“When your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme.”
– Jiminy Cricket
I had taken the train from Stuttgart main station to Munich main station. Traveling began at 8:30 in the morning, but the journey had started long ago. The speed of ICE trains, beautiful view from the window does seem to make you think deeply (if you are not sleeping that is, because that too is awesome!).
I could feel each breath on that day, and each event seemed so big. And then it all started coming back to me. I remembered that I had told once sitting in my home, “I will work for BMW at a PhD position and get my doctorate from there”. And this was told around 3 years ago, having no idea if I would ever travel outside India.
My presentation was ready, I was prepared (I guess) to give one of the most challenging interviews I had ever given – a PhD position at the research and development department at the headquarters (Munich) of one of the biggest names in automotive industry, BMW. All I had with me was 5 slides to show my research work in past 8 years and prove why was I the perfect fit! Sounds simple right? Well, I thought so too. Trying to keep all the tips and tricks I had got from home, friends and internet into one stream of thought, I was walking up to the office I was asked to come.
Munich, known to be one of the nicer cities of Germany, didn’t really help me get the vibes I needed. To this day, I have no idea why I don’t like that city. But that’s not the point. I reached the office and the first thing I notice was no one at reception. Couldn’t even enter the waiting area (Safety reasons I guess), and no one cared. My first impression of BMW was already scoring -1.
I finally entered, the way the people at reception behaved was just very different. They were not smiling and definitely not helping. Asking me to take a seat and making me wait for 40 minutes is not something I was ready for (especially when this was supposed to my dream company).
Finally, the person who was supposed to take me interview came and I followed him to conference room. For the confidentiality purposes, I shall skip to the part (90 minutes later) where I came out of the conference room and in few minutes had my HR interview. It was taking sometime for me to realize that I could prove 2 of the highest management personal of R&D to consider me for further stages of selection and to prove I am worth their time and resources.
The next round was also for another 90 minutes with the human resources responsible person and when I walked back towards the main station, I knew that I had done it. Hearing the positive replies from all the people who were going to make the selection, not just made my day but after a really long time, pitched the feeling of ‘accomplishment‘ in me.
Even though the formal process was still remaining and I did receive it in following few days, my decision had been made on the way back to Stuttgart on the day of interview itself – I was not going to accept the offer.
I did hear each one ask ‘Why?’, ‘What is wrong with you?’, ‘Why would you not chose it?’ and so one. It wasn’t about the topic or money. BMW is a corporate and I am just a little fish. I don’t have the experience it takes to survive in a big pond.
One of the wisest people told me once: “Charu, it’s better to be a big fish in small pond rather than small fish in a big pond”. It has always worked for me and helped me make my decisions and hopefully, when I am ready (a big fish) , I shall choose a big pond (BMW of course).
The recognition that one must get for his/her work is what drives me to betterment. I wasn’t ready for it (even though they did!). Hence, I chose the offer from same company that I had been a part of since 12 months and it still gives me the energy to begin each new day and go to work happily.
That making me end my obsession with BMW, made me realize that true happiness lies in things that actually give you the motivation and passion to do something better each day.
P.S. Share your experiences in the comments below and let me know what do you think 🙂
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