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I put myself into the job
Story of role-model Vishnu Agnihotri
Vishnu said, ' got 11th rank in 10th exams. I arrived without studying too hard. This led to my downfall.
DPS, RK Puram, was the epicenter of entrance competitions.
I joined here.
Unused to discipline, I ignored the topics that did not interest me.
I ended up in a B.Sc. Math program as a result.
It hurt that 70 of my DPS classmates were now in IIT.
I woke up.
I made it to IIT next year. Alas! I went off to sleep again.
In IIT, I learnt to play the guitar, read many books, became the hostel literary secretary.
I did not study much and had grades to prove it.
I realised, I was good at talking to people. I was good at organising things. Getting into details.
But I did not value it, as a job-worthy skill.
The IAS officer inside me wanted to come out. Friends said, if you take up an easy job after graduation, you can also prepare for Civil Services.
I joined SAIL at Bhilai steel plant. Parents couriered the entrance study material to me.
Soon after starting studies, I met a senior, who once-upon-a-time was a JEE rank holder.
The equation was clear enough. If you add even 3 years of preparation to a JEE Rank 20 guy, there is still no assurance of IAS.
I dropped my IAS plans.
I did not enjoy my work. It did not occur to me, I have to put myself into it, to enjoy it.
One day at work -
A crane broke down 30 feet above the ground.
I did not know the tech. Workers knew better. I coordinated the logistics and kept my boss posted. Our HOD patted me on the back soon after, for a job so well done.
At that time, I ignored the praise.
To me, only intellectual brilliance mattered. Maybe, Academics can be my forte. I thought.
I sat at home to prepare for studies abroad.
With so many hard knocks, I finally began to rethink, if my IIT-certified brilliance was an automatic pass to success.
I was at my lowest.
Thinking back to the crane incident, I wondered, if work can be these simple things also? Maybe, it is not always about intelligently solving a differential equation :)
I decided to look for a decent job and try to give it my best.
Working for Feedback Ventures became the turning point of my professional life.
I was good at synthesising information, asking questions, communicating elegantly. I had a good mentor. Most importantly, I put myself into the job.
I did consulting for a few years then moved to Malaysia for another few. Then back to IT in Bangalore. I did well as I played to my strengths and learnt whatever new things I had to.
Then, I developed an itch.
I wanted to do something useful for others. I did a 3 day course in counselling at Banjara academy and loved it. This was 2004.
I had stayed in touch with my IIT batchmate, Sridhar Rajagopalan. I joined EI with him.
Since then, I have been in the development sector.
I co-started Genwise to work with school students for the last few years;
We offer specialised programs for gifted school students, mentor teachers.
Working in education, I have found myself.