A Short Story From an Engineer Who Grew Up in Remote North Eastern State of India

Growing up as a kid in North East India in 80s and 90s could have been a great fun or challenging or both depending on how one views it. There was no dearth of good schools and teachers in major cities such as Guwahati, Shillong, Agartala or maybe Silchar but choices were not that plenty in rest of the places. It was definitely not the case in insurgency ridden town in Nagaland where it is not that great for good teachers with opportunities available in rest of the country. It is great place if the kids think school is fun since there are no teachers and no classes. It could be a big challenge if the kid wants to compete with other kids from bigger towns of North East not to talk about the Delhis and Kolkatas

Challenge 1: 
One could easily end up blaming the “environment” (wow, I got another “E”!). The quota system in engineering colleges for each state is a breather but being in top 20 is all you can do to get into any good engineering college. This kid was lucky; he had good fun with the challenge and made it to one of those colleges.

Challenge 2:  
The north eastern kid lands up in the college and finds himself among smart kids from all over the country. They know computers which he thought were something only seen in Hollywood movies. Professors think that this kid would not even be in top 10000 if he had been from Delhi .He has to pedal a bit extra faster to catch up with these smart kids and change that image over four year period. In the final year of college, good grades and campus placements help him in secure few job opportunities but something called “recession” catches up.

The kid decides not to return home due to not having a secured job offer. He does few small jobs in a big metro, likes his 30 square meter “barsati” apartment shared by 4 other kids with similar desire to succeed in the job market and does not lose hope yet.

Challenge 3:  
Good news!  He is in a bigger city. Bad news there is 100,000 other kids like him who have similar desire to succeed.  To have fun with the challenge, he doesn’t worry too much about the other 99,999.

Challenge 4:   
Fresher job opportunities in a good company were getting lesser due to recession. So he tries his hands in ways to get better chances at landing him a job which takes us to our next key word –Employability.

Employers require people who can communicate well (often mistaken with ability to only speak English fast!). Employers also like integrity and ethics. Employers will like you if they can see if you can take responsibility which might come from a “can do” attitude. Importantly employers will like if you have the ability to perform the job. They might train you too but you need to be honest.

Challenge 5:  
If you know your stuff, all good! If not, you need professional courses in addition. Colleges can provide qualifications but will not make you qualified for the job. It is not enough to know how Java Virtual Machine works, it’s important to communicate that in short 30 minutes and if you are lucky enough 1 hour interview for a fresher.

Challenge 6: 
 If you have not spent 10-12 years in a school where you learnt how to “communicate”, chances are that it is going to be a little difficult for you (they might have taught you but it is Your learning is important). Three or four years in college are those good time to brush that up or take professional help. Unfortunately I didn’t have organisations like KRC to help me out so it took me more than 4 years in college to understand what communication is really made up of.

I am not an entrepreneur and most likely majority of you reading will not be a business owner either. OK, now I have a job. The company has spent lots of rupees to train me. What is next then?

Challenge 7:  
Good news- I got a job in the top company in India. Bad news- It also has another 10,000 smart employees.

Challenge 8:  
What do employers really want from their employees? They want them to be smart and hard-working and understand their own growth path as the company grows. They want what is called Intrapreneurs –An

Internal Entrepreneur. An Intrapreneur is someone who works like a business owner inside a company and who thinks the company he/she works for is their own. They have a shared vision on how their contribution adds up to every bit. I can tell you it is a good fun to be ranked top among those engineers when working for such a large MNC. Only way is to have a good attitude –one which has Intrapreneurship added to it.

Emotional Intelligence
It has been a short journey for this engineer kid. He had successes and learnt from his failures. On his path he met many difficulties and lot of helping hands. He feels he is the king of the world! Almost.

Challenge 9:  
He lands up in a foreign land with no visible similarity in people, food or language (I did tell you English is not everything!). Fun part is being from North East India is an advantage! We are all so different there in such a small landscape. Being from India helps too but depends if one had the opportunity to explore other cultures.

Challenge 10 (Not so Final Challenge): 
Senior employees who have long experience will be mature enough to handle pressure scenario. That is why they are in those top positions. Problem is this kid is ambitious and that is where control over one’s emotions is going to take him to the next level. Yes , he will not get the same “environment”  he grew up in but it will be something that could change his life and of many others whom he calls family and friends. Point is, sometimes we will do well, and sometimes we will not. Understanding one’s strengths and weakness is the most important thing. Get professional help when you can otherwise the rest of those 99,999 will catch up and you will be part of those not so top kids. Whatever it is, it is important to know that success is an interesting and intriguing journey, not a destination
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