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When I got my first job in a company in 1998, the time was not as bright for me. Since I was enrolled as a student in an academy as well, I had a pretty tight schedule. My classes at the academy extended till morning to about 2-3 pm. I had a ‘no compromise’ policy on my studies, so, I had to attend all my classes daily.
After classes, I went straight to my office instead of home and work there till 8 pm. This period was quite hectic plus challenging for me as I had to keep a tight check on my studies and maintain my position in the office as well.
Despite all the work, I loved every moment of my hustle. Instead of taking it all as a burden, I enjoyed doing what I did as I could see my hard work designing the base for my career. Every second I worked, pushed me a step closer to my dreams, and let me carve my future with my hands only. My morning to 3 pm and 3 to 8 pm schedule was sapping me physically but in return bestowing me with something even better; knowledge. I was earning knowledge, not only in the academy but in the professional environment of the office as well. I knew every moment I spend working is actually a moment I invest in knowledge.
During the 1990s, E-mails were not yet widely used as they are today. Fax and phones were the common communication sources you would found in any workplace. Consequently, I had trouble grasping the concept of emailing and waited for someone to spoon-feed it to me. However, we had only limited computers in our company that too were busy most of the time. This made it even challenging for me to take time and learn this skill. I wasn’t even making any real money out of my job and the only thing I was cashing out was knowledge. I found it a luxury even to avail the computers and work facilities provided at my office to learn and make the most of it.
Regardless of all the odds against me, I pressed on and never gave up.
With all the knowledge I availed over time, all the experience I gained, all the rigorous work I did, I went on to make my company in one year. Every night, I came back home and prepared questionnaires to interview the candidates applying for different vacancies at my company. From chief engineers to masters and deck officers, I had a distinct and detailed list of questions to interview them properly.
I believe that the taste and habits formed in childhood remain unchanged in manhood. You’ll study well, you’ll work well. If you are studying 12 hours a day, in the near future you might be using the knowledge gained to work 12 hours a day. Whatever you feed your mind with today, projects in your actions a few years later. If you love what you study, you’ll probably enjoy putting that knowledge to work.
During the time tide was against me, I was doing several jobs at a time and occupying most of my time working; in the hope to sail across the sea one day. It’s not that I was complaining or regretting anything—not at all. I was slowly rowing my boat, watching warm reflection from the water surface, fish swimming by, seagulls flying over, witnessing the dawn setting, and enjoying every moment of my journey. It was a lovely time really.
I kept going, calling companies across continents for a possible job opportunity. Every day, I used to send a near hundred emails to companies in India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and wherever I saw an opportunity. Even though I received no positive responses most often, I kept telling myself, “This is not the end,” I started next day with the same zeal and enthusiasm, with a hope that at least one call in a thousand will be accepted; a call to my future, a response to all my hard work. The shore may be far, I may be lost today, but if I keep going, keep experimenting with the directions, I will get there. Sure enough, I did one day.
My journey from my first job to my first company may be harsh or challenging, but it’s a journey I can look back at proudly—as I stand at the shore, looking back at the vast sea that I had conquered.