It’s really a small world
As I was studying in Engineering, I had a classmate who was sure of getting into IT (Information Technology) bandwagon. In 1990’s he had seen the wave coming in and somehow I got the clue in early years that IT is the next thing.
I had just seen a 3 month stint on a shop-floor in a small village Jhalawar in Rajasthan while working with JK Synthetics and had realized manufacturing was not my cup of tea. I came to Bhopal to scout for opportunities and through a job consultant got a job as marketing executive with a small family firm called “Microworld”. As a fresher little do you realize that marketing is actually a subset of promotion (Out of 4 P’s) called sales. All organizations really look for sales guys who are supposed to be in the field getting customers. Sales is a noble profession but jumping into believing that it is the thing was my first mistake. Marketing as a subject is taught in B-Schools and Sales is what we learn on the field and it can be acquired only as an experience.
Mr. Kapil Jain was my first boss. It was a small family business of two brothers guided by their father who had position earlier in BHEL and looked after finance. Kapil Jain had really hardcore sales experience in Mumbai with Redington and his brother Kunal had earlier worked with HCL. Kunal had an accident due to which he relocated back to Bhopal and started Microworld with his brother as a family business.
My agreed salary was Rs. 2,000/- which was way below Rs. 7,000/- stipend which Air Force was offering me. Yet I misjudged calculations and wanted to be in IT Industry. Computers was the in thing. I was learning something about a machine, the softwares which run it and yes had a colleague who was a programmer called Mini.
My first assignment was to deliver a PC to SATI Vidisha. (SATI is an engineering college called Samrat Ashok Technical Institute in Vidisha, MP). Logistics made me awry and early morning my grandfather had to take up the car and dropped me at the station. I remember boarding a second sleeper compartment and putting up the PC box on the top seat with some students sitting around me. I remembered their face. To my surprise later, the same students were seen in SATI Vidisha. I somehow delivered the PC in SATI. The return journey was inspiring as Mr. Kapil Jain had traveled all the way from Bhopal to Vidisha on his Bajaj Scooter and picked me up on the way back.
My client explorations began by first targeting Industrial town of Mandideep and first enquiry was from a large manufacturing business for Lotus Notes. When I explored some 6-7 big industries in a single day, came back with one enquiry I felt elated.
The next week, Kapil organized a training with Xerox team. I remember a sales rep giving me training on Xerox/Fax Machine. What I also remebered was classification of leads into Hot/Warm/Cold category, and of-course a diary which a salesman needs to carry with himself all the time.
I must have spent some 2-3 odd months at Microworld, One day day I just wanted to understand what Mini does sitting in office. I sat with her to understand Lotus Notes, her programming for a client she was working with. After fifteen minutes or so, Kunal came out of his cabin and saw me sitting there. “Don’t sit in the office. Go out and knock on the doors to inform about what we have to sale, but don’t sit in the office”.The next day I resigned giving some odd reason of shifting back to Jabalpur.
Mr. Jain (Sr.) called me and wanted to understand why I am leaving. I couldn’t explain to him. Kapil on the last day mentioned. “I should have told you earlier but employers cut one months salary if you leave without notice period. So there will be deduction from you salary”. I said fine and left Bhopal and so the end of Microworld stint.
On reaching back Jabalpur the first thing I did as a revenge for a hard hit salesman was to ask my friend to create a one year experience certificate. I had one letterhead of Microworld with me. He got a stamp made and certified my experience of one year with Microworld.
Few months later in 1997 I was selected as Graduate Engineer Trainee in C-DAC. It was told that they selected some 46 candidates out of some 8000. Three of us were in Marketing. Surprisingly we had some 10-12 hours rounds and in one of the rounds I was supposed to speak about Fax Machine for 2 minutes in front of a selection panel. I was surprised as Xerox training came handy. Three years in C-DAC were Learnings, Learnings and a gala time.
In 1999 I had applied for Canadian immigration and submitted my official documents including Microworld letter of experience as work experience. After six months or so I got a call in office from Chandigarh. “You have submitted an experience letter from Microworld for one year experience but when we checked with them they said that you have worked with them only for three months.” I was zapped. I slowly answered. “They are saying this because they owe me money.”
That was the end of my Canadian dream. But a great learning experience. I kept that letter till the eight year requirement of documents were existing. Later I purged that document.
Many freshers in India forge documents as companies ask for experience certificates before giving job to an employee. I was so head- bent to get into IT that I did play that small trick out of revenge. But as Karma comes back, someone did verify the document and informed me as well.
I am taking this risk of sharing this with you all because today I read a quote,
“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” ~ Paulo Coelho