"That's the thing about human life- there is no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed"- Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon
Let us consider four friends: Chatur, Farhan, Raju and Rancho.
1. Chatur wanted company A or B. He speaks to alumni who have been in the company and is in good terms with a couple of PlaceComm members.
2. Farhan wanted Role C. He does all the right certifications, has the right GPA, and thinks of applying selectively.
3. Raju just wanted to aim for the highest paying roles and get placed fast.
4. Rancho says he'll apply to whatever feels right and doesn't seem to be prepping or stressing very much.
Guess what happens?
Company A doesn't show up for placements this year. Company B hires for Role D, and Farhan gets placed in it (because peer pressure made him apply). Raju ends up in the bottom 40%ile of the batch, but gets a decent role with a moderately paying job. Chatur kept waiting for Company A, and got placed even after Raju. Rancho gets the highest CTC from a dream offer floated in the middle of the season.
Is it any surprise that all of them were only pretending to be happy for each other when each of them got placed?
Placements are unpredictable for the following reasons:
1. Market conditions and company requirements are subject to change
2. There is a demand-supply mismatch between roles and candidates
3. The pedigree of B-School matters to companies deciding to come on campus, but the calibre of the placement committee matters more
4. It is a tough call to evaluate JDs quickly and make applications selectively
In simple terms, at least 80% of us will feel deflated after getting placed because of a gap that most of us have to confront: the gap between our expectations and reality. On one hand, our human nature wonders at the greenness of the grass on the other side of the fence - our friends and acquaintances we did not think much of in jobs we perceive to be better than ours. On the other hand, we can't seem to come to grips with the strategy and decision-making parts of our B-school curriculum, which places us at a high pedestal and gives us pieces of a CEO’s historic problem to solve in a few hours by way of "discussion". You see, the major problem stems from this pedestal. We found it assuring that once we are equipped managers of a prestigious institution, our life would change. This continuous conditioning to anyone's psyche is bound to leave the person unable to reconcile the version he/she is in viz a viz the version he has in his mind. It's going to take some time to understand that every job has its costs and benefits, even if you can't see them yet.
This is the paradox of getting this education, you are doubtlessly better off with it. You learn to challenge assumptions, analyse underlying factors, ask questions fearlessly. But here's where it gets strange: you're now moderately aware of the highest professional possibilities that could be available to you, ones you dint know existed for you earlier, and you want it. Usually, there's no problem with that. Ambition is good, expected even. However, it leaves a sense of impatience, missed opportunities and the fact that you will keep being confronted with a dilemma- the classic fight or flight. You'll have quite a few reasons to be satisfied with the direction your life is headed, but you will beat around the unpleasant bits, much to the chagrin of your friends and family.
If all the issues mentioned above could be brought under one header, it would be the fear of not making the impact you had hoped you would make. You see people settling for jobs, relationships etc. and you had wished you wouldn't settle. Because the "okay" life isn't that bad. It's actually comfortable. But your day might not be as thrilling or passion-filled as you want.
But before you let the depressing thoughts sweep over you, there are these things to remember:
• Patience is the key. If you're a fresher in a fairly decent company, it makes a lot of sense to gain some experience before you immediately switch. It's imperative to have an open mind.
• Switch within the company. Subject to the policy in place at your organization, you can ask around (discreetly) about the possible roles you can switch after the said duration is complete. You would have to perform reasonably well in order to get the consideration of your senior managers to make the switch, whether to a higher role in the existing department or a different department altogether.
• Switch companies. If you're very sure that you absolutely can't work in the company you've been campus placed at, try getting referrals, applying on job sites or your prior organization for a preferable role. If you decide to take this step as a fresher, things may be a little more difficult for you, which means you may have to take bigger risks, have more faith and wait some more.
• Study further. Weigh this option extremely carefully, but if you feel this is your calling, it is a decent option to consider. Depending on the experience you have, you can consider PhD programs, courses abroad or dedicated certificate programs in whatever field you choose.
You're going to keep calming your racing heart with continuous striving. If there's one thing we MBA Grads are capable of, its that we can figure things out eventually. Until then, remind yourself of all the things that make you feel that "All is well".