During the final years of college, getting a job seemed as the most important thing in life. I had a pretty average CPI and my knowledge of Mechanical Engineering was practically zero. But I had 'extra-curriculars' and so I thought that I shall be able to get a good job. In those days, in 2006, a 25k per month salary looked amazing. A package of 6 lakhs per annum was the average those days and lucky guys cracked 8 lakhs p.a. I had done my Summer Internship in Schlumberger and hence that was a backup option. But the job at Schlums appeared to be for the sporty and the adventure loving and I wanted a job more social.
I opted for everything other than Mech Engg and got through Sales and Marketing in HUL. Later I found out that I was hired at the same position that IIM grads are hired. The package was 8 lakhs CTC. I was the happiest man in the campus. I thought that I have made it in life. I had moved from engineering to marketing and I was going to be treated at par with IIM grads. During the training the company also got us a certificate from IIM Bangalore. The package increased to 15 lakhs in less than three years. And I was managing a Sales turnover of about 7-8 crores per month for HUL.
Friends and colleagues around me were buying houses in Gurgaon and Noida, owning cars like Swift and I10 and aspired to buy Honda City and Toyota Corolla. I somehow did neither. The near lakh per month salary made no sense to me anymore. My dreams were always of a 30k salary and so I didn't know what to do with the rest. I spent most of my disposable income in eating and drinking at random five start hotels and living a life of no future planning. I saw friends from college struggling to get to the civil services and I thought that I am wasting my time making money. I should do something of a greater purpose. I thought I don't need a Honda City or a Duplex in Gurgaon to make me happy. I wanted a job with much higher values and purpose.
After two years of struggle, I came to the IAS. By the time I entered IAS, salaries at HUL and similar companies had crossed 25 lakhs per annum. And the salaries at IAS started at around 30k per month. I had already spent 6 years after college figuring out my desired career. Now when I am here, my friends have moved on to doing an MBA abroad or even if they have stayed in their jobs, they have bought bigger cars, they have bought houses worth 50-80 lakhs and dine in the costliest restaurants. I could have been in their places had I stayed on, but then it seemed pointless to acquire all those assets then. Now, they suddenly look lucrative.
Now that my salary is around 30k, which too hasn't arrived for the last month, due to paper work drama at the government (in fact, it might not come for the next two months, as that much time is taken by govt to complete paper work on first posting), 'things which I didn't care to acquire' have transformed into 'things that I can't acquire'. It is a different story that subsidized house and vehicle shall be arranged at almost all places of postings, but if I want to have my own house and my own vehicle, I shall be way short of finances. I am yet to see the real work on ground and probably that may be the silver lining in this job - the intrinsic job content. But as of today I feel a confused middle class lad who always found the grass greener on the other side.