I came to USA to get a masters degree in Computer Information Systems from GSU. And my My visa interview at Mumbai went like this:
Interviewer: So why do you want to get a master’s degree?
When it comes to job hunt people often demonize it by saying that its wild life out there and you can trust no one. In my own naive way, I have always believed that there is good in everyone of us.
Ok, I was just kidding. But in all sincerity I believe that there is no such thing as a rat race and we all can be successful at the same time. The following post is about the travails I went through during my days of job hunt.
One of the earliest things I realized about education and job search is that it is a very interactive procedure. Especially as an MIS/CIS student who swears by the pledge “I don’t want to do coding because I am tired of it”. The excuse naively obfuscates the reality which is an inherent inability to code rather than reluctance.
I never shy away from coding as it remains the Holy Grail that I think I try too hard to achieve. It is not my core competency to be a programmer and I have come to accept that. During my first semester at GSU, I joined a networking fraternity. I was blown away by the social complexity that was out there. There were so many equally bright students vying for the same job. And the ferocity of their intention was very visible.
The fraternity opened doors to recruiters who would showcase their company and talk about their working culture and at the same time identify candidates who fit the bill and begin to track them. By the time I realized this, my first semester came to an end and I was in no way closer to my job hunt.
Tips: 1) Networking is not sucking up, it is a chance for the employers to know you better. Put your best step forward
2) Reach out to the recruiters via linkedin and add them after thanking them for their time. Being pro active is everything when it comes to a job hunt.
I understand that a job hunt is a laborious procedure and it is O.K. to be discreet about it. Some are superstitious that if they reveal they have an interview, they will fail it. The other reason is you don’t want to be a douche who yaps about interviews where your friends struggle.
The only upbeat thing about spring semester was that I was selected to become a VISA leader for fall 2012. I really undervalued the opportunity at that time as an internship was the bigger challenge.
But looking back the desperation was the negative factor. It sapped out all energy I had in me and it was difficult to digest that your friends already have a job and you are still unable to even land an interview. I realized that I was capable of jealousy too, but I didn’t want it to affect me. So in order to escape from masochism, I was reluctant to go to parties and get together. I would disable all notifications on Facebook in order to prevent me from going into a shell.
But I never gave up; I worked for about a month for a small start-up pro-bono learning open source technology. They didn’t offer me any compensation and also broke communication for some reason as the company went under. I approached professors for pro bono work and got one to build a system using share point but that work won’t begin until November and I remained to be restless.
I attended host of networking events, curbed my spending habits to stay afloat. I played soccer every weekend and in times of tumult that was my only solace. I took two classes in summer, one during May mester which lasted for a month and other during June-July. I have always been a pragmatic kid and was never under financial duress, ever. But the spending habits of your friends do rub on when you realize that you can’t afford to join them. It is humiliating but I found humor in it which helped me preserve my sanity.
Then came august and I was becoming more confident. I had 3 interview calls, two of them went well and VISA leader program was just about to start. It was one of the most fantastic experiences I have ever had. From being a willing social outcast to be recognized on the streets, it was an uplifting experience. I am very grateful to that special group of friends I made who made me feel this way.
I became chums with some great people all over the world; I went out to parties with them. Played soccer, got back into shape (From round to not-so-round). And call it comeuppance for the efforts; I got an internship by 3rd week of August!
I had already taken up two GRA’s and 3 classes and an internship on top of it was insane. Many of my friends advised me to drop one of them so that I don’t go bonkers. Meanwhile the career fair was approaching and I had to ready myself for another grueling session.
My grades in one of the subject did take a hit as I got a humiliating B+ in one of the tests. But it was bound to happen. Remember I said I got interview offers from 2 companies, I got a job offer from one of them by the time I was interviewing with the other J So I was confident/cocky about it.
The second company was the one I was targeting all year around. And guess what happens on the D-Day?
I show up 20 minutes late to the 30 minute interview due to some mix up. I have a good chat with my interviewer who seemed to be impressed by my candor and lack of nerves. I was mentally shitting bricks, but I didn’t let that surface.
I followed up that brief interview with a 30 minute phone conversation and voila, I struck gold twice. I got the call for the final round.
I have immense respect for Steve Jobs as a person than an entrepreneur. And those who know me how much I abhor Apple products. But in his great speech, he mentioned about how a person should follow their calling instead of chickening out. But the trick is to find your calling. Following were my career choices
Ice cream vendor, Railway pilot, Astronaut- Kindergarten to Mid school
Scientist, Photographer for Playboy magazine and physiotherapist for Brazil’s women’s beach volleyball team – High school
Journalist, Sound Engineer- Undergraduate
Technical Consultant, Business Analyst, Analyst, Documentation specialist, Window cleaner, Pet walker, Free mason, will-work-for-beer-money: In various times of desperation from January- July 2012
About the dots:
I started this blog to while away my time when I was working in Saudi Arabia to get attention and express myself. And I wanted to prove a point to myself that people apart from my mom also think that I am funny.
I got my internship after they saw my experience with word press. I got a full time offer from the consultants as they believed I could communicate my ideas with conviction to the clients and be solid academically as they learned about my VISA leader experience.
My interview with the partner entailed me describing how much I love Football (Soccer) and why it is important to root for one team. I gave her a passionate 5 minute speech of how much I yearn to see Arsenal play at the Emirates.
My idea of happy hours during school and under graduate was to be able to spend time at the library when other kids won’t be around. All those hours in the afternoon spent among dusty bookshelves and under a fan (60 rpm/second) didn’t go to waste. These are the things that I loved doing without any expectations or burden.
Trust me, the dots do connect. Believe in yourself and March ahead comrades! Good luck for your job hunt.