I was a young student, an enthusiast with dreamy eyes, someone who has always been hard-working and had a thirst for knowledge, a fascination for the new. Like every student, I tried to study hard and did not really dream of the best and highest-paid job in the world, but an environment where I can feel safe, grow and bloom like a wild flower.
Life took turns in my college years; I gave a few interviews, a handful of exams and landed in an Indian MNC. First few days in the corporate were overwhelming; its sheen would leave me transfixed. People all around would talk of a great, successful life that waited ahead of me. It was good to prepare myself for a challenging experience.
There was almost a month long training, that was as good as college days – fun, friends, laughter and bonds. Then we were allotted a project, many of my friends got the same project and we were pretty excited to work together.
Work started and I tried to fit in, and work hard, learn as much as I could. The domain was very promising and I had all the energy at my disposal. I would work in the office, read after office hours and tried to develop a taste for my work.
Unfortunately, the corporate life lost its sheen way too quickly. Was there work? Yes, but more than that there was politics. Manager trying to manipulate the Team Lead; TL trying to manipulate and divide the team; my team, fortunately, was a team of friends, we girls knew how to put our foot down. Till the time we were together, it only felt like a challenge, something just needs to be dealt with patience.
Being my first experience in a corporate, I thought, maybe it is a project-specific situation. I studied harder, got my project changed and thought I had found a relief. Things changed apparently, but no real change happened. I again met some really good people, liked my work but the environment still kept me at perpetual unrest.
The corporate had lost its charm by now; it felt like a golden cage and no different. There was an environment of fear and greed and oppression. Freshers and young lads were continuously sold false hopes and fear was insinuated in them in subtle ways. A corporate has very less to do with work, a fresher with her hunger to learn more and more feels starved as the processes and management keep crushing her growth.
This feeling dawned upon me and took a seat in my heart – I felt caged. A corporate uses ‘comfort’ as a bait to trap its prey. I could not in my dream see my future in that MNC, all the managers looked like zombies to me. And this is not funny; it used to give me shivers down my spine to just look at them. Everything about them felt so dead – the fake laugh, greeting, fake sympathy and fake anger. All their energy, probably, went into manipulating people and making their lives hell. Every time I looked at people around me, words from my teacher echoed in my head, “After a few years of a soul-sapping routine, you stop feeling bad about it. Corpses don’t complain. The reward is respectability and progress”
I remember explaining to one of my managers that a sapling can take the pressure of air and rain because that helps it grow, but it cannot bear a foot on itself – know the difference! I only forgot to tell them, that if need be, a seed can change its direction and grow inside out, that’s the glory of nature and it applies to one and all.
I felt sympathetic for people who thought, “This is how things are. This is professional life. One has to go through all this.” I begged to differ, I was craving to walk out, struggle if I must and find a better working environment for myself.
On my second job anniversary, I gifted myself a resignation letter! 🙂
The cage was denied, fresh air and open sky waits outside and I am excited and looking forward to it; to finally breathe, grow, blossom and live in the aroma of freedom.