10 years back.

I had just landed in Hyderabad, excited to start my first job. I arrived during the weekend. I was supposed to start on Monday. Remember this was my first job. I was a 6 pointer in college. I was optimistic. My CTC was 5 LPA. It was a startup, and Hyderabad was cheap, so I was looking forward to a fresh start.

A few hours after I landed, I got an email saying my offer letter was being rescinded because I did not report to the office on time.

Imagine going to a new city. Crashing at your friend’s place. Hoping to move to your office provided accommodation with almost 0 bank balance. Just enough to survive the first month before I could be independent and did not have to rely on my parents.

Excited to begin your new job, only to see your offer revoked, because the HR did not follow through on my request to let me join on the original joining date. They had randomly decided to prepone our joining date at the last minute. I was in Thailand then. Had taken the decision to travel after my college ended. And I could not just come back by the new joining date. I ended up spending a lot of money doing Rs 50/min roaming calls explaining to the HR why it was unfair to expect us to join at a different date at the last minute, felt I had convinced her, but I assumed that her verbal agreement meant they would not go back on their words. Sadly, it turned out that verbal yes does not mean anything. The HR later said that they had never ack’ed on the email and hence they had the right to revoke the offer.

My learning was to never assume anything in life.

That incident started my obsession with communication and better documentation.

If you go through my blog there are dozens of posts on everything from closing a decision to how to post a slack update to how to highlight the decision maker in a meeting.

Lack of clarity, verbal comms, keeping things at a high level, always work for the person in power. Because the interpretation will always be based on what they want.

You might even remember my post ‘Join for the present’ on choosing a job. No verbal sales pitches. 

The bigger lesson for me was how you can always recover from the worst situations in life. I had some personal issues before moving to Hyderabad. I was hoping to leave everything behind and start fresh. Only to lose my only job offer. I used to wander around in Hyderabad thinking how I would tell my parents. My parents and relatives all thought that studying in BITS meant I would be sorted for life. I never got the job offer they had hoped for. It was only a job at a no name startup paying me 5L a year. But even that was taken away. Their son would be jobless. I was depressed for the first week. 

But it was also freeing. I had done sales as an intern. I thought why not do that. After the first week I felt better.

Eventually I got the offer back and joined that startup. I used my contacts in BITS to push the company to honour their contract. The Placement Committee head was a close friend. We could have banned the company from even coming for placements.

Starting my career from a position like that gave me a lot of confidence that things would eventually be alright.

When the startup split into two startups, I joined the far smaller one. I got much better work. Learned a lot as a first time developer. Couple of years later I realised I did not want to continue as a developer. So I left.   I left my developer job even before I found a product role. I got my first product job during my notice period as a developer.

I left another job when I felt it was not going in the right direction. Just cold quit. Inspite of knowing that if I had stayed even a month more I would  have got an offer on paper that doubled my CTC (they gave this offer to everyone who stayed back, not just me). I learned to live with the uncertainties of life. Not take anything for granted. 

Know that the job market is just a marketplace. We trade our skills for pay. Some HR process gap might lead you to lose your job a day before your joining. Don’t take things personally. Just keep working hard and things would be alright.