Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Placement hype : allegations, self-doubt and resolution.

Initially, I wasn't really concerned, I always had a "I don't care what you think" attitude. Or, maybe, I thought I always had that attitude. On repeated mention of the same, on noticing what people gossip about, on seeing what self-declared do-gooders had to say, I did start doubting myself. Questions like "Did I do the right thing?", "Am I really such a selfish person?" started echoing in my head. A feeling of guilt started building up.

Yes, I am talking about being accused of spoiling others' chances. I am talking about being made fun of and being fed doses of moral responsibilities because I expressed joy over one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. I am talking about being called a moron. Maybe, none of that was directed at me, maybe, it was my subconscious all along which accused me, projecting all things being said on myself. Whatever.

First question my mind asked me, "since when did you start worrying and caring so much about what people talk about you?". "I don't know, nor do I care. What I need right now is some support, some arguments." said I. These accusations and allegations had really started growing on me, instilling a false sense of guilt. I had to think then, at least for my own satisfaction. I had to argue with my subconscious which was making me feel guilty. What better equipment can one have other than raw, pure logic! Many times truth is harsh, truth is bitter, truth makes people angry. But truth, (or what one believes is truth) must be told boldly. Especially when it helps you! :P

The language might sound harsh, angry. That's because it is.

Spoiling others' chances
A friend said and I am paraphrasing, "I didn't want to spoil others' chances, so I didn't apply to foo and bar." Another said, and again I am paraphrasing "Placements and job offers aren't goddamn collectables you morons! Be responsible." I just don't get in what parallel universe others' chances were being spoilt! Come on, don't give me bullshit about "getting selected for a job, but not joining it, right away spoils someone else's chance" just because you are naive, doesn't mean that the companies are also dumb. After all, these companies have been recruiting from the supposed "talent pool", taking only "the best". Do you really think that these supposedly smart people aren't even aware of the simple fact that many students, being underconfident, apply for multiple jobs and might actually end up getting those all? What do you think the waiting lists are for?

Most of the companies don't come with a predetermined number of candidates in their mind anyway. Most of the times, anyone who clears the bar is made an offer (it is altogether a different topic of discussion whether the criteria for clearing the bar is right, can one really be judged in an hour-long interview etc.) This fact can be seen by either looking somewhere else in time or by looking somewhere else in space. Look at last year! Google had selected more than two students. When Tower recruited last, they too had selected many. Have a look at other IITs and other colleges this year. Google has made multiple offers in places. It's not at all my fault that this time, from IITM they chose to choose only me, and made no waitlist. Don't you see? They didn't want anyone else. Facebook and Rockefuel did not recruit anyone from IITM, now don't say "Mr. Invisible Man spoilt others' chances!" Come on, after all, it is just a matter of minutes to prepare a wait list. And as a matter of fact, companies which had a number in mind, did have waitlists in place. I have to agree that I wasn't the best, obviously. Also, almost everyone was perfectly capable of lapping it up. But no denying that I was at my best on that day. Had a mental block? Got too tired? Had some other important issues circling the head? Sick? Not my problem boss! Whatever the reason, however stupid, and however unfair, it wasn't me who spoilt anyone's chances. It was they themselves and maybe their fate/luck/god/whatever.

Celebrating and expressing joy
Apart from the accusers, there's this another breed: the "so what?" people. Showing off their "out of the box", all encompassing, "सर्वे भवतु सुखिनः" thought process, they point out that it isn't really a thing to celebrate, nothing to be particularly happy about it. Quoting from one such source: "What are top offers when the careers are all abroad? What is a record 6 offers to one student when 300 go without any?"

First of all, one very strong assumption implicitly being made here is that placements are all about the money involved. I beg to disagree personally. Have you ever faced a string of failures one after another? Rejections queueing up to greet you? Ask me, I have! Right from being rejected what I can say "a dream internship", being rejected a pre-placement job offer to being disqualified in the screening round for Yahoo! just a day before placements... It feels like the world is screaming at you "You are worth nothing! You suck! You incompetent, you undeserving. Thou shalt never have what thou really and truly want!" Obviously being in such a mindset, multiple job offers was HUGE HUGE ego-boost, confidence boost and made me realize that there is chance that I might not be as big a sucker and loser as I had come to think I was. This kick, my friends, no amount of money can buy!

I think that the other half of the point being made is also equally flawed. I mean, not celebrating and expressing your happiness because not everyone can have it is simply ridiculous. Shall we stop enjoying tasty, filling meals because every so and so time unit, a child in some foobar country dies of hunger? One should definitely be aware of the problems people around are facing. One should do the best they can to alleviate these problems, but giving up on your happiness, suppressing it, hiding it because of these problems is definitely not the way to go.

Why argue?
Why do I even need to make these arguments? Isn't everyone entitled to their own opinion? Exactly! That's my point! These are my opinions :) Also, when you want some peace of mind, when your own mind accuses you of crimes that are not, I believe the best thing to do is sit, have a detailed argument and most importantly, be aggressive. Ends are met if you, yourself are convinced that what you did wasn't wrong! So much so for convincing myself... :P

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