Six years of professional career – A quick recap

18 July 2011. Yes, that’s today. It marks six years of my professional career. In a nutshell, ever since joining InfoEdge at their Noida office six years back, I have been programming to create websites. But it has been a lot more than that. I have made some amazing friends during these six years with whom I have shared some unforgettable moments, learned a lot about coding, business and life from the people I have interacted with and situations I faced. A lot have changed since that hot and sweaty day of 18 Jul 2005 (which I still remember very vividly).

If I look back and try to recap the last six years, I can break them down into six very specific sections / phases / periods which can be associated with some really significant events in my career. Read below to know about these six phases –

First Steps – July 2005 to July 2006

The first year of my professional life was as good as it gets. I did a lot of hard work in office, and made some really good friends. Everyday during these times was so much fun and unforgettable. The leg-pulling, late night parties, the fights, and the do-not-care attitude of some 7-8 of us colleagues made it one of my best years ever. Coding till late in the night, learning new technologies and putting them to innovative use was an added advantage to the fun we were having everyday in office.

Ok, I hope you can sense the 'fun' being part of this team

Ok, I hope you can sense the 'fun' being part of this team

Cloudy Days – Aug 2006 to Aug 2007

The fist disappointment came after a year of work, and it made things bad with a very good friend of mine. The group was divided into two, and both sides tried to irritate the other group as much as possible with their sarcastic comments and mannerisms in office. Although it was all friendly rivalry with no serious hard feelings, it did get tense at times. But as all clouds have a silver lining, Sukip and SaleRaja were born during this period out of the happenings in office. It was not a pleasant year for me in office, but a very important one. And by the end of the year, I patched up with this friend of mine and we were back to normal, fun filled days.

The 99acres team of 2008, at Mashobra

The 99acres team of 2008, at Mashobra

Finding the real me? – Sep 2007 to Oct 2008

If I have to choose one year as the most defining in the last six, it will be this one. It made me discover traits of my personality which I didn’t knew even existed. Managing SaleRaja and leading a team of 14 people, ensuring the co-existence of both work and fun, made me face challenges and respond to them in a way that was to shape my personality. Made another group of great friends during this time, learnt a lot about leadership, and also cleared a lot of pre-conceptions about people and life in general during this time. This phase ended with me making one of the toughest decisions of my life, to leave InfoEdge and the team (and fun) I had for SaleRaja.

My farewell from InfoEdge in Oct 2008, a very emotional moment

My farewell from InfoEdge in Oct 2008, a very emotional moment

SaleRaja – Nov 2008 to Dec 2009

Over to Bangalore. Fully focussed on SaleRaja, I started doing everything, from sales calls to marketing to coding with an aim of making it big with SaleRaja. We worked hard, then harder, and then even harder to squeeze the most out of our time. My days have been 14-16 hour long for some time, but it started to become taxing and tiring by the end of this phase. In Dec 2009 decided it was time to move on, again one of the tough decisions I had to take. But these 14 months in Bangalore taught me a lot about business and life as I was exposed to many startups and the eco-system surrounding startups. Again, I made a lot of good friends and met a lot of good hearted and inspiring people.

The Jivox team in Bangalore

The Jivox team in Bangalore

LOST – Jan 2010 to Jul 2010

There are times when everything was going so well and you take some tough decisions which didn’t work out as well as expected. You left the good for the better but are left with nothing instead. These are the times when you start asking questions like, “Why did this happen?”, “Why did I take that decision?” or “What is happening?”… Let me tell you what is happening.. LIFE IS HAPPENING… Yes… Everything was going well.. and then Life Happened… This phase of my career was a time of doubt, but also of introspection. It made me look for answers to some really tough questions within myself, and it was during this phase that I started reading and writing regularly, which helped me a lot and is a regular practice now.

Rediscovery – Aug 2010 to present

The last year has been an uncertain, uncomfortable and a bumpy journey. But this journey has taken me through peaks and sights that are unforgettable. I have faced fear right in the eye and done things regularly which I was afraid of earlier, and regularly at that. And needless to say, I have grown as an individual the most in this last year, and done some crazy stuff which I could not have dreamt of a few years earlier. I am having the best time of my life now, where every day seems better than the previous one, where I enjoy every day of the week be it a Monday or Friday and I am doing so much that my days feel like having 36 hours 😉

In reflection, whatever has happened in the last six years has made me what I am today. All the good stuff was certainly memorable, but all the not so good times were also blessings in disguise. The sooner we realize that the cloudy days are as much a part of life as the sunny ones, we can stop getting hurt from life’s beatings and instead use them to grow stronger and wiser. In the future too, I hope to be strong enough to get hammered, because I know I will get hammered into new and interesting shapes.

Why Will I Not Trade Any Year of My Career for even a MIT / Harvard Degree?

