After I got the results of my CA Final examination in February, the next worry was finding a job. In the past, I had only worked at my dad's office, and so, I had never opened myself up to the job market before.
I spoke to tons of people, got a lot of advice and submitted my résumé everywhere. I was eager to work in one company in particular - a big four auditing and consulting firm. However, the number of attempts I took to clear the examination was a problem, and the HR of that company was extremely unkind about it.
CA is a professional examination, and there are a lot of reasons why a candidate can fail, apart from not answering a paper well - 'luck' being the most prominent one. Companies in India, despite knowing that fact extremely well, will do everything to see that a candidate who has taken more than a certain number of attempts, never gets hired.
I tried following up with that HR, but she never responded. How rude, right? But a few weeks later, I realized that she was only doing her job. Her manager would have given her a particular list of requirements that a candidate had to fulfill, and she had to follow what she was told.
So, if it wasn't the HR employee's fault, then whose was it? It is the mentality of people in the top management, including those in HR! Why is that? In any organization, change starts from above and trickles down. It is only the top management who can abolish the rule of hiring a candidate who has "cleared within 3 attempts". "Try and try until you succeed" isn't something that Indian companies care about at all - if you don't succeed soon, you'll be ridiculed for trying.
Strangely this takes place only in India, and is not something that companies should be proud of. I've watched a number of YouTube videos of Indian Chartered Accountants in other countries, who say that not a single hiring manager asked them about the number of attempts they took to clear the exam, mainly because it is a professional examination. Some candidates in the US/Canada take years to clear the US(CPA), which is much easier than the Indian CA, and yet, after clearing they are promoted, not ridiculed.
A month into the job search, I could feel myself slowly slipping into depression - I had lost interest in things that gave me joy, I felt bored when I met friends with whom I would blabber for hours in the past, I felt ashamed each time someone asked me whether I found a job, and I had started to break down at random times during the day.
A few weeks ago, I remember having the worst day possible - I felt like the most worthless creature on the planet, despite achieving my dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant. I cried a lot, berated myself and it frankly felt like all was over. At such a time, one feels like nothing good will ever happen again, but it is also at such a time when one has to learn to pick themselves up and keep trudging on.
When faced with failure or rejection, one has two options :
1. To mope around and enjoy the pity party.
2. To keep trying. To continue one's pursuit of finding their true reason of being alive.
My attempts at trying to join that big four company, made me realize one very important thing - maybe it isn't worth joining a company that made me feel like a nobody. Maybe those doors were being shut in my face because I wasn't meant to be there in the first place. Maybe instead of continuing to bang on their door hoping to be let in, I should leave a 'thank you' note and move on.
And that's exactly what I did - I decided to stop applying to companies where I knew I wouldn't fit in or be valued. I decided to show myself some love, and finally realized that I am deserving of respect no matter the number of attempts I took to achieve my dream.
I've been the happiest person since that day, mainly because I didn't let a job (or the lack of it) define my worth. I have started studying again, and I will continue to seek my dream job, knowing well that the right door will be opened for me, at just the right time.
Know your worth, keep trying and never settle!
Thank you for reading! Stay blessed!
Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash.