I used to party a lot in my last semester. But deep down I had the question of what next to do as I was about to graduate in May 2016. I had already started looking for jobs in October 2015. Most of my work experience until then was from college projects and almost every company required actual industry experience. I knew it was not going to be easy. From my initial applications, I did get some interview calls. The ratio for that I would say would be 250:1. So for every 250 applications, I used to get an interview. I wasn’t able to crack them. Something was going wrong. My spoken English could have been one of the reasons. I started writing and preparing the questions I anticipated. Narrated them to myself and every time I used to improve a bit. I had learned one very important thing in my life. That was being honest to oneself and doing self-evaluation. It was very simple, if things are not going the way you want them, something is wrong. I started with finding the root cause of what was going wrong and started making changes. It is among the 3 Newton’s laws of motion. Nothing changes unless something changes. It is also applicable outside of physics.
It’s a dream of every Mechanical engineer to work for the automotive companies. I was among them and I had focused towards the automotive industry. My seniors, my mentors, they had gone through this drill earlier, so they were guiding me all the time and bearing with my stupid questions. Before coming to the US, I had no clue about the job search. I just knew we get it somehow. But I was unaware of the sweat behind it. My graduation was around the corner and the situation was still the same. In the meanwhile, I discovered that companies prefer local candidates to avoid relocation cost and the associated costs. Being in Florida, there are not many automotive companies or similar industry for mechanical engineers. All the major automotive companies were located in Detroit, the Motor City. I decided to move to the D-town after graduation for job hunting.
My graduation day had arrived. I had decided initially that if I have a job before graduation I would invite my parents for the grad walk. But unfortunately, that was not the case. I felt kind of sad that day, but they watched my grad walk through live stream. (Technology, thank you _/\_) It was raining that day. Everyone was wearing ponchos. But it didn’t kill the spirit. The ceremony was being held in the stadium, “The Swamp” as we Gators call it. The whole stadium was orange and blue. Some of the fellows had decorated their caps. It was a moment of joy and pride. Even walking into the stadium through the dugouts stuffed me with a sense of achievement. There was a strong vibe in the stadium. Parents cheering for their kids, the speech and the oath, the grad walk, one of those moments we live for. The flying caps at the end of the ceremony ensured each one of us that we can fly high and the sky is the limit. In a few days, it was going to be the time I say goodbye to Gainesville. I have had always hated farewells, but this time, it was for ‘paapi pet’.
I moved to Detroit and stayed at my friend’s place. I started learning more about job search after I moved. Apparently, the big 3: Ford, GM, and Chrysler hire through staffing agencies. I started contacting them and the response was good. Got few calls through them. I used to keep applying like a robot. I had created profiles on every single job search platform. I used to update my resume, making small changes just to make it as perfect as possible. Being on a student visa, there is a restriction that we should get employed within 3 months of graduation. I was on the clock and that was the worst part. Every time I used to call home, I had to face one question of “when?” My parents were under stress as well because of the financial situation and I was aware of it, so I understood their point of view. They were very supportive despite the situation. But for me to hear that worry in their voice, was the last thing I would ever want. It wasn’t like I was not trying. My daily routine used to be like waking up at around 7.30ish, get fresh and check emails. Start making calls to the recruiters from agencies to see if they had any positions open or to see if they had an update. I had made several contacts and I had created my own schedule for when to contact whom. After that, as they would go on break, I used to take a break for lunch as well. Then keep applying through job sites until it was evening. Take a short break for recreation. Ping pong used to be a refresher. After dinner, keep applying for jobs again and connect with more people on LinkedIn. This continued for a while.
Until one fine day I was passing by a company and after reaching home I googled the company and connected to a few people from the same company through LinkedIn. I expressed my interest in a position they had open then. There was something different, that I felt when I was commuting for the interview. For me, it was a do or die situation as 45 days had already passed. Also, after giving some interviews I had a do’s and don’ts list. That night I came home. Had dinner with my buddies and went out for a stroll. We used to sit on stairs outside for a while just talking and wondering about how our lives were steering and how it was fucking us. While we were deep in the discussion, my cell phone dinged. I saw an email from the company I had interviewed that day. My heart was throbbing while I was opening that email. They had offered me a position of Manufacturing Engineering. I had watched Pursuit of Happyness quite a few times during my job hunt. I could feel the same feelings and emotions that Chris Gardner must have felt. It was my moment of “Happyness”. I immediately called my parents. I could feel the relief in their voice. There is nothing like it. That evening was a step forward in chasing the so-called American Dream. I will always welcome many more such evenings and afternoons and mornings. To all the people out there looking for jobs, just be honest and sincere about putting efforts. Sometimes you will get lucky but do remember that we create our own luck. You will always have to put a certain level of efforts required for it. And make a note to yourself:
“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you, you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.” ― Pursuit of Happyness