Fresher’s Dilemma

The first day on the Job is similar to the first day in a Relationship or your first day at School, for most of the times you don’t have any idea what you are getting into. On the first day, any first day, we’re expected to live by the rules and customs of the culture we’re entering, but we don’t know those rules and customs just yet. You’ve heard it a million times: First impressions are important. It’s human nature to make assumptions about unfamiliar people. In other words, people tend to sleep a little easier when they’ve decided exactly what ‘type’ of person you are. Before I get into the experiences of my first day at Job, let’s go back to the college.

Rewinding a lil, back to the days when I was still at college, it was all about self-discovery, beer, learning (not the academic stuff), beer, making lifelong friends, beer, love in between, beer, planning for the future, boundless energy and beer :). Most of us have been there and done that and yet there is nothing more lyrical in life than the last few days of college. You know that you have a great new life, exams (trust me, the last exams are the least you care for and sometimes it brings a lot of trouble for you) and mark sheets waiting for you at the end of the road. A good job, maybe a great pay and loads of independence that you craved for all these years is awaiting you and yet there is a part of you that is happy to be stuck in college because you know that these joyful carefree days will never come back.

Coming back to 28th May, 2012 i.e. my very 1st day at my very 1st Job, pulse rising, heartbeat taking a skip, getting ready for office, all in a fancy hotel room (provided by the company :)), I was thinking about the last few years of my life and praying to God that the next few should turn out to be a tad more worth living. It’s always nice to have someone you know beside you while entering a danger zone and luckily I had Gulshan (the ever charming boy) to face the music alongside me. As it happens on your 1st date with a girl, we reached office before time (8:50 am to be exact). Nerves settled down with time and we saw new faces entering one after another, everyone looking at us with a sense of amazement as if we just landed from the Bannerghatta National Park. Sessions were the theme of the day, ranging from company policies to analytics, all sorts of bullets fired our way. At 1:30 pm it was time for ‘Fresher’s Welcome Lunch’ bringing smile to our faces. Having lunch on the 1st day with your boss, only start-ups can provide such an opportunity and we relished it. At lunch Vishnu (the proactive dude) stole all the limelight with his college stories :P. At 4:30 pm, sessions ended and that brought the end to a memorable day and one of great significance in our lives.

Thus Affine welcomed us, the very first group of freshers  to its ever-growing family, a family that is set to rise and leap ahead.

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The week that was!

This article is written with a lot of mixed emotions .No, no, It’s not a soap opera hangover. The week that went past was one of the most exciting and surprising one in Affine’s journey. To sum it up, it was too much hard work, chaos and running around and ‘sutta’ * 2. Let me go the consultant way (more smartly called –let me split my paragraph and tell you ‘n’ points) of explaining what all happened.

1. New office, more responsibilities

Responsibilities?  Yes, I think we are slowly reaching that point where I can picture myself in front of the mirror fitting up formals, tie and polishing shoes away to glory every single morning. Now, that’s responsibility. Just kidding, on a serious note the whole new office shifting happened over a fortnight. The entire affine team would have earned any record if it ever existed for “creating office spaces bending time and space”. Trust me, 8 days. 3 Conference rooms, electrical fittings, power back up, tables, entire shifting and god knows what not. The beauty lied in the fact that we didn’t hire a contractor to do all this stuff. We wanted to do it all by us. Well, actually our CEO is a bit worried about attrition after last week ;). By the looks and feel of how the office work was done, he thinks his employees can do things other than analytics really good too.

2. One more F-15 to the arsenal

No, it’s not a fighter plane, but something very equivalent. Affine has recruited its first senior management individual into the team, Mr. Anindya Palit. He is a IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta alumni and brings around 22+ years of experience across various business functions with the predominant focus being on sales & marketing. He is our EVP, Sales & Marketing. Anindya lives in Dallas, USA with his wife and daughter. Widely traveled, loves Bollywood songs, particularly the old ones, and also sings! Welcome Anindya to the Affine family.

3. More colorful feathers to the cap

Affine is about to be 1 year young in a day’s time. Yes, Valentine’s day + 1 ;). As we near that day, we have got a couple of big names as our clients. 2012 looks to be very promising with all expected targets getting covered way ahead of time. 3 Walk-ins in a span of 6 months, 2 additions to the family every month and 1 new client in every 2 months, we should say that last one year was successful for us as a startup and we are good to go for 2012.

All’s well that ends well, for us, it’s just the beginning. This 1 year was a great confidence booster for all of us trying to build things from scratch, waiting patiently for good things to happen, tackling all kinds of stress, obstacles but still coming out strong and more mature. In fact, that’s the attitude that prevails in this organization. As one of my friends (who is also one of our directors) put it, the word this company associates itself with is “Intention” and I would like to add something  and tell that “Our intentions are always fine@ Affine”…

“My 100 days in a start-up” by #8

For those of you who think the title sound like a rip off from some romcom which could be voted for “Chick flick of the year”, then you are partially correct. The inspiration:

Let me introduce myself as #8. The 8 could be anything, my rank in terms of the heaviest person in the company, the size of my shoe, or even my pay package for all you know ;). And for those ambitious beings, I might be the ticket to knowing what it is to work in a start-up. This is my experience; a page taken out of my journal to describe the ride through — what you might call a cliché — ‘The road not taken’.

