Work Stories: Eventful first year at work

The first two years at the first job (2005–07) were eventful. I traveled for 2 hours to work carrying the 14-inch wide and 8 kg heavy laptop hanging from one of my shoulders. Backpacks were not yet popular back then while going to work.

At work, every assignment was the first time for me. I had to put in extra work hours to iterate and complete the projects assigned. Mostly, I worked with financial nos and extrapolated financial projections in a spreadsheet.

For the first time in my life, I worked the whole night on a financial projections spreadsheet that turned out to be a waste of time as the finance head critiqued me for not applying forethought before starting to work on projections. I had little to say in my defense.

On some days, I felt like quitting as the routine exhausted me physically and mentally. Taking an unannounced holiday, I tried to recuperate in my room at the hostel. I missed my family.

Once I was in tears when the MD yelled for failing to explain variance in projected profitability. The Accounts head sitting next to me remained calm and nodded to get back after checking with sales. Later, he counseled me to be thick-skinned.

I walked from Vashi to NITIE Campus in Powai on July 25, 2005, when a cloud burst flooded Mumbai. Not agreeing to stay back in the office, I opted to walk back to the hostel some 20 km away. Little did I expect to walk for six hours from evening till midnight and wade through flooded streets with water as deep as waist height.

I was settled at the job by the end of the first year. The daily routine of taking a bus and then a train was not tiring anymore. I was in control of my deliverables and contributed articles to the magazines published too. My boss (who I still consider my mentor) supported and encouraged me.

When I informed him about finding a new job, he approved my leaves without question. How many of us dare discuss changing jobs with a boss before finding one?

My first job taught me to be diligent, proactive, focused, and a quick learner. I learned that no one pays you for your learning. Innocence and transparency win hearts, even at work.

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