During a seminar for MCA students in 2001, I asked thems: “Why did you opt for MCA?” “We will get one hundred thousand rupees when we pass out.” It was surprising that none of them mentioned his innate interest in the subject. A few had a liking for computers. 4 years later, I was on the interview board of a medium sized electronic company and there were more than a hundred candidates for the post of junior programmers. We tried to know what they knew about programming. The vast majority had not applied what they learnt in the text books. Passing the exam was their sole interest and they were not bothered about the practical applications or appropriating the knowledge. The university degree was all that mattered and once the exam was over they forgot most of the theory too. “How much do you expect? We asked those who fared better in the interview. "Will you give Rs3500($70 a month)-?" I was surprised as they had dreamt of Rs100,000/-Why did they come down to less than one- twentieth of what they had dreamt of?
When posed with this dilemma Kerala Participants would answer; “they wanted a job at any cost as jobs are hard to come by.” But was unemployment the real reason for bringing down one’s value? Many of their own batch mates had been absorbed by Infosys, TCS or Wipro at much higher pay. It was definitely possible to get more. But higher salary would always go with higher expectations. One had to invest in oneself to have the courage to ask more. Those who by-hearted the prescribed text a few weeks before the exam and vomited the same into the answer sheets would be diffident and accept any offer. Most of the two years earmarked for the course had been squandered walking around the campus, commenting girls and boys or engaging in silly endless conversations with friends, seeing every movie released, going to the city centre in the evenings in the company of others, or daydreaming. They attended the classes perfunctorily to get adequate attendance and to pass in the personal evaluations by the teachers. Mind was not in the subject, they were not investing in themselves.
During my career as a CEO, I had to interview a number of engineers. We would go in depth to see what they really knew on the subject. After the interview, each of them would be asked for his/her salary expectation. They would ask for a little lower than what we had advertised. Why? The old theory that they wanted a job at any cost does not hold good as we had published the salary. Then? They felt they deserved less. They felt they were not worth the salary the company was willing to pay for the post. From my experience I have gathered that a interviewee would ask more and stick to it if he were confident in himself. These guys with 5-7 years of experience in the construction industry had not invested in themselves: they had not tried to learn what they did, they had not gone into the net to study the latest methods and modes of work, they had not thought about increasing efficiency or cutting down cost. They had not put their heart and soul to do the job with utmost quality and perfection and above all they did not try to grasp all the related aspects of construction and upgrade themselves so that they could handle any responsible position in the industry.
We waste a lot of our time. If we make a simple time analysis of the way we spend each minute in our lives it would be easy to find that of the 24 hours available to us each day, we will be wasting about 3-4 hours or more. This includes time in front of the TV, sitting idle or day dreaming, chit-chatting with friends, boozing, going for movie, or loitering around the city center. Even while we travel we can make use of the time by reading, recollecting, or thinking about our goals. We all invest money in the banks. But how many of us invest in ourselves? Is that not the greatest investment? Let us acquire more knowledge, more skill and more ability in our chosen field. There is no greater crime than wasting our personal time. Invest in ourselves by learning more about what we do or through the net (every knowledge is there) or through a short term course and thus let us empower ourselves and command more pay and perks. Let us equip ourselves so that we are more valuable at the market place and at home. I think we decide our price. And today or tomorrow we will be paid what we are worth.