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A reality check

We had our interns’ orientation at work today. I’m not one for making too much small talk, but the other interns seemed pretty nice. There are some 20 of us in total. We were being pitched the MA program, and while HR talked about all the values, training and development stuff, I was almost enticed. I know by now that I like the kind of people that come to work there, friendly, intellectual and hardworking. But post HR’s intro, three people talked to us about their lives in the bank. The first was a guy whose been with them for 9 years. He looked like a misplaced designer / advertising guy (if you know what I mean), but with a more pleasing personality. I thought he  showed just the right degree of “passion” and “enthusiasm” for the stuff that he did. The second was a recently hired MA, an SMU alum, who sounded like she was still trying to convince herself that she had chosen the right place to find the ‘work-life balance’. The third speaker gave me my much-needed reality check. He was extremely excited, enthusiastic, passionate, committed, frank, even funny, (in)appropriately sometimes. He made me realize how a really important factor to succeed in a place like this is the unbounded love for money. In his own words, “You can fly, drive, take a bus or take a train to KL. If you fly, it HAS to be first class. [Now that sounds familiar, thanks to Finance 101]. Else drive down, but ONLY in a Porsche.” Money. (Un)fortunately, it doesn’t do the trick for me.

My take-aways from today’s session:

  • Everyone looks for work-life balance while looking for their first job.
  • There’s no such thing as a work-life balance. Not in banking anyway.
  • You have no social life while you work. Work becomes your social life.
  • It’s 80% work and 20% balance if you are extremely ambitious (ie you really want more money and more). Else it’s just 100% misery.
  • HR sounds like more fun. Nah.
  • I should start worrying about my job-hunt, BIG time.

I like my work here, I do. I like the people too. But I can’t see myself here for too long. I’m not at peace.

The time is now. I need to get my priorities right.

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After 7 years of quitting my full-time corporate job and travelling the world, I've written a book - called The Shooting Star - about my journey. This book of untold travel stories charts my adventures from the cubicle to the road, and from small-town India to remote corners of the globe. Limited copies are now available for pre-order on Amazon and Flipkart. Drop me a note if you end up pre-ordering yours today! Connect with me on Instagram/Twitter @shivya.

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