Diary Entry - 29
This is a two part post. Please read the previous post A Job in Paradise – Part 1, before you read this, otherwise it wont make sense.
Though people like Poochie thought TCS was paradise, I was not very excited about it. I had no intention of working there. But I applied anyway. It was my plan C. If I did not get a job in any other company and if I got rejected by all the universities I applied to, I will still have something to do in life. A IT job is my solace in case life puts me through the worst case scenario. But I really did not care because I did not want the job so bad. I did not open the C and C++ book like my other friends. Did not practise for HR questions nor did I have a decent passport size photo with me. The photo of mine was in the worst condition. When I think about it I want to bang my head on the wall. I did not have a replacement photo and I was too lazy to go take a new one.
Also, there was no water for the past couple of days in hostel and so I did not take bath before going to the interview. Well you probably are wondering why I even bothered to sit for the interview if I was not serious about it. It is because Poochie told me that if I skip the interview after applying, I wont be able to sit for any other company that comes to campus. Also last year the interview was super casual. Some students were even asked to sing a song in their native language and stuff like that. So I learnt the first few lines of a song in Malayalam and Tamil just in case, hoping that will be enough preparation for this particular interview.
When I was finally called for the interview, one of the interviewers turned out to be a really pretty lady. Suddenly I started thinking what a big mistake I made by not taking a bath. This is what happened:
Interviewer: What happened to your photo?
Me: I had to submit my form for verification and the photo kind of got lost with other forms because I hadn’t pasted it properly. It happened to stick with the application that was kept on top of mine. I had to stick it back from there. It turned out to be like this. I am very sorry ma’am.
Interviewer: Haha that is okay. Tell me about yourself in brief.
Me: Blah blah blah (This is one question where I have so much to say in so little time)
Interviewer: You have any siblings?
Me: No ma’am.
Interviewer: Oh. So what will your parents say if we put you in Lucknow.
Me: They wont have a problem with it. They sent me to study in a hostel here all the way from Chennai and it will be the same thing if I go to Lucknow.
Interviewer: But college is different. It is a definite period of time. Working in Lucknow will be not the same.
Me: I am pretty sure my parents wont miss me as much as you think they would. If they wanted to see me that bad, we have skype. *Grins*
(I kept smiling the whole time. The Interviewing akka was sooooo pretty)
Interviewer: My god. Your area of interest is Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics. That is like the toughest subjects in mechanical.
Me: Blah Blah
Interviewer: But why will you want to work for a software company then? We don’t use Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics here.
Me: Heat transfer and thermodynamics can be used everywhere and anywhere blah blah blah
Interviewer: Okay but IT job can be just plain coding and not involve all this.
Me: I am pretty sure there will be some use to what I learnt.
Interviewer: Okay tell me why you want to work in an IT company.
Me: My ideal job will be somewhere I am constantly challenged and where the process of learning will always be continuous. I have heard that IT jobs are perfect for that. I will say an IT job is my dream job. (This was total bullshit and she figured that out herself :D :D)
Interviewer: Really? (She raises her eyebrows and gives me the Rock look.) But here it states in your career objective that you want to work as a mechanical engineer in a company that challenges you. You are not going to be a mechanical engineer here.
(I forgot to change my career objective because I had no intention of working for an IT company before. That line gave me away and showed that I was not even a least bit interested in working for IT. The questions that followed and the answers that I gave simply confirmed it.)
Me: “A company that challenges me” is the main part of my career objective. Of course I want to work as a mechanical engineer but I haven’t been sitting in all the core companies that have been coming to campus either. I sit only for the companies which I think will be challenging and a learning experience. For example, I did a small project in L&T and the state of the engineers there were depressing because they were never challenged and they had reached a point of saturation in their career after the first few years. They had seized to grow and learn. In such working environments, a person’s mental acuity will start to decline. So when L&T came for campus selection, I did not sit for it and that is the case with many other companies that I did not apply to. TCS provides a challenging work atmosphere that I look for in a job. It doesn’t matter if it is not mechanical related as long as I am challenged.
