Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Great Job Hunt....

Thank you for choosing ABC Internet services. My name is Frank may I please have your DSL telephone number so I may access your account.

That was Frank. Nop, not any Frank Sinatra, but the pseudo name under which I worked in my first job. It wasn’t one night at call centre but 6 months in a call centre. The job had it pit falls, but I enjoyed it thanks to my wonderful team and once in a while hilariously moronic callers. The best buddy in my team was a guy called Ramanathan. He was more popularly known as “OK Ramanathan”. That’s because during our training sessions someone told him that Americans like and use the words OK. That was it; Ramanathan used OK as a question, adjective, verb and every other form available n English language. Illustrating that with a sample call.

“Yes you have got the installation disk ok. Now insert it in the drive ok. No no not the floppy drive the CD drive ok..now u have a dialog box appearing with 2 buttons ok button and cancel button ok. Now press the ok button ok”

By this time the whole floor of 70 odd will be rolling with laughter. Ramanathan was this small town boy..very sweet, innocent and naïve. He used to trust everything I say. Take this for example...

It was our first team meeting and the lead asked us in to introduce ourselves with our eating, drinking habits. One of our teammates stood up and introduced himself as a teetotaler. Poor Ramanathan had no idea about what the term teetotaler meant and as luck would have had it, turned around and asked me what it was. And I being the most chronic liar around kept a straight face and defined it as someone who drinks only tea. It was another story that Ramanathan found that teetotaler teammate drinking filter coffee in cafeteria and had a small argument after which both thought the other one was the biggest jerk in the team. I loved team building you see.

Most importantly - I and Ramanathan where partners in crime. We used to search for job and attend interviews together. One fine day I saw a newspaper ad calling for “young fresh graduates”, salary may reach up to 50,000. I was totally into it. Took the paper cutting and when to work the next night[err...or was it morning..I was in the 1 AM to 10 AM shift, so it was pretty confusing]. Ran to the floor n screamed out Ramanathan’s name…by mistake screamed out his pseudo name…which was harry…so there I had some 20 Harry’s standing up and asking “hey dude wassup”. Then caught hold of 'Ok' Harry and in the pantry showed him our passport to paradise…at once we went to a dream land ..what we can do with 50k, though now I realize that we cant do much with a salary of 50k+ .

The next morning sacrificing our sleep we went to the interview of this dream job…we had a tough time finding the office. Finally the office or the bungalow, which had the office, was found in a less inhabited part of annanagar. The bungalow was an eerie looking one right out of the ramsay brother movies. We hesitated for a second but then we were determined that even if its going to be the secretary of count Dracula we are gonna take it up. It’s a matter of 50 thousand. And anyway every MNC sucks our blood.

As we entered the bungalow we noticed that there were cardboard cartons lying all around the premises. In what looked like a reception with some dusty sofas there was this man in formals and tie. He gave us a suspicious look and welcomed us in. We showed him the paper cutting and said we wanted to meet the HR of the company. He made us sit on those dusty sofas and went in to call someone.

We both were thinking about the HR of this booth bungalow and also imagining what we can do with the 50k per month. I had almost slept off when out of the blue a very beautiful lady came and stood there. No...beautiful is not the word to describe her she was simply stunning and for a second looked like one of those Ravi Varma’s painting had come alive…She wore a light blue business suit with huge ear rings and I had doubts if this is some mohini from the booth bungalow… But she had legs …and what do we say sinfully beautiful,would have suited her the best.I was totally smitten and dumbstuck by her beauty and grace. She came towards us and introduced herself. She was anupama..anu..I tried my best to speak to her but didn’t know why all my attempts to talk only ended with release of air from my larynx.

Ramanathan had to elbow me very hard and bring me back to normalcy. She was the head of that place and took us to her room. The room was to say the best in that haunted house. It had good furniture and was airconditoned, she asked a few questions about us for which I stuttered, stammered and finally answered. For the next 15mins she was speaking…ot that’s what I thought she did because her lips were moving. I was lost in my world of trance looking at her and dancing to some bollywood number in swiss with her…What was that..yeah something from Jodi no:1 I was a chronic Govinda fan then.

