The First Job

I had never in my wildest dreams wished to settle abroad. Honestly speaking, I am not a very patriotic person but still I love India enough to want to spend my entire life here, loving and living whatever may come my way.

These beliefs became pronounced when I migrated overseas* and began the search for a job. I had work experience, good academic background from a renowned university but still things weren’t quite going as per my expectations.

I had expected the job hunt procedure to take a maximum of three months, during which I had been ruthlessly applying on all leading job portals, newspaper adverts and had even been requesting friends in the country to keep an eye for an opening.

Days changed to weeks which soon changed to half a year. My chagrin was at its worst but more than the distress it was the horror of not receiving a call for an interview in six months that felt like a slap on my face. I was panic struck. At total loss of excuses to tell my family back home as to what was keeping me back from finding a job.

Luckily, my parents were quite understanding and could actually sense the pressure threatening me to burst any moment that they lovingly chose to motivate me every single time. One fine afternoon, while sifting through a pile of white envelopes, (which were usually letters apologising for having found someone more suitable for the job than me) I landed on a call for interview.

I actually had to read it thrice to let the joy sink in. I jumped with joy and in no time confirmed the appointment for my interview with the Manager. It was a golden opportunity that I couldn’t let slip past. The interview was a week away. I wasn’t nervous about the interview part per se, but was busy contemplating the pros and cons of accepting the offer (in case it was made) for the job was in a distant city from where my family lived.

The day of the interview arrived. I was surprised to see my nerves stay calm and the interview glided like a feather in the breeze. All the pieces fell seamlessly in place until the time came for negotiating the salary package. It was a public sector position in an altogether new country. Prior to the interview, my father had advised me to go with the flow and offered package rather than quoting my expectation in exact figures. Though I wasn’t hundred percent sure if I agreed to the strategy, but I decided to follow his advice.

I  waited for the manager to make a quote. My eyes popped out of my skull when I was offered a meagre package, stating I was as good as a graduate for my educational qualifications weren’t of an overseas university (till then). I felt the blood rebelling to go to my head so that I would not have to hear any more of the Manager’s baseless reasons and apologies. I could see her speaking, but my mind was stuck in my cold feet.

I had high  all my hopes pinned for this job, my career overseas depended on my decision, but my mind wasn’t ready to work on a meagre wage. It yelled ‘racial discrimination’ loud and clear, but I let sanity prevail.

I requested the manager ten minutes time to think over the offer, to which she gladly agreed as it was a prompt join position. I raced outside the building and dialled my father’s number in haste.  I narrated the happenings of the interview and waited for him to help me decide. There was a pause of ten seconds before my father replied.

He said, ” Take up the job. First jobs are meant to prove your mettle, not to build up your bank balance. Once you’ve worked in your field, gained valuable experience, money and success will chase you. Don’t look at the package, see the work and your career prospects only.”

I went back and took up the job which entailed a three month probation period. Time moved on and I faced many challenges settling in a new role, in an altogether different country with diverse culture. The culture had a deep impact on my working for my position demanded first hand interaction with the public. Despite many initial hiccups I managed to stick on.

Trying to make friends with the staff of diverse ethnicities was another major challenge. They weren’t friendly with the first Indian staff member and my warm greetings often met cold glances. Warming up did take time, but soon the winter of frozen barriers melted in the warmth of my hardwork.

In the dreadful three months of probation, I had made around ten friends from seven different countries, this included my Manager who had somehow eased up to return my greetings with a warm smile. I knew it in my heart that I was there to stay and rise but I couldn’t be too sure about it, given the unpredictable nature on my team.

On the day of my performance analysis, I could see the warmth of the faces replaced by incomprehensible glares. My heart decided to beat at an irregular pace not sure what to expect. Finally the General Manager spoke up. The organisation had been pretty satisfied with my work, but…….. there was a killer silence before he continued.

But, my clients had scored me a 9.5 out of 10 on a random survey, way higher than any employee had scored before me. So not only was my job secure, but I received a 65% rise in my existing package.

It was unreal. I had never heard, let alone experienced anything similar in my life before. After the formal meeting ended my Manager told me, she’d been befuddled on the day of my interview when I had accepted the job-offer with a meagre package, for the executives were quite convinced I’d turn down the offer.

She further added, that my dedication and sincere efforts without worrying about the salary had opened many avenues for future success. It was indeed a moment to celebrate, but more of thanksgiving to my father, who’d enlightened me to make the right choice when I needed it most.

The song on my mind : Ek din aap yun humko mil jayenge ~ Yes Boss

* overseas – I avoided sharing my location details to protect identity.

23 thoughts on “The First Job

    1. I agree Tharani, all ‘firsts’ are special. But this was my first job overseas though not the first job of my career because I had worked in India before this 🙂

      Thank you dear 🙂


  1. Loved reading this! Though I must say that despite how much we grow up the experience that our parents have in life is unmatchable to ours and it is that we cannot live without.

    Hows ur job search going here?


    1. I totally agree with you.

      I have started working from home (nothing flash but yeah it sure has got my bank account smiling) since nothing seemed to be working.


  2. My first interview when I newly arrived in USA was a strange one. The job was to supervise 18 clerks. At the end of my interview, my manager asked if I have supervisory experience. I said “yes”. She then asked me if I have experience supervising Americans. My immediate instinct was to say “no”. But I held back the answer for 10 seconds. Finally, I replied with a question to her: “Why are you asking this question. Are they (Americans) difficult to supervise?” My manager laughed, laughed, and laughed. And then said “you are hired”.


  3. Brilliant. 🙂 Part of this post made me feel like I had gone back in time. I remember making a call to my dad similarly when I heard of the meagre pay packet I was getting in my first job. He was the one who told me to stick. “It’s not where you begin from, but where you reach that matters.” I will never forget his words.
    He also told me on the first day of my first job. “It’s the beginning of a long journey. You will have your good days and bad ones. Remember: do not let what you do consumer who you are.” 🙂


    1. So cool Ash 🙂
      I know we all started work for peanuts, but this was technically not my first job so I had my doubts of accepting an offer that barely meant a salary. Glad things did turn out favourably in the end 😀


  4. My first Job didn’t pay me much expect to handle basic , but that’s where I learned a lot and I feel it took me to where I am today , your post is very inspiring and your dad is a wise man.


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