Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Need your help

Summer of 2004 was an unforgettable one for me. It was the hottest summer, as I saw the sun more than in any other summer. Times when I thought I am on a verge of something,either i am gonna be very successful or utter failure, times when i thought my life was more like a lottery. Yes, I was searching for a job. The general thought is that "if you have the talent, you should get a job easily". If India's 1990s had BComs and BScs storming the job market, 2000s had BEs. I agree that hiring was on its high in 2004s. Even then we(most of my friends and yours truly) weren't 'fully qualified' to be readily hired by the 'Indian biggies' in IT, even by the smaller companies, forget those MNCs like IBM.

I came from a college where campus interviews were unheard of. A college which is located just outside Madurai. Those days, we didn't even know what kind of work is done in IT companies. When we all set ourselves to start job search, it was more like how you will search a house for rent. Nothing planned, no definite path setup. We knew one thing, we should get a job before next time we go to our town or village. We all had good scores in colleges and a little bit of technical brilliance in us. We knew C and C++ better than English. We thought to work in Indian IT that is what is needed, right? My father works in postal department where language of communication is English. So we thought a little more English that my father had should work. Little we know that we are almost disqualified moment someone hears our English.We didn't even think about other options like higher education. Even within IT, we had less knowledge on areas like Testing where many of us would have shined easily.

Again and again many of us failed in interviews and came home with a dropped head. The entire room will brainstorm on what went wrong in that Interview, but we could never come out with definitive answer. Because we simply didn't have the understanding of what was the selection criterion were. We answered that our hobby was reading(because that sounded decent than cooking or gardening, which was the real hobby). When the interviewer started asking about "What exactly you read", the only answer we had was "Kumudam and Aananda Vikatan". We declared ourselves as sportsperson without even knowing to play any other game other than cricket. Even in Cricket, which was supposed to be our passion as per the resume, we didn't know to point out the "square leg" or a "point" position on a cricket ground picture. Looking back, I feel it was a sheer luck and that my peer community didn't have better standards than me that got my first job. The interviewer most probably thought Senthil's analytical ability was good enough to hire him in spite of his bad body languages/communication skills and everything else that was going against him.

So where am I getting here? Yes summer of 2012 is 8 years ahead of 2004. But little has changed in colleges around Madurai. We still have students who don't understand IT companies and who don't have confidence/communication skills/data points to face the Interviews. I wanted to help them out. With the little experience I have on this Industry, with a lot of help from others like you. There are already people who are working for this cause, we can talk to them, learn from their experiences and do our part. I wanted to something about this in 2009, but I was in USA and didn't pursue this. was the triggering point that time.

So what are the next few steps I am planning?

1. Talk to the placement officers of few colleges around Madurai.
2. Try to get a weekend session organized in these colleges and meet the students first. Talk to them about their plans and take couple of sessions(totally unorganized sessions, no ppt) on resumes and Interviews.
3. Understand what they want and then try to organize more people who have that kind of capability to help them out.
4. Follow up with them as they start this summer with job search.
5. If possible forward some of those resumes to HR of the companies where we work/where we have friends.

I know that this is more of open ended idea than something which is fully formed. But my past experience says that when I close out an idea with all the ends decided, it is usually ends up in a dead end with not much of support. So this time I will listen to all the other ideas. I want to start it somewhere around Pongal, so that we have enough time before the educational year comes to an end.

Why Madurai? The first set of people who said OK to me for this idea are from my college and from Madurai. So if you want to do this in other areas, we can do it and learn as a group.

Why is this post in English instead of in Tamil? I am hoping that people who are non-tamilians who are in TN   will also participate.

Thanks for reading. Shoot your ideas in comments section or at reachsenthilnathan @ gmail dot com