Kitna chain hota hai na sachchai mein

“So, tell me – why did you quit your last job within 8 months?”

Finally! This question had to come! I had been preparing the answer for the last 3 months. So it should be a cake walk. But shouldn’t it have anyways been a cake walk, you may ask. After all I was not being asked to explain the theory of relativity, right? There must have been some reason why I quit my job. I just have to state it. How difficult can that be? Unless of course I want to do a David Copperfield and start from the events leading to my birth and narrate the chain of events that eventually lead to my quitting the job!

To answer the question, we need to go back 3 months. A plump lady with double chins is sitting in front of me. “What do you want us to say in your relieving letter – that we are letting go off you or that you are resigning?”

I was still under the trauma of losing my job. I was not sure what to say. Seeing my blank stare, she decided to take initiative on my behalf. “Ok – we will make it that you have resigned. That way it would be easier for you to find a new job. Many companies do not view layoffs too positively.”

I could only nod in agreement. 

Then the job search began. It was peak of recession and there were limited opportunities for a person to be gainfully employed. E-mails carrying resumes disappeared into black holes. Phone companies seemed to have developed a heuristic to cut calls the moment the taboo word ‘job’ was mentioned. The only people interested in me were the sales executives of the job portal whose ever alert noses seemed to have sniffed my increased activity on their sites. Seeing no success from my individual efforts, I finally yielded to their charms and loosened my purse strings to them. While my CV came back, hardly recognizable, decked with all fancy words that made me sound like someone else, the luck with jobs continued to remain the same.

Then I decided to change my strategy and leverage Linked In. I began to look up senior folks in companies in my area of expertise and began to seek introductions through common contacts. This strategy worked and finally I landed an interview. I cleared the recruitment screening and the technical interview. Now I was in front of the business unit head. I had managed to establish a reasonable connection with him and things had gone on smoothly. And then suddenly – this much dreaded question!

Of course I had prepared and practiced it so many times. “My aged parents are not keeping good health. So I wanted to find a job in my home city.”

Simple and elegant, isn’t it? And vague enough to be true in a broader sense! But then was that the truth? Was that why I had quit the job? Or for that matter was it I who had quit my job?

I mean what harm was I doing to anyone with this little white lie? Hadn’t even the GM, HR of my last company suggested I do that? Hadn’t she even given me relieving letter to support my claim? Maybe this is the way of the corporate world. Why do I have to act eccentric and miss out this one opportunity I had got after so much effort? 

I had always prided myself on my truthfulness. Not like I am the paragon of truth or anything. But this was deliberate willful lying for personal gain.

Then again this was but a small lie. In fact it was not even really a lie – just a minor rearrangement of facts – why was it such an issue? Wasn’t I trying to live by unrealistic ideals?

“I wanted to know the reason for your leaving the services of your last employer,” he repeated.

“I did not leave their service. I was retrenched.”

I felt light and carefree as if a load had been lifted off my head. I quickly answered his remaining questions and returned home. I no longer seemed to care if I got the job or not.

 But then problem with any kind of high is that it lasts only for limited period of time. By that night, all the good feeling had evaporated. I was cursing myself for my stupidity. My family would be so disappointed with me. The recession was getting worse. God knows when I would get another interview call. Ideals don’t fill empty stomachs. Well, I have this habit of dramatizing – I had savings to at least keep the wolf from the door. Basic necessities were not going to be an issue. At least not immediately!

The next day my phone rang. Some strange lady was on the phone sounding like one of those call center ones selling credit card. “Is it Mr.K ? “


“Sir – we are happy to let you know that xyz has decided to extend you an offer. Can you please come down to our office and collect your offer letter? “

Phew! I had not been penalized for saying the truth. I don’t know if truth always triumphs. But definitely there are people in this world who value truth. 

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indu chhibber said...

I second you with all my heart.Saying the truth really gives us a high feeling and frees us from doubt and self loathing.

jaish_vats said...

The truth does set us free so often... Well penned TF

Cart Hick said...

Absolutely, Indu.

Cart Hick said...

Thanks Jaish.

Anonymous said...

Did you really hire those resume services? I find their advice is very contrarian....

And LinkedIn is the Monster of yesteryears.

Cart Hick said...

I did Ajesh - deperate times call for desperate measures. And the CV that came back looking like shit - full of buzzwords and adjectives - just the opposite of what I had been taught at B-School.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Much less stress on the mind to tell the truth, yes :) Though, as I have had reason to mention before on my blog, interviews seem tailored to elicit lies Good that you found the exception :)

Cart Hick said...

True, Suresh. Yeah - in this case it did help. Would have been caught with egg on my face if I had lied then as within a year's time I got a better opportunity and relocated to Gurgaon.

Rachna said...

Interviews drive you up the wall. They are mostly tailored to make you lie adeptly. Good that your experience was a pleasant one.

Cart Hick said...

Yeah - that was one interview that turned out well. I am not tuned to lying. So I guess anyways I won't do well even if I tried.

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