The Weekend Muse

Random thoughts from my daily experiences

Archive for February, 2010

The choices we make

Posted by Shrini on February 17, 2010

I have always laughed at people who, in a fit of nostalgia, wish they were back in school again. They reminisce about the carefree days, the bunked classes, not-so-favourite teachers and old buddies and so on. To me school always meant those horrible trigonometry classes, the avoidable organic chemistry lectures or the never-ending parade in the sun under the watchful eyes of the sadistic PT teacher. And in the end, there was always the inevitable exams followed by the single page nemesis of a report card!

Man! Was I thrilled to break away from this hoodoo and enter the crafty world of Corporate politics!

However, for a political novice like me, who had a reputation, at least during the initial years, for opening my mouth – just to change the feet, life has not been too bad! I may not be at the pinnacle of the corporate ladder, but coming to think of it, given my impetuous decisions, I could have done far worse!

If ever there is a decision I rue, and actually wish, I could travel back in time to change, it was the day I resigned from Citibank! I had spent about 4 years in Collections and after a shaky start, had actually done quite well for myself with a decent posting to Mumbai in a high-visibility role, et al. I loved the city, used to stay on Pali Hill, one of the best addresses in the suburbs and worked in Andheri – which meant I commuted against the traffic! Till date, I am not sure if it was arrogance that I could do better than where I was “struck” or maybe plain fatigue that drove me to start exploring alternate options outside the world of Collections. One of my favorite bosses that I had left behind in Chennai, helped me in my quest for a role in Card Sales – outside the bank rather than within. I wish he had rather pumped some sense into me and made me stay on.

With his help, I got a role as Manager Card Sales for South, in ANZ Grindlays Bank. With prejudice towards none, all I will say is that my stint there was the darkest period of my career. I managed to wriggle out of it quickly though, to a good role with HongKong Bank (HSBC) which lasted 3 years. I got married during this period and my first son was born while I was in Mumbai. Yes… life was good and my only complaint was the Salary account which would be sucked dry by the third week and stay dry till the a fresh infusion of cash happened every month-end.

Those were also the days of the internet start-up and mega-buck buy-outs. Financial tabloids like Economic Times ensured they fed us with enough masala on how young nobodies were turning into millionaires overnight. For a commerce graduate, I have always been Tech-savvy and somewhere along the way, I too was bitten by the internet/IT bug, which I mixed with the desire to go down the path of entrepreneurship to create a concoction that lasted a full six months. It would have lasted longer but for the untimely crash of the NASDAQ (which should have waited till I had made my millions)!

Here I was, desperate to get back to the safety of the Corporate world, when I heard about a company called GE, which was setting up a Operations unit. Frankly, I was not too impressed about working for this “Electric” company, which was putting together a Customer Service team for some of it’s group companies. For an ex-Banker, who had grown on liberal dose of ego and misplaced conviction that only “Line” roles were worth the salary that you get paid for… “Staff” functions were for the “less fortunate”. Nevertheless, my entrepreneurial streak was at a low ebb and this company did seem to have a very plush office. Our discussions lasted over a month, by the end of which, they made me a handsome offer.

While this was happening, I was in the process of rejuvenating my old links with Citi and was successful in getting an offer in the Technology Dept – that of an RM, which was more or less the same level as GE, albeit at a lower CTC. This offer came my way courtesy my ex-Boss, who had helped me exit Citi in the past.

So… here’s was my question… which offer should I pick up – go with GE which was offering a better financial package, or go back to Citi – a “known devil” and correct any error I might have committed by leaving the organization in the first place.

definitely not the end.


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