Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Confessions. And News.

It was the first semester of IIT. Actually the start of the second semester. I had gone to collect my first semester grade sheet from my course adviser. I had managed an average, not-too-flashy-but-not-too-bad SGPA/CGPA of 6.6. (This was to prove to be the highest SGPA I ever scored, a fact I did not know at that point of time, but that is another story). Which was kind of uplifting, and kind of depressing. Uplifting because I had not put in much effort during this first semester, and depressing because my pre-major totals (PMTs) had been among the top quarter of my class, and hence a GPA of 7.5-8 did not seem too much away. Before I blew the majors, that is.

The course adviser is the professor who is supposed to monitor your academic performance, and counsel you on your courses. My course adviser was the coolest professor in the campus. Imagine WG Grace shrinking to 5'6" and a 100 kilos. That was my course adviser. He had a long grey unkempt beard, a round belly, and teeth that had been spoiled from long years of smoking. He was not even 60, but he looked 80. He used to enjoy his smoke, and smelled of cigarette too. What really set him apart was his open buttoned shirt, which exposed his white vest more often than not. When he talked, words seemed to get caught in his WG Grace-ish beard, and you really had to pay close attention when he was speaking to understand him. But it was a treat to talk to him. For, he was one of the smartest persons I have met, and one-on-one discussions with him were like embarking on a river of philosophy and electrical engineering. Not like I did follow the second path much. Me being me. I totally respected him, and my respect for him only grew when an accidental browsing through the history of his office's computer took me and the other students to literotica.com. :D

So well, I was there with the professor. He had not really offered any radical advice to anyone else. He looked at my grade sheet, and said "6.6 - that is not really good enough." Then he smiled showing his crooked teeth, and said the words which have haunted me ever since, "You should quit IIT." I was stunned, and asked him why. To which his answer was something on the lines of I would not be able to do well here. And when enquired upon why he thought so, he told me, "Because you have to really work hard in IIT, and I do not think you will be able to do that." And I said, "Then what should I do". And he replied, almost nonchalantly, smiling at me, "You have cleared JEE, the toughest exam in the world. You can make money in anything you do. Join Politics, and you will make money there. Just quit IIT." And I said I would think about it, but in my heart I knew, I did not have the guts to give it all away, the future that an IIT degree promised.

And so I stayed. I flunked some courses, and did badly in others, but even my bad results could not motivate me to work harder on my studies. Having had it easy in my academic life beforehand, I believed just my ingrained academic ability will be able to carry me through. However, in academics, unlike arts/sports, pure talent is nothing unless corroborated by hard work. The fact that my talent for learning counted for nothing in my courses made me hate them even more. My CGPA feel from 6.6 to 5.75 within the course of the four years. On the other hand, I worked hard, really hard in other aspects of hostel life. But those required a right-brained talent, while I was more left-brained. So I ended up caught up somewhere in between. A low GPA, an above average but not dazzling co-curriculars. And just realised that I had made a mistake not leaving IIT when I could easily have. My life was going nowhere, and I thought of a bleak future.

And then I took CAT. The exam was easily crackable (to use a popular Joka term), and it inculcated a feeling in me that management degree, finally, would have courses that asked for more inborn talent than hard work. Either you are a born manager/leader or you are not, I thought. And I could not have been wrong. The realization that I had made a second successive mistake, depressed me. My grades again suffered, and the depression also made me quit pursuing other co-curricular activities. I had a low GPA, and I did not have anything else to show during my two year stay. I was also too much of a pussy to quit, even though I knew nothing was going my way. The future promised too much. I was royally screwed, and was actually wondering about what to do.

When this interview for my current job happened. It passed by a haze because I was drunk, but by the end of it, I was able to crack it because of my potential than anything else. And so I thought maybe consulting and my job would be where I might be able to pass through with my potential than an over reliance on hard working, something I have never been able to do, and now I am confirmed, I will never be able to do. I was getting some decent money and the future looked great. But I was wrong again, and after an initial honeymoon period, I realised I was going nowhere in my job, just like my IIT and IIM experiences, and it was because I could not really work hard.

But, this time I am not being a pussy for a change. I am quitting, and I am telling it to everyone. I will do something I like from now on, and which maximizes my potential. And which does not involve too much hard work. Dear Course Adviser Sir, may you be happy. It has come eight and a half years too late, but it has come as a result of your talk that day. Fuck the hopes of a better future. It is the present that matters. And I am happier now, than I have been in the past nine years. Quitting is a nice feeling.

K to consulting and to IITs and IIMs and their "easy, non-related to the courses" selection processes.