My dream sequence was abruptly cut due to a telephone call she received. Once she went out of the room there was a barrage of thrashings from Ramanathan’s resume file. He made me realize that the lady was speaking about ‘job’ but never mentioned what it was all about. That stuck me, I stood up went out the room [BGM: Maddy..maddy..] and when I was just about to demand her the nature of job..she turned around..and gave that beautiful smile…and the dynamite which was ready to blast got drenched in a bucket of water. Spoke about the beautiful office and its antique value for 10mins without bothering the glares of my dear pal Harry.

Later on annnuuu asked us to shift the cardboard boxes into a cab, now I came back to my senses, imagined if that was the job. So collected all my guts, closed my eyes and asked her what was the nature of this job. She said me it will be explained as we go in the cab. Ramanathan and me shifted some 10 cardboard boxes and then sat into the cab. The cab journey was awesome..imagine an old battered ambassador on a rickety road and me sitting next to the girl who looks like a painting ..well... was one of those unforgettable bumpy rides.. .then she explained the job’s merits..like how it can pay us 50k and at times people make 2-3lacs out of it. Finally our halt came in a small juice shop.

She requested us to get the boxes down and open them…Lo!! There lay our job..blocks and blocks of………. books. Yes it was Britannica encyclopedia. We sell it all around Chennai city and we would get Rs.1000 for every book sold..and selling 50 books per month in Chennai you know is a very simple task. Ramanathan was almost in tears now and me well dunno how to explain.. ‘Ginger eaten monkey’ would be the best way to explain. We delivered those boxes to some representatives in ties there and started back.

On the return journey I explained my dream girl about how impossible it is for techies like us to take that ‘marketing’ job. Not a one to give up she gave an example of her cousin who dumped his BE and now earns 3 lakhs per month. Also informed about the marketing training course which they will provide us for handling the job. I was thinking about the training in middle of nungambakkam high road and then in residential flats…imagine me selling the book in one of my ex’s house…or worst case imagine my mom closing the door on my face…gosh!! Pretty scary I say. Told her I will get back and got her mobile number…made sure I added it to the filtered numbers list as soon and then bid a goodbye with heavy heart.

Well at times I wish what if I had taken that job, but then life is all about choices and my dear friend Ramanathan chose never ever to attend an interview along with me.


Sindhu :) said...

Gosh :))

Good thing your friend was by your side.. if not, going by the way you say you were smitten by that girl - you would have prolly ended up taking up that job only because you could see her everyday :D :D

Sindhu :) said...

And who knows? Maybe even you would be making 3L per month now - courtesy, Inspiration from 'you-know-who' :D :D :D

Nautankey said...

Sindhuji may be I would have got 3lacs per month or who knows got something better..you-know-wat :P but then i was not ready for the job as I knew too many people in this city where I am born n bought up..cant imagine the scene were folks from bus,car,bikes wud wave a hi to me from signal when I am selling books in the middle of the road :)

Nautankey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth said...

I was hanging on every word, your story telling is descriptive and entertaining. Do you still have a lot of door-to-door salespeople in Chennai/India?

We just had a Kirby vacuum salesman come to our farm house last week, and I was startled! Hardly any salespeople go door-to-door here now, well I don't know about cities. This chap wore a shabby flannel shirt and jeans, was very pushy and wouldn't accept my 'no I don't need a vacuum' and I saw two other guys sitting in the front seat of his ramshackle vehicle. I started to get not only annoyed, but afraid. Thankfully my husband was home, over by the barn. I finally said, 'do you want to talk to my husband?' - and suddenly the guy hopped back in the car and they took off. Later we Googled Kirby sales practices, and sure enough, these guys were probably legit!

At least I'm guessing you might have worn a nice shirt and slacks if you'd taken that job. Maybe to impress the potential customers, and maybe to impress Dream Girl.

Tarun Goel said...

The teetotaler defintion was absolutely perfect :)
The six month in a call cenetre was really good

Nautankey said...

There are sooo many salesmen around. And if its a Saturday we just can idle time away..there is one coming almost every hour seling the weirdest of stuff,probly can write a post on them :)

Nice to know about your very rare salesmen encounters...Lucky you.