P.S. This was written on one of those Fridays when work is scarce, but you’ve got to act all engaged, just because your manager is sitting right opposite you.

 

It’s MINE:

I have had some prior experience in the field of analytics, before I ventured into Affine’s territories. What was the difference I felt at first? A proud feeling that THIS COMPANY IS MINE. That sense of belongingness. That invisible bond.  Do you remember the feeling you had when you got that G.I. Joe action figure that you were eyeing for months? That’s the feeling I’m talking about. Well that also clearly indicates that #8 is a dude J. It is this profound sense of attachment that drives us “Affinites” everyday to create THAT image to our customers who choose us over our other established competitors, and it is this same feeling which pushes me beyond my limits.

We’re one small happy family:

Whenever people ask me how many people work in my company, and I reply, “15”, I see frowning eyebrows, confused stares and anything else that conveys a “Only these many people?”. My response to that, “Big is not always the best”. The bonding and sharing of good times among us transcends boundaries of our working space thereby helping us evolve into a family —  one that is genuinely concerned about your problems; one that is more than happy to give you company on night-outs, and most important, one that really knows how to have fun

Corporate Ladder. Erm… What does that even mean?

Hierarchy. Seniority. Pyramid. Ranking. Chain of command. These words have the same meaning as the words Mumbo jumbo, Meh and Floccinaucinihilipilification (Yes that actually is a word.). Till date, one of the most enriching experiences for me — a person who is at the start of his professional career — involves the chance I was given, to be up-close and personal with the people who founded the company. You get ring-side seats to see how an organisation is created from scratch and how a simple vision is transformed into something which DEFINES an entire industry. Such things are trump cards when it comes to shaping your professional career, and the earlier you get the trump card, the better it is. Added to this, I have the liberty to go to any of the founders and have heart-to-heart discussions, in which my suggestions for the betterment of the company are valued.

I have my finger in every pie:

Unlike most of the organisations, you can’t expect separate resources for IT, admin, finance and so on. As a kid, I grew up reading comics and graphic novels. So the idea of having an alter ego gives me my high J. The 100 days I’ve spent at Affine have seen me function as a Business Analyst; as someone who goes around enquiring for carpentry work, someone who searches for an office space etc…etc.. Your responsibilities don’t just end with providing high quality analytics; it also includes you contributing enough to transform the organisation from a start-up to a self-sustaining engine.

Emanations from a dreamer

STATUTORY WARNING: This article would disappoint people looking for flowery language and compelling story lines. Amen!

Day to day we get to hear stories about dreamers – dreamers who persevere for their dreams. We are in awe of them after reading about their vision and then we re-fire our dreams, don’t we?  A little story that I want to share is of a dreamer whose conduct is guided more by the image of perfection than by the real world. Once in his dreams, he was given two options by Mr. X. “You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes” . The story is not about the Matrix movie, the story is about a person who dared.

He wanted to set a mark in life, to be the change and live his dreams when he graduated from college. Armed with an unending spirit and a bold emotionless face, he took the strides in career in his first company, unarguably one of the best companies in India to start a brilliant career. It was a great run, consistent, brave and the best he could run. Everything was going smooth till one fine day, when he understood something. He was living someone else’s dream.

He wasn’t living his dream. He knew it was going to be an uphill climb. He knew he couldn’t just sit back and watch the world pace. He had to do something- the urge to live his dream, as every single day counts and in reality days are numbered! It was hard to wake up from an unfinished dream, very hard to cut off the roots because he was young and the world was still new to him in many senses. But a decision was made and then there was no looking back as a human mind once shaken, is shaken forever until it finds a relief to its belief. He left his “secure” positions and traversed the path less successfully trodden. Why? Cos he was a dreamer, he saw a better dream.

90% of all fresh and new business ventures (may I call it start-ups) run out of business in a year’s time. Today, Affine with an array of global MNCs’ as its clients is taking big and strong strides 10 months into business. 10 months back it was a scratch coupon, the lucky numbers started showing up one by one. As we reach the first dawn of 2012, we would like to thank all our employees, well wishers and supporters for the tremendous success we have achieved as a “start-up”. 2012 looks to be very promising and we are good to go. Thank you, all!

So what happened to the dreamer? Well, he is a part and parcel of Affine’s growth story and is still living his dreams. Guess what? He dared, took a decision and today he is happy as he is closer and closer to his dreams in real life and that matters. This article is dedicated to all such dreamers and like Will smith says

“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you, you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”