Around this time next month, I will be on a plane back to the United States. My future feels bright, if not entirely solidified – at this point, there is a fair chance I may not have a job right when I touch down in the U.S., but will ideally have some final interviews scheduled.
Ironically enough, one of the quotes that stuck with me most this past year was simply pinned to a TCS cubicle in South Mumbai. The quote: “Take risks every day. If you fail, you can guide. If you succeed, you can lead.”
I’m generally weary of taking wisdom from corporate bromides, or anything pinned to cubicles. This particular quote was attributed to an Indian spiritual guru – I forget the name, and even now I can’t find the quote in any search engines (if you can, let me know). I think I was primarily struck by the distinction between “guiding” and “leading” – and how in reflection, so many of my proudest moments here simply came from taking the bull by the horns in day-to-day life.
There was the process of collecting rent money from my roommates every month, dealing with the landlord and ultimately coordinating our lease renewal with a registration agent. I had heard numerous warnings of cheating landlords and dishonest agents in Mumbai, and barring any unpleasant surprises in the next 30 days, I am happy to have navigated these tricky waters. If nothing else, handling landlords in my next city should be a piece of cake.
There was learning to cook with my fellow American roommate, who goaded me into developing some fundamentals I was sorely lacking. I am now moderately self-sufficient – if any of you need a killer chicken salad recipe, shoot me an e-mail.
And of course, there was my job – learning to be patient but persistent, learning how to motivate peers, and then just simply learning how to analyze financial statements and create marketing brochures. I am lucky to have a boss who was very clear in his expectations and very willing to challenge my comfort zone, as well as ambitious teammates who seem to genuinely enjoy teaching me Hindi.
The chance to exercise my thoughts on Project Firefly every month has been instrumental to my India experience, and I am extremely grateful to Daniel, Tamara, and the whole team for establishing such a tremendous platform. I have also appreciated the feedback I have received from readers, both negative and positive. For those who wish to keep reading and responding, I encourage you to check out http://startupbook.co, where some friends and I provide a fair bit of daily opinion, news and resources for entrepreneurial students and young professionals.
I hope this blog has been entertaining, and at least a tiny bit enlightening for those considering working in an emerging market or even just looking for a new career adventure. Feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries, travel tips, or that chicken salad recipe.
Best of luck to all of you!
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