Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane

What DOES one feel, at the threshold of resigning from a job?

A job where I have been at, over the last 4.5 years.. a job that I’ve been with, since the inception of the company. When we first came together, we were a band of 8 enthusiastic, upbeat souls.. ready to face any challenge that was thrown at us. Our bosses were 2 young guys, “fresh” out of Wall Street and other big names across EU and US.. but totally green behind the ears when it came to running an organization.

We were all recruited out of pubs and coffee shops, guzzling beer over papers and handshakes (Siraj never let me live it down, as a matter of fact). As soon as we came onboard, Anu and I were chosen to choose colors, designs, hardware, software, et al, at different moments. Off we would trot, with the CEO’s money (even in those days, one had to REALLY work to persuade him to part with it, even for the greater good) to buy furniture and various decorative bits and pieces, for our office “relaxing zone”. The fact that the Zone was bang in front of our bosses’ glass walled cabin, escaped our notice till the n-eth moment.

The first day I walked into the office, I was met by a cigarette puffing guy, salt and pepper hair, wearing these brightly colored Bermudas; I realized later, that he was the President. Ushering us very nicely into his cabin, to discuss a project, he wound up, telling the team “this presentation needs to be orgasmic”. Needless to say, for the other team members, all good little Southie ones; they simply preferred to have a collective coronary instead.

It was a good thing that we were ready to take on the world…for the universe, it seemed at times, was thrown at us. Amit and Siraj were hard taskmasters.. they even had a dictum “3 strikes and you’re out”. Each of us would shiver and shake in our shoes, every time Amit had to review our presentations. He could make us feel very small indeed, with his “Ye KYA hai, yaar? This is BULLSHIT!” drawl. Siraj was known to reduce people to tears, with cutting remarks “Is this the BEST you can do? I mean, if you can’t, tell me… I can do it myself.”

Looking back, and specially looking around the current recruits swarming the organization, it was the best training that one could ever receive. We were learning every moment of the way.. the domain knowledge, the ability to analyze, the importance of key takeaways and titles that made sense. What the clients wanted to hear, and not necessarily what we wanted to blather about, on and on. How very important it was to have “Quality, and Pristine Look and Feel” almost as part of the air we breathed.

But more importantly, we learnt about how not to give up, how to look adversity in the eye; how to come crashing down, and then dust ourselves off, and perform even better. A few of us faced challenge after challenge.. and swore that we would always come out of it, smiling and victorious. I realize, with rather with an element of shocked surprise, that I have a whole lot to be grateful for.

Not always in the best of ways; but these guys pushed me to new limits, challenged my creativity, defined new roles when I least expected them. And in the process, helped me become a far better professional today, than I was 5 years ago; with an entire new and varied skill set range, and an ability to adapt to any new situation without batting an eyelid.

And for all that, and so much more, Amit and Siraj, I truly truly thank you…

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