It was the first half of 2015 and one of the most difficult phases I had gone through in my Corporate journey so far. I started the initial stages of my career in Retail industry where I had worked till mid 2015. Right now I am a banker. During 2015, due to the boom of e-commerce industries and the tough competition enforced by them subsequently, many brick and mortar retail industries were facing the threat of shutting down. I was employed with a brick and mortar retailer of mobile phones at that time. It was one of the top retailer of mobile phones during 2010-2012 in South India. In 2015, the company made huge losses and was at the verge of shutting down. Many top level people were shown the door as a part of cost cutting strategies and many, including me, were facing the threat of retrenchment at any time.
To make things worse, we weren’t even paid our salaries in time. Sometimes, we got our salaries nearly two months after the payable date. I got my full and final settlement nearly one and a half years after leaving that industry. It was a painful phase for me as I had to borrow from my dad and sibling for even petty things since I wasn’t getting my salary paid on time by my employer. At 26 or 27 years of age, if you are depending on your parents for financial support, it gives some kind of a kind of wretched feeling that you are sucking their blood at a time when you should be capable enough to bring them all happiness, be it materialistic or emotional. I too wasn’t spared from these nasty thoughts during those phases of my life. It was technically like I was in a jobless position albeit with a job which took away 10-12 hours of my day but returned only frustrations.
My parents were keen on getting me married! They kept away from searching alliances for me. I too, like everyone in my position, started searching for jobs via naukri.com, monsterindia, etc. and also decided to make a move to either manufacturing or services sector. I even approached by friends in various corporate houses seeking help but literally I was shown the back. I got interview calls from nearly 12 manufacturing companies during that six months phase and all the companies rejected me for one reason. I had zero experience of working in manufacturing sector. To make things worse, at that time my father too got hospitalized for a minor heart surgery and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to offer any financial aid as I was literally penniless. Also I hadn’t taken adequate medi-claim cover till then. It was only my sibling who took all the pressure. I am still indebted to my sister and my brother in law for helping out during those times when I was struggling bad financially. Also that incident taught me the importance of having adequate insurance covers, both medi-claim and life insurance.
All these incidents started taking its toll on me. I started doubting myself wondering whether I am doomed for eternity. Its only during the times of desperation, we do bring out the best within us. The despondency I faced made me do what I had long wanted to, but had never done. I did some serious soul searching. I read many spiritual books based on Hindu Philosophy seeking a deeper solution to the crisis of my life, which I was facing at that moment. I also even read Brian Tracy’s “Kiss that Frog” which gives various wonderful solutions on how to turn life’s negatives into positives. After reading these books, I got some light. I realised that the retail industry was never the industry of my passion. I had just joined it because at the starting stage of my career, it paid me very well compared to the others. I never really liked the work environment, nor the type of work I was doing there. I also realised that my true calling was in the Banking & Financial Services industry as it was one sector which had really fascinated me during my school days. But I had conveniently ignored it in the maddening race in the journey of life. Once again, here lied the catch – I had zero work experience in the B & FS industry too and if I needed a breakthrough in that industry, I had to do things differently.
I started reading books which would develop my knowledge on the Banking & Financial Services industry. I also started approaching HR consultants who had clients in the BFS industry. Long live Linkedin. And finally, two consultants came up with opportunities in two different Private Banks. I appeared for interviews in both and got selected in both, although the salary hike I got was only minimum. It was still the breakthrough I needed and I couldn’t let it pass for things like less salary hike! I ended up joining one of them. Now, three years have passed after that incident. I am now a comfortably settled professional in the Banking & Financial Services industry and have worked with cards, digital banking and ATM businesses in the industry. I am happily married, financially secure and these days, I help my friends who come up to me asking help for a job change, as and when I can.
It was this tough phase which literally made me a learner for life and also a better person and I am happy that it happened to me when I was in my mid 20s and literally had less to lose in case of adversity.