It’s a corporate life. The kid gloves are off. It’s time to step into a whole new world. A world of earning money, getting taxed, paying bills, increased stress, deadlines, deteriorating mental health in the colourful hope of leading a peaceful life post retirement, making presentations and dressing formal. I recounted each thing half minded as I united the on and off buttons with their respective mates of a foreign cloth that seemed only reserved for special cases and uncles.”Business Casual”, the official mail reiterated the company policy. That just sounds off. Like “McDonald’s run”. What sort of etiquette do they hope this attire would achieve, a casual approach to business or a strict business approach to being casual? Is business casual supposed to be- wearing floral print shirt and khakis and making multi-million dollar deals in the Cayman Islands and…wearing a tie? Is it meant as a means of bifurcation? A yin-yang of textile fusion? A three piece suit with comical yellow boxer shorts? I may need some time fitting in, because it’s a corporate life.
My first day as a ‘responsible adult’ seemed a lot like school trips my lovely alma mater arranged growing up. Getting up early in the morning, wearing nice clothes, going to a far off location for one day, father dropping me to the place. Clearly my idea of a first work day was quite skewed admittedly because I’ve never been in a work environment before, which was one reason to slightly delve into the train of overthinking which could quickly go off the rails without warning. In my head it’s an image of Thomas “the tank” Engine’s lesser known cousin Angus “the douche” Engine who was the black sheep of the Engine family and went wayward as he got into the world of drugs and eventually got hooked on speed and hit rock bottom. In a fit of guilt, remorse and teenage angst of not being accepted, he overdosed and went off the rails over a bridge connecting Edinburgh to Glasgow taking with him 8 unsuspecting meth heads who, in their drug addled confusion, sought temporary respite inside the compartment of fictional locomotive with overlooked childhood trauma and abuse, as their screams echoed over the 200 feet drop only to be silenced by the sound of an Acme Corp.™ explosion. But I digress.
If they were to ask me what I did over the long holidays, I would simply reply, “I interned at a local enterprise as an underwater ceramics technician during which I also laid the groundwork for a technical paper on the effect of constant load over extended periods of time on the plasticity and spring co-efficient of a wrapped block of coir.” What they don’t know is, I spent my time washing dishes at home and sleeping for 12 hours a day.
Analogies are very interesting. Once you decide on a particular metaphor, your mind begins to see parallels that is uncommon to the common eye. As my dad dropped me at the venue, I saw droves of doting parents seeing off their sons and daughters who couldn’t wait to go through the doors of the multi-starred hotel. The HR rep told the boys to sit on one side and girls on the other and urged the soon-to-be-working professionals to occupy the first few benches. This, of course, is open to your own interpretation much like the nonsensical art pieces that adorned the walls and some tables.
The next nine to ten hours went in a long, drawn out, frustratingly ineffectual method of orienting 500 odd soon-to-be-IT-professionals. I’ve had a preconceived notion that most HR representatives are to be despised from pop culture and I felt it was a little unfair to have this bias against people I haven’t met. The one leading the talk today was seemingly a over-enthusiastic, passive aggressive school teacher who insisted all her sentences end with a resounding ‘yes’ from the crowd, whether it comes out on its own or she has to goad it out of us. For all you know she might have asked us if we would renounce our souls to Satan and we would be none the wiser by chanting yes. The remaining time went into slow dictation of very basic information followed by the resounding sound of five hundred pens scribbling on paper and a coordinated symphony of tearing sheets which rose to a crescendo in the ball room of the Courtyard. No one tells you the amount of signatures and paperwork involved in getting a job, I don’t know either, I just “read and understood the agreement and I accept and agree to all of its terms and conditions”.
I don’t know, it seems to me that this information could very easily be relayed by email along with the necessary documents to be filled in and the students can be split batch-wise and called to the venue streamlining the entire process. And if someone is unable to comprehend the necessary skills that go into filling out a simple form, maybe, just maybe, you don’t *really* want to be paying them a few lakhs a year and giving them health insurance plus dental. But what do I know, I’m just a mechanical engineer who is figuring out what he really wants to do whilst doing an IT job.
There were other highlights of the day. I looked dapper in formals. sorry, business casual. For a curd rice eating, road side gobi hogging chap, I had a rather luxurious lunch spread at very classy hotel. Started listening to podcasts of Dan Harmon’s “Harmon Town”, which I really recommend to all the crickets chirping around who love community. I had a grueling return journey which really made me appreciate the immense amount of effort my working mother put into her job and coming home to her other job and my father for having the patience to deal with two annoying kids, well, one annoying kid. I got a nice seven layer slice of a corporate cake. Clearly an acquired taste which I will have a hell of a time getting cozy with. Also, MOOLAH BABY.