It was May, 2012. I had just gotten my XIIth board results, and I was not happy. Fast forward to June, where I was taking college entrance exams across domains, from media (my first preference), to economics and business studies, and even the likes of Amity (yikes). Unfortunately, I passed all these exams, and my family and I chose the easiest option - business studies under the aegis of University of Delhi, which I could attend while staying at home. On the face of it, it was a highly coveted course, and everyone was happy. Always having dreamt of being a columnist, I put media at the back of my mind. I think that's where my career downfall began.
Three years later, with still no clue as to what to do in life, having taken CAT and gotten rejected by the best B-schools, I decided to start working. I worked for two years, while taking CAT every year, determined to make it to one of the best schools in the country. Again, I thought of going to a media school, but family and societal pressure didn't let me take that step. People always said, "You can do whatever you want, once you complete your MBA." Needless to say, that's not true. Once you get into the rat race, it's never easy to claw your way out of it.
At IIM Indore, we were plunged into the craziness of Indian B-schools as soon as we entered. Life went by quickly in those two years. From making (and re-making) CVs, practicing cases, studying for exams, hanging out with friends, going on student exchange, and sitting for finals, to finally graduating with a somewhat confused mindset, I headed out into the real world, with a job I was deeply dissatisfied with, and no clue as to what lay ahead.
What they don't tell you before joining a B-school is, that everyone is unique, with varied talents, and one should pick subjects in class and companies during placements very objectively, not depending on which day they choose to interview candidates on campus. A Day 0 company is not everyone's cup of tea, and a Day 5 firm may very well be your dream company. Having gotten placed in laterals, I was stuck in a rut, not knowing whether I should continue with the offer in hand or start looking for lesser-paying but my dream jobs in publishing and writing.
Of course, I took the job. And of course, it sucked.
I was at my lowest point professionally, and I didn't know how to escape. With friends doing well in their chosen streams, I felt like a misfit - at my job and in life. I regretted the past seven years of my life, especially the day I gave up on media. I wasn't made to be working in the corporate world, but there I was. What hurts most is when you feel your dream slipping away, slowly but surely, out of your grasp, and you know that it's probably impossible to get it back.
For anyone reading this, I just want you to understand that an MBA is not the be all and end all of your career. In most cases, it is just a education-gap filler. I know everyone wants a hefty pay package, but if it comes at the expense of your dreams, then it's not worth it. Nothing in life is. People discount the value of satisfaction and the sheer joy of working towards one's dreams, and realise it much later, but eventually they do. Perspective comes at a cost. Don't let that cost be your happiness.
The author is an alumna of IIM Indore.
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