Last week, an email from Ganesh surprised me. It was almost after a decade he tried to contact me. After an exchange of 7-8 emails within 12 hours, we finalized a day, time and place for our meeting in Mumbai during his visit to India. He had been working in San Francisco with one of the top-10 Software Development organizations as a Senior Project Manager, drawing a handsome salary of 350,000 USD per annum. My thoughts wandered to the time we had spent together, the dreams we shared and the career paths we took to reach our current destinations.
I clearly remember, it was a Sunday afternoon when he walked into my Executive Hostel Room accompanied by our Hostel Manager. He became our 3rd roommate. A casual interaction over the cup of coffee revealed that Ganesh had completed Masters in Computer Applications (MCA) from Chennai University and wanted to pursue a course in SAP ABAP to secure a good job. He would often be seen in the Computer Labs, practicing his learning’s of the day. After a training and practice of SIX months, he felt confident enough to apply for entry-level jobs in SAP ABAP Technology; however, even after a period of 30 days, he didn’t receive any interview call. Dejectedly, he had joined a BPO as a Process Associate for a monthly salary of 4,300 INR to take care of his temporary and immediate financial needs. The days passed by but he didn’t hear from any company he had applied to even after 90 days. One day, he sadly said to me, “Sanjeev, in every job post of SAP ABAP they are asking for 2-3 years of experience. From where I should get this experience when I am a fresher?”
It was the month of July 2003, when his CV was shortlisted by almost every IT company in India, including companies like Microsoft, IBM, HCL, TCS, Satyam, Infosys, Wipro, etc. He had faked his CV with 30 months of work experience. Initially, he flunked in a couple of interviews; however, eventually he managed to get through every round of selection interviews (by referring to his training notes, books, etc. in our room during technical telephonic interviews) and got an offer letter. His salary package for 20k INR with an assurance of 25% increase post probation period was close to his expected salary. He was thrilled to finally land at his dream job and took us out for dinner to celebrate his success.
Five months later, he informed me that he was relocating to Bangalore as he had got another job offer with a monthly salary of 30k INR. I advised him if he continued with his existing job for at least one year, he might bag even a better job offer with a higher salary. He said, “My father is retired now, I need to take care of my parents and extend financial support for my sister’s marriage”. But I persisted that it’s not wise to switch jobs for just extra 5k. He then confessed that his company had decided to part with him post probation due to his inability in meeting performance expectations standard set for new employees in SAP projects.
He moved to Bangalore to embark on his new role. Exasperated with himself for his unworthy performance in the previous job, he dedicated himself completely to the new role and worked really hard. He knew he had done well when he was selected for an on-site project in 2008 and since then he has been living there. As far as self-development is concerned, he is now a PMP Certified Project Manager and a Master Six Sigma Black Belt. I am very happy for him.
In the beginning of his career, he cheated on several accounts and people may call him unethical and dishonest. As an individual, I am neither endorsing him nor criticizing him. We, as a society in particular and the business world in general, are responsible for such kind of dishonesty. As is clear from his example, when he approached with honesty, he was rejected, but with a bit of deception, he managed to catch interviewer’s eyes. We are living in a competitive world where “survival of the fittest” is a standard and acceptable norm. If you won’t do it, someone else will. To change the game, we need to change the rules.
What are your thoughts about Ganesh? How differently would you have behaved had you been in place of Ganesh?