Sunday, January 06, 2008

Rat Race Version 1.0

Before I begin, I'd like to state that in the months during which this blog has seen less action than a monk on a vow of celibacy, there have been two significant developments that have contributed to these words being put before your eyes today.

One is my new-found appreciation of the value of the strategic capitalisation of letters of the alphabet that contributes a significant, if small, increment to the viewing ease (notice that I say 'viewing' and not 'reading') of continuous paragraphs of text such as this. The other is a little something called a New Year's resolution. Admittedly, it's not much of a resolution to agree to commit sufficient time to come up with one blog entry a month but I do happen to believe that what I write will be better than a lot of crap that I've read at comparable fora, so there's an implied, if somewhat self-indulgent guarantee of quality, in addition to the aforementioned regularity. Which is more than I can say of any such half-assed promise I've ever made.

The issue I'm dealing with now is of the expectations I have from the recruitment process at National Law School. Mention, however, is necessary of the fact that the subject-matter isn't entirely of my choosing, in fact, this entry is quite a dedication. There's probably only one person in the world who has understood what I meant by that, which is how I'd like it to be.

In terms of time spent, I am a month into the second half of my life here at law school (and quite a half-time interval it was, I gather) which would ordinarily be sufficient cause for a quiet reminisce, a nice dinner somewhere or liberal doses of alcohol, depending on what kind of crowd you fit in with. Un/fortunately, it has also heightened the objectives of most people regarding why they came here to begin with and what with some fairly outrageous training contract carrots that it may be assumed will be dangled in front of us twelve months from now, several people, some noticeably, some even more noticeably have embarked on poorly concealed campaigns of CV-building and/or CGPA assaults on the top-end of class (I exempt myself from neither category, for the current purposes.)

I've thought about these happenings a lot of late and it has significantly influenced what I think the recruitment process should be about. Going solely by the fact that the title would be terribly cool, I'm going to call these "Ego's Ten Commandments":

1. Thou shalt have free and fair elections.
You're deciding/significantly impacting the future of the entire class. Let people be given the chance to elect someone to the recruitment committee who they think will best represent interests.

2. Thou shalt not impose any open disclosure bullshit.
Letting people hold offers and then have to make a decision is infinitely better than forcing them only to act upon offers either on a first-come-first-serve or a if-you-break-it-you-buy-it basis. In either of these situations, open disclosure doesn't raise potential salaries, it raises potential rivalries.

3. Thou shalt let the firms decide.
Recruiters come to recruit because they think they will have access to everyone who is going to pass out with a degree. Artificially restricting their market to people to eliminate people already considering other offers would be a little unfair in that sense. They come to recruit thinking that they are gaining the chance to approach the best in the country. Why disappoint them?

4. Thou shalt learn from thy predecessors' mistakes.
There will be a LOT of them. Trust me.

5. Thou shalt love thy neighbour.
Or best friend. Or girlfriend. Or roommate. Or whoever else it is who wants your job. Please be happy for other people. They've been good enough to get where they are after (what will be) the better part of five years. Or at least known how to crack an interview.

6. Thou shalt emphasise brevity in representation.
Everything from meetings to showcauses to CV writing should be laden with the value that there are many ways of saying things. The quicker they are said, the quicker we can all get what we want and cut.

7. Thou shalt not cheat.
It's the worst way of representing yourself to the outside world. What have you learnt if, on a list of "selected and relevant" achievements/activities, all you're doing is lying or putting down something that you know, hand-on-heart, you didn't work for/is not true? Someone who didn't have much of a CV once told me, "Anyone who has a CV longer than two pages is faffing." Inadvertantly, he'd said everything.

8. Thou shalt act mature.
It's a matter of pride, if nothing else. To the employers, it gives an impression of professionalism and focused attention. To batchmates, it offers a chance to perhaps rethink some hastily-made
judgements and take back some uncharitable things said. To juniors, it sets an example of how it should be done. Not the worst thing in the world.

9. Thou shalt, at a holistic level, believe that everything will be alright.
We are in a position which a lot of people our age only dream of. And while angst is so prominent here that it's cool, there's a lot of solace as also actual truth to be found in the fact that there's enough out there for everyone to consider themselves successful, without pulling this one's confirmation letter or abusing that one for taking an opposing stance at a recruitment meeting.

10. Lastly, (and this one may be the most important of all) under no circumstances shalt my better-known roommate be right about anything.

I have spoken.

I've always wanted to say that.

I'm not sure if there's a point to this story but I'm going to tell it again.

My photo
I've been wilfully caught up in the self-defeating quest to get to know myself for years. I've never expected anything beneficial to result from such a quest. I tend to evoke extremely polarised reactions from people I get to know in passing. Consequently, only those people who know me inside-out would honestly claim that I'm a person who's just "alright." It's not a coincidence that the description I've laid out above has no fewer than, title included, eleven references to me (make that twelve). I'm affectionately referred to as "Ego." I think that last statement might have given away a tad too much. Welcome Aboard.

IHTRTRS ke pichle episode mein aapne dekha...


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