And nice shirt and slacks even now I have to wear :).. could have impressed my dream girl but then my career wud have became a nightmare :)

Nautankey said...

Thanks...and sometimes I wish shud have stayed in the call center.very eventful life it was :)

Prasad said...

can i hav the number of the gal plz :D :D

Praddy said...

you shud have taken that job atleast for Anu :D:D lol

Nautankey said...

sorry rejected piece :P..she is damn good in brainwashing people you being a hevy duty dude will surely not fit for the job profile..so beware!! :)

Thanks for the advice and thanks that you were not near me during that time..LOL :P

swashbuckler said...

man!! u gave up 3 lacs and anu.. could have tried atleast for one of those (i'll let u decide which one!!) :D

Nautankey said...

Anu looked like an easier catch.. for 3 lacs..hmmm..taking into consideration the thrifty chennai folks...I shud only kidnap kids and threaten their parents to buy the book :)

Aaarti said...

Gosh.. and u would have been one of those guys i polite refuse saying "NO Thanks, stop badgering me"... :)
[can only imagine what it would be like to sell those books to namma chennai makkal... shoo shoo is all i hear...]

i hope u put her mobile number to good use ;)

Nautankey said...

Oh thank god :)..yeah some dont even shoo away treat them like some kinda vermin..after that incident one thing was I treated sales poeple with some respect..and istead of I dont want can you get out..it became I am not interested can u plz take leave :)

Good use? No way i was pretty sure one more caht with her I wud end up takign that job :) so kept off

Rauf said...

That isn't much of a painting but Dhamayanthi is a quite a looker, i can imagine those long legs wearing a business suit with humongous ear rings touching the floor. Why didn't you offer her a better job ? Carry a camera with you always Nautanki. Why didn't you ask her the names of Lallu Prasad's children ? if you can't name them you don't deserve to sell encyclopaedeae, can't even spell the damn thing.
Cycle ka pedal is easier
i ask questions to the people who come to my door selling those cycle ke' pedals.
What is the capital of Peru ?
What ! you don't know ??
How dare you sell those cycle ke' pedals ?

i have a ball with call centre employees.
press one press 2 press three press one again
press 4 for coffee press 5 for tea
press 8 for an explosion
Am i talking to a human ?
EEEEEEE yes sir
are you sure ?
yes sir may i have your name and telephone number please ?
what ? My name and telephone number is there on your screen.
(calling Airtel)
am i talking to a human ?
yes sir
well i am not sure would you please sing along with me ooo laa lalala la la la laaaaa ?
Now she is relaxed.
this is my problem
they panic easily poor things
most of them are trainees.

i offer 500 crores to the banks who call me to offer loans
Well i can give you with very low interest.
besides i can take free pictures
which bank is it ?
Deutsche Bank sir
deah oh deah !! haven't they trained you how to pronounce it ?

i am evil Nautanki

Nautankey said...

Thank god I did not take up the salesman job and even better did not have you as a customer to deal with :))

I have got that 'is it human' question many times..but then in our system just before we take the call an automated voice keeps the customers in loop...so cant blame them. And ofcoz there are many who call n say i don't wanna speak with an indian :).. Wud feel like asking back how abt a filipino then :P
well actually handling naughty/evil customer is better than handling the abusive ones :)

Anonymous said...

See people like me spice up call centre execs :D

Bedazzled said...

ha ha ha.. that was a good one ..the woman in blue was devil in disguise trying to recruit poor unsuspecting engineers into selling encyclopedias and papads... come to think of it , somebody tried to sell me an encylopedia a week or so back and i almost banged the door on the guy cos he kept ringing the bell non stop..people will do anything for 50k ,i guess

Nautankey said...

Well well...thanks for ur service but many times we get spicy customers who r tough to handle :)

Nautankey said...

That was seriously a very narrow escape :)..and the 50k comes with a * mark..conditions apply!! only if there is a sale they get..most of the times getting 5k is a struggle.

Vignesh Dhakshinamoorthy said...

Dude, i liked your experience..it was those that might come in movies...We can have Surya going to this place and some gorgeous female-lead on the other side...the guy takes up the job for her...it's a nice script for a movie man...
Btw, your language inspired me very much....You are too good at articulation...