoring the jobs posted on the Placement group. I recognised early on thaf these were all startups and I wanted to be a mile away from any startup.
When I did my research, I realised that a fresher applying for a full-time position is expected to have at least 2-3 years of experience.
I did my research. I finally realised that a fresher is required to have at least 2-3 years of experience. And to gain this work experience, I would have to first land an internship and perhaps get absorbed into the workforce once I completed the internship.
Armed with this coming-down-to-reality fact, I embarked on my search for an internship. I was so desperate that I didn’t mind even joining a startup. But, time was going to teach me the same lesson until I learned it so well that I would never ever let it slip through my mind.
I created a profile on Internshala. I looked at the suggested companies and sent out a few applications. The first internship I was shortlisted was being offered by a company in the field of Marketing and Advertising. However, I failed the tougher-than-SNAP test miserably. (I was looking for an internship, not preparing for SNAP.) Next, a startup shortlisted me and called me for the interview on the next day.
I reached the building where the office was supposedly located. I went up and down the stairs like a mad woman, asked two men standing outside their office about the office’s whereabouts and who were as clueless as I was, and finally some kind guy pointed out the shop number to me. God bless him!!
I was furious. The office had been in front of my eyes all this while but because the founder couldn’t care less for his employees, an invisible board announcing the office’s presence was put up. I went red in the face. During the interview, the founder ( or should I say fu**ing despo ) was drooling all over me. He refused to give strain to his eyes by moving them around and gave me a fixed, flirtatious stare. I was so uncomfortable I wanted to get the hell out of that dingy room.
Now, it so happened that, just before I stepped out of my house that morning, i got a call from a Mr. Neil from Goel Ganga Developments. (I was aware of the company’s existence as I knew that a project Hari Ganga was theirs.) He asked me to come for an interview the same day at 4 P. M. So, after the interview at the startup, I went to college which is a 5-minute walk and decided to take a bus from there.
For the most part, Mr. Neil was impressed with my Digital Marketing Certification by Google.
Somehow, I reached Goel Ganga Developments. Mr. Neil asked me a few questions. For the most part, he was impressed with my Digital Marketing Certification by Google. He dangled a carrot in front of my eyes saying, this was a rare opportunity which not many got and that I would have to coordinate with the Managing Director, Mr. Ankit Goel. And he set up our meeting with the Owner/ MD, for the next day.
Ad bombardment makes man mad.
The next day, I had to face a panel of 3 interviewers in the spacious conference room, Mr. Neil, Mr. Ankit Goel and Mr. Pratyush Sinha, who apparently is the strategy consultant and advisor (which I got to know later on). It was the first five minutes into my interview and I had already impressed Mr. Sinha with my awareness of the radio turning into a dying advertising channel and that nowadays, radio stations played ads more than they played the songs, for which we landed up on their station in the first place. (Ad bombardment makes a man crazy.) Mr. Sinha also explained a bit about our TG. Mr. Goel asked me one or two challenging questions, but for the most part, Mr. Sinha lead the interview.
Finally, at the end of the interview, Mr. Ankit Goel agreed to hire me. I would not say that it was the happiest moment of my life, because I have since the first year of my graduation donned formal clothes and self-confidence everyday. My thoughts were more of, “Yeah, I’ve always imagined this would happen. Getting into such an established company as this one. Baby, you’re ready to take on the world!” Having a young Director who understands today’s social media and is in sync with upcoming trends is surely the icing on the cake!