Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 3-6

We spent all week in induction. On one of the days we were taken to the factory for a visit. It was amazing and heavenly. Being among different flavours of gums and candies was .... like magic. We were also given presentations by department people. I remember one of the ppts... a guy with bad English was presenting. We were riding on our high horses 'coz of our MBA degrees and had a chip on our shoulders. Throughout, we kept making jokes about the presenter and trying to suppress laughter. I think he got the hint and was not too happy.
By then, we had singled out the person none of us would get along with. It was H... he was a loner... did not speak much and so none of us trusted him. During breakfast we were all sitting at the dining table and having our food. Nobody was talking... we were all focused on the food. H singled me out and asked me why I was silent. Everyone noticed this. It seems like a harmless remark but the way it was spoken, it was like he was taking undue interest in me. Everyone started teasing me with him after that day.

By now, we had started harassing the HR to divulge our locations. We were to be shipped off on Friday. Yep, we would be working on Saturday.

But before the locations I need to tell you about a man I met. He was the MD then. I don't remember the first time I met or spoke to him but I do remember every conversation after that. He is short, bald and fat.... and he is the most charismatic man I have ever met. When he entered a room, people noticed... when he spoke, he was so articulate you wished he would never stop... you felt special in his presence... he has the personality that leaders in organizations can only attempt to have. I had read in Sidney Sheldon books about men having 'charisma'... I never understood what the word meant until I met him.

Coming back, one of the days we were cooped up in the conference room with HR and harassed her to tell us our locations. The MD entered and joined the discussion. He asked all of us to name the one location we would never want to go to. This was tricky... either they had already decided the locations in which case it wouldn't matter what we said.... or they had not and our frankness could send us to our hell. Most of us were diplomatic... while some were dumb enough to state their preferences. The HR and MD had a gala time. We also had a detailed discussion on food/meat in North East- dog meat, worms etc. North East as a location was our collective nightmare.

One day before our flights, we were given our locations. And here they are. I don't remember all of them clearly... but...
- Sri Ganga Nagar
- Kanpur
- Orissa
- Siliguri
- Chennai/Bangalore/Trichy
- Dhulia
- Indore
- Coastal Karnataka
- Gujarat

I was going to Bangalore along with A after which we would be sent off to our respective locations in the South. The plan was to shadow a Sales Officer for 1 month and then handle a territory independently for 1 month. We would be informed about the next stint after that.

On reaching the guesthouse we got busy with packing. I had brought everything from home (at that time my 'everything' fit into 1-2 bags... not anymore). I was carrying everything to Bangalore since I didn't know what was the plan next.

At night.. around 9 pm... my then bf came to meet me. He was excited 'coz he was also going to Mysore for a few months. We would be close and meeting up would be possible. I was not thrilled with the news. During the 2 months vacation we had barely kept in touch. It was difficult since my parents are conservative... and he did not have access to e-mail. I had realized that I was in love with the idea of 'love'. This relationship had no future. The hope was that the constant travelling and job in sales would bring a silent death to the relationship. So the news of both of us being in South was not welcome at all. I decided to end the relationship as gently as possible. I had done the hanging on to a relationship earlier and didn't want to do it again. I wanted to be free to experience my job without anything or anyone pulling me down. I had decided to live out of a suitcase for 2 years... decisions and relationships would have to wait until then.
The reason I am writing about this is.... everyone who had a relationship found it a tough path to navigate... some relationships fell away while others survived but after many hardships. And those who were single found it more tough... for 2-3 years, they would have no home or permanent location... where would they meet up girls... date... and find a life partner?

When you commit to a life in sales, many things need to be compromised. You cannot have hobbies or relationships... keeping up with friendships is difficult... and nobody understands this.

The next day we were at the airport for our 6 am flights. We all hugged and patted each other's backs.... like warriors going to battle... who knows what the experience would be like... how many would survive? The test had begun. That was the moment we felt closest to each other. The next 2 months helped us bond further. Who else would understand about 60 calls... about long days and lonely nights... about bad food... unknown languages... travelling on local buses... dealing with distributors in remote towns...

To be continued....

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