I had once appeared for a job interview where the interviewer asked me, “So Ritesh, training & development!…was it by design or by accident?” The interviewer was a typical corporate warrior, donning the badge of his many years of experience in the HR fraternity, proudly on his, may I add, puffed chest. He told me about himself, how many functions he handles and how he plans to change the course of the organization with his extraordinary leadership. With the restless energy that you quite often find in such corporate warriors, he shifted in his seat, head tilted back, trying to size me up. He was waiting for a response to the question he had posed to me.
I considered the question and contemplated on the best course of action. Should I tell him the truth or should I give him bulls**t about how much I love working with people and how I always had the passion to help people realize their potential. In the end, I thought, what the heck, let me tell the truth and I confessed it was purely by accident. I went on to add, however, that having spent close to seven years in the profession, I have developed a passion for it and I cannot think of doing anything else now. You develop a passion for something only after you have done it for a while.
After about 45 minutes, as the interview drew to a close, he asked me whether I had any questions for him. He looked smugly at me, daring me to ask whatever I could. I ended up asking about the expectations from the role and success indicators, however the question that I really wanted to ask was, “Has everything that you’ve done in life been done by design?” I’d be surprised if the honest answer to this question was ‘Yes’.
Yes, most of us plan and decide what we have to do in life when we are in college. Even I did. But how many of us work out the specifics and say that I will specialize in FMCG sales in tier two towns of India? My guess is not too many. As for me, my professional journey can best be described by this poem written by Bill Watterson, creator of the utterly adorable comic strip, Calvin & Hobbes.
I made a big decision a little while ago.
I don’t remember what it was, which prob’ly goes to show
That many times a simple choice can prove to be essential
Even though it often might appear inconsequential.
I must have been distracted when I left my home because
Left or right I’m sure I went.(I wonder which it was!)
Anyway, I never veered: I walked in that direction
Utterly absorbed it seems, in quiet introspection.
For no reason I can think of, I’ve wandered far astray.
And that is how I got to where I find myself today.