When I passed out of college and finished my engineering in June 2005, I had appeared for GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) for the last two years to seek entrance to a M. Tech program. In 2005, I scored 97.25 percentile and an All India Rank of 744. Although I was disappointed by this scoring, I still got a call from NITIE Mumbai where they admit students for a PG program in management and IT based on GATE scores. I appeared for the interview, which went well, but was not named in the final list of selected candidates. I didn’t wanted to pursue a M.Tech in any regional college so that meant I started my professional career in July 2005 with InfoEdge India Ltd. Today, I can not be more glad that I didn’t get a good GATE score and could not clear the interview at NITIE.

Don't ask why? This pic has an interesting story behind it!!

Don't ask why? This pic has an interesting story behind it!!

It has been almost six years in my professional life now. And boy, what an adventure it has been! I call it an adventure because I have done some really crazy things in these six years. I have made great friends (for life) from my days at InfoEdge and frankly, enjoyed and had more fun than what I did during my college and hostel days. I did some pretty good work on 99acres and was leading the technical team of 14 people when I left InfoEdge in 2008. I started a startup ( and with my school friends and ran it for 2.5 years. I joined a startup in Bangalore which had only 15 people. I started this blog in 2010, am writing regular articles and poems which are well received and am now working on my first book.

Now I am working at Yahoo! and getting the experience of a multinational corporation for the first time. In the last 10 months or so, I have taken initiatives in the areas of waste management, anti-corruption and now PickaFight. After moving to Bangalore, I have hopped to and from Delhi like anything, attending marriages of Gunjan, Shiv, Saurabh, Kinshuk, Prateek, Gaurav (though I missed Mukesh and Rinkesh’s) and many more friends, many times giving a total shock to my friends and family by landing in front of them out of nowhere 😉 I ride a bike which I never thought I can, have been on rides as long as 800 kms, and in between somehow I also learned French for 18 months, prepared for IAS entrance for some six months and made and lost money in the stock markets at different times. I can’t believe it has been only six years!! Phew..

The 2005 Gang.. All friends for life

The 2005 Gang.. All friends for life

The point I am making is, when normally doing a post graduation has become a norm these days, and even I wanted to do it, I have learned a lot lot more from the biggest teacher which is life. I have succeeded and stumbled, been happy and sad, felt trusted and betrayed, but in the course have gained from life what no formal education could have given. Today, if anybody asks me to trade any one of the last six years for a degree from the best of colleges like IIT, IIM, MIT or even the Harvard, I would say NO. Those degrees might be valuable in another way, but they can’t replace what I got in these past six years.

If I look back at the Sumit from six years ago, I can say I am still the same person at the core, the spontaneous and rebellious one, always looking to break the rules and do something new. But seeing from another angle, I have become a completely different person and I can’t recognize the person I was six years ago. I was a hard core techie then with no intention of going into management, now I have started and shut down a company and call myself an entrepreneur.  My views about life, women, people, friends and family have changed totally in the last six years. It is a new ME now, yet with the same CORE.

How have I changed?

If I was a bustling pot of energy back then, trying different things without any direction and easily exploited by any person, emotion or situation, now the energy is being directed for achieving meaningful goals, while acting more responsibly and being more aware of my duties as a son, brother, friend, and as a citizen. My confusion back then has given way to confidence, my frustration to focus, and my arrogance has been replaced by a sense of respect towards fellow human beings. If I used to think I know a lot about the way this world works and how people are, I now know that I know very little about this amazing world which is full of incredible people.

How am I still the same person?

I still have a lot of fun in my everyday life, still wait for Mondays, still work on weekends (though it was never work to me), still take off spontaneously to go for a vacation or to give a surprise visit to friends and family in Delhi. I still break rules and norms and do things the way I want to do them. I still succeed sometimes, fail other times. You can say that my failures have not reduced but my disappointments have, my results might not have improved but my upsets have gone down, and that I might not have grown wiser, but I am less foolish now 😉

Had to ride 20km off-road to reach here :)

Had to ride 20km off-road to reach here

Life has taught me a lot in these last six years, and it has not been easy either. I can’t erase the memories of my mom undergoing cancer surgery and chemotherapy three times in the last seven years, can’t take back the harsh words I have said to a few people and can’t undo the many mistakes I have made. But who said it was supposed to be smooth? At the same time, I also can’t forget the tremendous excitement when we created SaleRaja, will always miss the amazing fun I had in my first year of work, and can’t thank the 14 people of the 99acres team who made me discover a new side of myself in that one year when I led them.  In a nutshell, life has not been a cakewalk, but if you would ask me “Was it worth it?”, I would say “TOTALLY”!!!

I don’t know if this is pretty much the difference between every 27 year old and a 21 year old, but this has been my story.