All I wanna do is analyse random data and analyse it to come up with arbit frameworks. Or maybe join politics, and aid parties with data analytics. Or maybe just write random articles on business. Please follow this space for more.

20 comments:

sanjay said...

hey, you may not know me, i am from Ara-2004 :-) ... i have been following your blog since long time because your posts touch heart in more than one way. And i appreciate your guts to finally follow your heart than mind and just wanted to wish you best in anything that you attempt.q

zubin said...

@Sanjay: I do know you. And thanks for your wishes :)

Witness said...

Wow.dat's being brutally honest.do i see that book coming:)

FatBoySlim said...

Congratulations Zubin on finally taking a decision due for a long time.

Rachit said...

K to the the world.. K to the fishes in the deep blue sea... K to you and me

Abhinav Sharma said...

it is a very honest comment on the kind of education and courses that we have at the IITs/IIMs (1-2 exceptions not withstanding), very well put....

zubin said...

@Shweta: Thanks. Maybe, keeping fingers crossed.
@Fatter: Thanks. Long time?
@Rachit: K to you man, and Investment Banking. And K to Ganja.
@Abhinav: Thanks mate!

Rohan said...

Agree - K to consulting..

Anonymous said...

hahahaha...dude loved it...Killing in the name of ...

Anonymous said...

9 years??..n y the hell hav i bn wondering all my life that IITians and now IIMites are aliens with FAT brains???.......now i see the light! ;)

arts said...

Errata
Pure talent doesn't mean anything in sports. you have to work hard.
You said you were mostly "right brained" in a completely dedicated post. right?

Atish said...

dude... adding on to the comment made by arts - "arts' too does require hard work.. more talent than being an i banker or a consultant for sure.. but picasso drew like a shit ton of boring pigeons and portraits of his family members and landscapes with hills and sea before realizing that drawing like a child which doesnt make any sense to normal people and calling it cubism is the real deal :D

bravo.. and good luck !

zubin said...

@Rohan: Yeah, K to consulting!
@Ari: Aur koi gaana nahin aata kya?
@Anony: IF IIMites and IITians are fat headed, who is smart? You?
@Aarti, Atish: I still dont agree. While you have to work hard, the talent is there for all to see, even without the hard work. Only Messi and Picasso could do what they could, no amount of hard work can replicate that. As for the work we do, its a totally different story. U misunderstood my point.
@Aarti: The result of the test I took was that I was right brained. I still believe I am positively left brained though, and the post was about the conflict.
@Atish: Thanks! Need loads of it.

Atish said...

I guess I did misunderstand you in parts. and yes you are right in saying that what you and I do can be easily replicated by hard work. at the same time i feel that in arts and sports, the ones that are 'successful' are the ones that work their ass off even if talent is easy to see.

my view is that most of the things that people do (business, IT, manufacturing, marketing...) are by nature formulaic and follow processes once they have been discovered and brought to maturity. hence most of the stuff we do is not that hard and doesnt require much 'talent'
however i think that success in these areas are defined by how efficiently, quickly, easily, independently ... (you get my point, right?) you can get it done.

some people have an innate ability to understand and execute these functions and might not require an engineering or a b school degree to do so. even after the same education and same amount of hardwork, different people just have different abilities to do these tasks and hence are perceived as more or less 'talented'. doesnt mean that it cant be replicated. it can. but the 'talent' factor is there. to a lesses extent than in arts and sports maybe but it is there.

My point - talent is more easily visible to us in a Messi / Jimmy Page (btw in music (Rock, I mean) you require talent AND dope) than in a big shot consultant who has kicked ass for the last 10 years and has earned a shit ton of money.
And i might also tend to agree that success is
f(x1* talent, x2 * hard work, role) such that x1 + x2 = 1 and x1>x2 if role = sports/arts

sorry for spamming this space :D

Phoenix said...

One month, still following this page. Hoping for news, and also wondering if I should get inspired? :)

Pankaj said...

Hey zubin ?... kuch yaad aaya? kahaan hai?

sudhir said...

All the best Zub.Also please complete the Mahabharat :)

zubin said...

@Atish: What spam man. And I do not know, except that consulting sucks! Big time.
@Phoenix: Have been too busy to update anything. Hopefully in two weeks will write more regularly.
@Pankaj: Nahin yaad nahin aaya. :D. Sorry, which Pankaj is it again?
@Sudhir: Thanks, and yeah I will. In my own sweet time.

Shalabh said...

I already know this, of course, but all the same, great post and good decision. All the best!!

Shubh said...

Amazing post and congratulations!