Being myself

I think I’m a funny guy. And I sometimes like to get pally with people. I don’t like extreme formality. I have a fundamental mistrust of people who wear ties without jackets. I try a bit too hard to break ice. I have a superior long-term memory which makes people think they’re being stalked. And I think one of the reasons I didn’t last long at Goldman was that I couldn’t really reconcile myself working for a company that took itself way too seriously.

My first interaction with Goldman Sachs was back in 2004. Unsure if they’d be able to pronounce “Karthik” I’d introduced myself as Wimpy. Classmates thought I was quite a fool to do that. The way I see it if there was someone with some sense of humour on the other side (6 years later I was to find out that people who took themselves too seriously self-selected themselves to work for Goldman) it would have broken a massive amount of ice. Didn’t work out.

During the same interview process, HSBC asked me about my greatest regret in life. I told them that it was the fact that I’d never been in a relationship. Again, people thought I was being stupid. The way I saw it, I had absolutely no professional regrets, and this one personal regret had been consuming me. In hindsight, though, by saying that I had never been in a relationship I might have sent out a signal that I was a bad marketer, which probably wasn’t something an employer wanted to hear.

As long-term readers of this blog might be aware (I’ve mellowed significantly of late), I’m quite capable of (to use my father’s favourite metaphor) “kicking like a donkey”. Just lashing out without too much evaluation of further consequences. Worked brilliantly at times. Not so brilliantly most of the time.

I don’t know why I’ve been thinking of “systems” such as IIMB a lot nowadays. The “system” tries too hard to make people conform. To make you look like everyone else. I especially loathe the IIM placement process, from both sides (student and recruiter). I think of it as a socialist vestige, where the institute believes that “getting everyone placed” is superior to letting people figure out what tehy want to do.

I think I was secretly happy when yesterday I got a mail from an acquaintance from IIM Shillong stating that placements this year are quite bad and there are no recruiters. It probably serves right people who joined colleges expecting the larger brand name of the college to carry them through, without regard to personal brand equity.

i had thought up this post this morning, but by the time I opened wordpress I’d forgotten what I wanted to write. Remembered it vaguely in the afternoon, started writing and then I see that I’m rambling. Yeah, I guess ramble too much.

One thought on “Being myself”

  1. Let’s differentiate between people that take themselves too seriously and systems / organizations that take themselves too seriously. The former is fine, upto each individual. The latter is an issue if you are “less serious” about yourself than the org is about itself / or others in the org are about themselves inherently or as a consequence of having to survive in the org.
    In essence, the “Fit” that was so widely and loosely used as a selection criteria in campus.

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