2019: One Hundred

Ooh, iconic number, friend-log. It appears that I’ve been writing for one hundred days now. This also means that one hundred days of the year are over. Which is good news – we’re closer to 2020 & graduation.

Today, I’m going to write about something serious. Recruitments. I fully understand that I’m in a position of privilege writing this, so please feel free to discard everything I say. However, this is merely an exposition of my opinion and my perspective – which is something I’m going to retain irrespective of what you say. I also fully understand this might not apply to you, but if it does, and you can relate to it, I hope you feel marginally better after reading it.

Tomorrow is Day Zero on my campus.

Now if you’re not Indian, I feel like this is a very foreign concept to you. Day Zero or Zero Day refers to placement day on Indian campuses. It is the first day of the recruitment season at a particular University, where, selected firms/top firms and employers visit a particular campus and conduct various rounds to select individuals from that campus for the purposes of employment.

At my University, only law firms visit us on Day Zero. There are several candidates who are sitting for recruitment – slightly over half my batch. I write this for them.

I know it’s an extremely, extremely stressful process. The mere amount of preparation you have to do, coupled with the uncertainty of the outcome, and all the random bits of preparation – including what outfit to wear, and how to answer weird questions and tackle firm-specific questions. It’s a lot of stress. And a lot of pressure.

But here’s a couple of things I think are important to remember.

The first is that if you are shortlisted, you’ve been given an opportunity to engage with somebody else about a topic nobody knows better than you: yourself. They’re going to ask you, at some point, questions on a subject-matter where the knowledge skew is so much in your favour, that you will be able to string together words that make sense. Be confident.

The second, is that a lot of stress can be avoided by imagining everybody wearing funny underwear. I know this sounds ridiculous, but whenever I come across something I’m nervous about, or meet somebody I’m not sure how to gauge, I imagine them in bright red cactus boxers. Immediately, upon the realization that there is infact a possibility that they are actually wearing red cactus boxers, I am put to ease.

 Third, the worst part is the uncertainty – and waiting for decisions. At this point, please remind yourself that you have done everything you can, and not much else is in your control. It’s important not to blame yourself and keep thinking that you could have done better – that reflection is for another time. I’ll tell you why. Given that specific time, it’s impossible to have done things differently. Going down the path of “if only” is a dangerous prospect, especially when you’re waiting to hear back – because there is still the possibility that things might work out, and all the thinking will be futile.

If you get a job, fantastic. All your work has paid off, and the Universe has conspired to present you with an opportunity today.

If you do not get a job, please remember, not all is lost. All of your work has still paid off because you’ve gone through a process and now are likely to be more comfortable with it if you choose to continue to go through it. Moreover, you’ve learnt so many things through your preparation. Finally, if you have not got an opportunity today, it means that you’re meant to get an opportunity tomorrow, or day after.

That’s the thing about employment, or recruitment. I don’t think it’s possible to objectively say some offer is better than another offer. It’s so specific to a particular individual: practice areas, and cities, and everything.

However, if you were really gunning for one of the firms that came today, and you didn’t make it. I’d like to remind you that your career doesn’t finish on Day Zero. Try not to give your career a finish date before its even started. Every single place that came here today does lateral hiring. And if you envisage yourself at one of them – you can get there. There’s nothing to stop you. You will make it.

I know this got preachy, but I think it’s just stuff worth thinking about and reading at some point.

Good luck for tomorrow! Give it your best. Have fun with it. You’ve worked far too hard and far too long for this to be something you don’t look back on with some amount of joy.

Let me know what you think!

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