At the beginning of the blog I wish to place a caveat by success I do not imply any tangible artefacts but to those intangibles which truly matter. I firmly believe that careers can only be meaningful when it is engulfed by challenges which push us to the limits. It is these challenges which makes us realise our true worth and distils the essence of qualities such as hard work, commitment, perseverance et. al. in our lives. In this blog I am penning down my journey which meandered through the most unlikeliest paths before SAP happened and sincerely hope my story ensures that the faith is not lost when just about everything looks bleak in one’s career.
I was at crossroads in my career path completely clueless what I wanted to do in life or which career path to choose. As a matter of fact I was even oblivious to the fact career planning does not begin after college but much before in today’s highly competitive world. I could call it my ignorance or more truthfully a lackadaisical approach towards my career and life at large. I guess this approach stemmed from the fact that I was having a rather privileged life and career meant to continue our family business which was into manufacturing. For a good measure I did work for a couple of years in our business but then something didn't feel quite right. I pondered long until the question stared me in my face, would I respect a person more who has achieved based purely on their individual merit and perseverance or a person who has been blessed to have got things as a consequence of the family they are born into.
It was this question which turned everything upside down for me & I made up my mind that I would build my career based on my ability. The choice was made but the future looked murky as I had no clue what to do or which field I should get into. I had no mentor or a guide who would advise me on the direction to take. This meant that the next couple of years went in me enrolling myself into classes of just about any technology which was the latest in the market. In hindsight I now realize the meaning of the saying “When you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn't matter which road you take”. I did courses in Bluetooth, Networking (CCNA, CCNP), Industrial automation etc. One fine day I decided that it would be MBA that would put me on the right career path & so did my MBA in IT. But as things would have it, at the end of it I felt I needed to get a couple of years of working in the trenches in a global corporation before I can aspire for a Manager kind of role.
My confusion on one side and the guilt that I was raking up the bills without actually contributing anything besieged me and made me freeze. In that nadir moment my inner voice spoke and I wanted my career to be a mix of technology and business. During my MBA days I had heard about ERP software’s and so began my research into this field. In a Eureka moment I felt I had found what I had been looking for. My upbringing in a family which was into manufacturing had ingrained the nuances of this domain. I enrolled myself into Production Planning and Materials Management classes as I felt this would be a best fit. I felt unless I subject myself to the hardships I would not learn to value the gifts that I have been bestowed with and hence chose to walk to my class and back which was a good 10 kms walk each day. Like a man possessed I sifted through SAP documentation and made the most of the time I had of system time in trying out what I had studied. I made screenshots of the configurations and transactions, came home & went through those again & again till it became as intrinsic as breathing air.
As my rigorous study and practice sessions went on, I believed it was time to take the plunge and start applying for jobs. Initially I would apply only for one or two openings and wait to hear from them, but the silence from the other side spoke a lot. I then invested my time in understanding the art of resume writing and after much deliberation I finally arrived at the best possible way in putting across what I had done and know. Armed with this new resume I began applying for openings not just in India but in practically every corner of the globe. After a couple of weeks it seemed I was knocking on the right doors as I got a couple of interview calls. But they turned into a nightmare as I felt completely at sea making me wonder if I really did know anything or was I living in a fool's paradise. After a few setbacks I decided not to quit and pursued even harder.
I guess all that effort came into fruition at once, as I got 3 interview calls in a span of 8 days, one from a big consulting firm, another from an end user company and the last from a company in Malaysia. As things would have it I managed to clear all 3 interviews and got selected by all 3 of them. From one deep end to another, life had swung me from nothing to spoilt for choice. I pondered carefully and opted for the assignment in Malaysia as it would give me an opportunity to not just be away from my family and the familiar surroundings which I was so used to but also in a country which was alien to me back then. It didn't occur to me back then that the choice I had made was to transform my life completely giving me an opportunity to travel across the globe, meet some of the finest people and work on some real challenging projects.
Before I get carried away down my memory lane and the blog becomes mammoth I believe it is prudent of me to stop here and leave the rest of it for another blog. I know it is hard to delineate of what is to be included and what to leave when one writes about their experiences, but I have made an earnest attempt to capture the ones which I wanted to share with the SAP community.
As I conclude this blog I must confess that the inspiration to share my story came when I sat in solitude gazing down the vast Grand Canyon valley. I could relive all the images of me struggling through every single step in the initial days till the time I received the Certificate of Appreciation from SAP for being the top contributor and also paying for my certification exam (read my certification story here). I am deeply indebted to SAP not because it helped me meet some of the finest people or for the fact that it gave me an opportunity to travel the globe from Korea on one end to the Wild West in US on the other. But because it made me realize the virtue of Perseverance and Hard work. I feel successful for the fact that I was able to achieve all this not because of my surname or because of recommendation but purely on my own effort.
As I sign off I wish each one of you the very best in your careers and thank you for your time and patience for reading through my story.