Tag Archives: career problems

Awards And Recognition

Recognition is a wily, tricky little thing.

Some people get it so easily that it goes to their heads. They make mistakes and their short-lived euphoria soon gives way to crippling frustration.

And some people achieve recognition the harder way; after a lot of struggle, pain, and misery. By then they become so inured and so deeply humbled that recognition loses its sheen. They remain grounded and keep adding new milestones through sheer will-power and self-motivation. I consider myself lucky to belong to this second category.

On 21st September 2018, I participated in Volkswagen’s Sarvottam Skill Championship for dealerships in their Gurgaon Training Center as a Lead CR, Sales. It was as per prior nomination by my dealership.

Although my colleagues said that I was a strong contender because of my long experience, I personally had no expectations whatsoever as my association with Volkswagen so far had been for only last 6 months. I was there only to enjoy the learning experience.

A customer care manager’s job in a car dealership is, in fact, one of the most thankless ones in this world. You hardly ever get any appreciation for all those little things you do quietly behind the scenes that enable the other departments in achieving their targets and walking away with all the awards and applause. When you slave like that for almost 2 decades in a highly male-dominated environment, you kind of lose all interest in awards and you just learn to take life as it comes.

It was with this nonchallant state of mind that I took part in all the different rounds of the CR Sales Skill contest.

The gold winner’s name for Sales CR profile was announced towards the end. I was completely taken aback when that name turned out to be mine. For the first time in my life, I was a gold medallist!

Here are the pics.

On my way home, even the evening sky carried a huge rainbow; specially for me, it seemed.

But, of course, no celebration is complete till you share it with your family and all those friends who stood with you through the tough days…..

I have now qualified for the National Round due in December 2018 in Pune and I hope my calmness of mind lasts through this event as well.

Do wish me good luck, dear readers. I need all the good wishes I can gather.

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Between Jobs…

On 16 November 2017, I lost my mother. Next day, while participating in the death rituals at home, I learnt through the office whatsapp group that I had lost my job as well and someone else had already joined in my place! These events were not entirely unexpected, to be honest, but their close timing within a gap of just 24 hours placed me in the kind of situation that I was just not ready for.

I was like someone benumbed. Brooding and grieving were now luxuries that were out of question. I now had a far bigger worry, to find a new job. It was a matter of survival and a big challenge, as automobile industry is going through a very tough phase these days.

Unlike the Bollywood heroes who comfort themselves, when badly cornered, with the thought “Mere pas Ma hai,” meaning “My mother is with me,” I didn’t have this consolation either.

But you’ve got to keep moving somehow; that’s what my Mom always said. So I consoled myself with “Mere pas Daddy hain,” (meaning my Dad is with me). I began my job search by posting lots of job applications daily like someone gone crazy. I spoke to a lot of people and asked them to help. Some of them went out of their way to support me and cheer me on. Soon enough, I began getting invited for interviews.

I had no idea when I was going to get my next job, so I tried to save money by avoiding last-mile transport and walking as much as I could. A walk of a kilometer or two, I discovered, didn’t give me too much pain and actually helped me build up my self-confidence.

And one day, I had 2 interviews lined up, both very close to Delhi Metro stations.

The first one got me an offer. It wasn’t good enough, but it was something to fall back upon just in case nothing else worked out. It filled me with hope and worked like straw for a drowning soul.

My next interview was near the Huda City Center Metro Station, Gurgaon. I reached there about 2 hours ahead of the scheduled time. I spent the first hour picnicking on a bench outside the station under the soothing winter sun. I slowly ate my home-made lunch while watching people moving about in the station premises…I felt absolutely liberated. I was no longer anyone’s slave, I reminded myself. I was a free person, far away from the office cameras, mean, scheming subordinates, and manipulative bosses.

Well, like everything else in life, my picnic hour too ended. I got up and began my last-mile walk to the interview venue…I walked in a leisurely manner, like a tourist, on a sight-seeing tour and I clicked several pics on the way…

Those pics are given below…

Ferocious pigs…

A worried bull, clueless, indecisive, uncertain, like me…

Appproaching twilight…

The second interview happened as scheduled. It was in a plush, elegantly designed office. The best part was the rangoli with colored plastic beads…See below…

Nothing came out of it though, except for the tactful we-will-get-back-to-you-soon answer. But I didn’t feel disappointed. I felt happy and peaceful. When I came out of the lift, I noticed a bunch of pink Bougainvilleas clinging to a fence. They looked ravishing, like a young lady on her night out, leaning on the arm of her beau…

Well, sometimes, I guess, you have to remain content with just being alive, being able to watch days change into nights, nights into days, the sun, moon, and the stars.

On 12 December 2017, I finally got my next job. It’s not exactly the kind I would have accepted under normal circumstances and I am not even sure for how long I will be able to keep it.

So I have simply stopped planning ahead…It’s now, this minute, this moment that matters…Nothing else…

A Brave Soldier

 

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The Indian Government recently took several anti-pollution measures in Delhi including banning of large diesel cars with engine capacities above 2000 cc and increasing taxes. Whether Delhi’s pollution levels will come down in future because of these steps remains to be seen. But they have thrown the automobile industry into a deep sea of depression and despondency.

A lot of fresh and ongoing projects have been put on hold and new hiring has stopped.  Growth seems to have come to a stand-still and employee benefits are being doled out in a very miserly manner. Senior managers are often compelled to be harsh with their subordinates.

If you turn to your mentors in the Indian automobile industry today for career advice, this is what you might hear, “Just stick fast to whatever job  you’ve got because you may not find another very soon. Even if you do, the new environment could be much worse and you may soon have to move on again.”

It is in this kind of a sad and gloomy atmosphere that a new car dealership is coming up just next door to mine where I work in Delhi (see pic above). This photo was clicked through a glass window of my office which overlooks this place. While their earthmoving machines go about bulldozing and pounding away the building material, our building also vibrates in sync. Sometimes the tables, chairs, and the cabin walls shake so badly that it feels like an earthquake. But no one is complaining. It seems to be a defiant act of great courage on the part of the owner and fills a lot of unhappy and disgruntled hearts with hopes for a better future. The opening of a new dealership next door holds great promise of new jobs and better salaries for many without extra travelling.

The construction activity outside appears to be going on at a very fast pace. I heard recently from a reliable source that it’s going to be a Toyota workshop and they are planning to start their operations by Diwali (30 October 2016)…

Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed and see what the future holds….

Jasbir Chatterjee

24 June 2016