Interviewer: But you are a mechanical engineer. How can you contribute when you haven’t studied what the computer science and IT students have.
Me: I am hoping to do develop a Java based software for Ford motors for my final year project. It involves using the algorithms I learnt in Operations Research. I will have to learn and develop the software all by myself because I am doing the project alone. So by the time I join the company, I will have considerably skill in Java.
Interviewer: Oh but what if they like your project in ford so much and hire you. Wont you go there?
Me: They pick people with a high level of work experience. Before they hire freshers, they will probably put them through a lot of tests. I am pretty sure they wont just take me because I did a good project.
Interviewer: Okay then. What are the companies that come for campus selection in your college that you would like to work in.
Me: Ashok Leyland, TVS, Hyundai, Ford uh TCS :D :D
Interviewer: What if you get placed in Ford. Wont you go?
Me: There is a very slim chance of me getting a job in Ford. :D
Interviewer: Why do you say that? What makes you think you don’t have a chance?
Me: It is not that I am less qualified ma’am. It is just that there are several equally capable candidates in my college and Ford takes very few people. The competition is going to be really high and luck will play a major role.
She asked me a several more questions and she realised that I was Bullshitting her big time and I was feigning my interest in joining the company because I fitted the profile of a guy who wanted to work only for a core company.
Interviewer: You have done biology in school and you know nothing about C and C++. Would it not be a mistake hiring you.
(Hell yeah. The biggest mistake in both our lives :D)
Me: I did C and C++ in the first year ma'am. I got A grade in that :D
Interviewer: Oh good so I can ask you what pointers are then.
Me: Uh I don’t know what they are ma’am. I guess they point to something :D :D :D
Interviewer: What are the types of Variables?
Me: Integers, .... :D :D (Why does this lady have to torture me before she kills me?)
Interviewer: Have you ever written any program in your life?
Me: We had a c and c++ lab in the first year.
Interviewer: What programs did you do there?
Me: We did stuff like addition of two numbers and checking if a number is a palindrome.
Interviewer: You are definitely writing a program for me now. Add two numbers for me.
I squeeze out what I could remember from my subconscious memory and wrote what looked like a program. It was so not fair. All the other mechanical guys got questions only from mechanical and that too from their area of interest.
Interviewer: You do realise that this is an IT company rite?
Me: Yes ma’am.
Interviewer: (She smiles and looks at the other guy who barely spoke). How will you equip yourself if we give you the job?
Me: Uh I will go through my C and C++ books and attend C class ma’am
Interviewer: *Smiles* Thank you. You may leave.
I was so sure I will not get the job. The lady even asked me if I opened the C and C++ book to prepare for the interview. I told them since C and C++ are primitive languages that people no longer use, I did not feel there was a need to revise. I felt I had done a pretty good job of convincing them that I was not interested one bit. Before the interview I was considering telling them that I was going to do my masters in abroad and was not interested in the job. I wanted to do that because deep inside I felt if I ever work for an IT company, I will lose myself. But I dropped the idea because I thought having an extra option is not going to cause any harm.
Today the results came out. Four hundred people got rejected and I was not one of them. I got the job. (Yeah, I know. I don’t know why they hired me either.) What could those people who got rejected have possibly done, that I did not, for them to not get accepted. Guess all the smiling helped after all.
My parents give the worst reactions every time there is a prospect of employment. This is what my mother had to say:
Me: Amma, I got placed in TCS.
Mom: Ayo. Ippo Endhu Chaiyum? (Oh god. What will you do now?)
Me: I can sit for other companies too amma. It is not like I am going to work there.
Mom: Kozhapam illa. Pota vidu. (It is okay. Dont feel bad, leave it.)
Me: Seri ma. (Okay Ma)
Yes my mother is upset that I got a job.
As for my father. Well my father sort of pretended he did not hear and changed the topic to paying my mess fee. I always thought my dad hated paying my mess fee. First time in my life, he enquired without me telling anything. Changes TCS brings in a persons life are truly amazing.
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Previous Post - A Job in Paradise - Part 1