I and my hunger for associating with a brand always went hand in hand. When I was in my school..till the time I got my first job..or honestly speaking till few months before, I had an intense desire to be associated with a brand name. Logically if we see, brand is relative measurement of fame and unique image of one thing at a respective place. A village, a city or any place can have it’s own set of brands. There are few names which have become global brands such as Maggie, Google, America .There is a great probability that it is a known name wherever you live.
Thus my definition of a brand is any thing, place, title or institution which has become too famous to require an introduction…
There were two reasons for my starving for brands : my father and my personality.
My father is and has always been proud of us as his daughters. He finds immense happiness in telling people what we do. When it used to take his extra effort for referring the place I belonged professionally (a school, college, a work place), I used to die for brands.
Secondly my personality is or till few months before had been quite sensitive and emotional. Also, due to my unrequited love for brands, I had always a chip on my shoulder of inferiority from those who belong to one. I have a very huge memory for incidents (the storage capacity was infinitely expandable if the incidents were bad). So, any ridicule or insult or biased comparisons or show of arrogance was registered in my mind and heart permanently. Earlier they were hurdles to my happiness but now they have been reduced to topics of my articles. By writing this, I am feeling so powerful right now 😀
So, I would begin my story with my first school. I believe, I read in a good school (with ICSE curriculum, medium: English), yet it was not a well known name. I have received the best, I could get and I am sure I am making the best of it. But it was ridiculed for informal methods of administration and it’s weird location near straw shop 😉
When I got admission for graduation, I found extreme pride in introducing myself as student of University of Delhi : a true brand name as it tops among university from all over India. But the next moment, my pride used to fall like house of cards, when I had to mention my College’s name. A name which was not known to anyone other than the students of the college and their parents. Even the auto rickshaw driver used to ask twice regarding the directions, whenever I hired them. Although the syllabus was same all over the university for a particular stream, and with no doubt, most of my professors were an inspiration to learn from…. yet it wasn’t a brand name. So, my hunger was still not satiated.
Now without boring you more, I would jump to my internships during Master’s. During my summer internship, I interacted with the most egoistical people, I had ever seen. Or I should say, relatively egoistical people because I didn’t have any ego at that point of time. They used to ridicule my college where I was doing my Master’s. According to them, my college had no identity and fame which their Alma mater had. Once, in a gathering, they introduced me to someone saying my name and then added she is not from any well known college. That was an exclusive emotion, I experienced in that event. Because never in my life, I have met such relatively rude people giving proof of their arrogance and insensitivity.
My winter internship was in a true NO BRAND organization. It was a vendor to one of the eminent manufacturing organization. It was in the same campus of it’s giant originator, with no identity, policy, principles and even website of it’s own. It was so difficult to ask any auto rickshaw driver for taking me to this place as there was no board or hording of this small name organization. (Not being a confident bike driver, auto rickshaw and public transit had been an indelible part of my life and now of the account of my experiences).
I was given an I- card made of paper with a thin lamination on it. The card, for sure, did not have door access and Past me obviously felt bad about it. During winter internships, we were supposed to attend classes in college along with the work. One day, as a ritual, my female classmates were gossiping regarding their internship experiences after coming out of washroom. One of them was proudly showing her fancy ID card having door access for sure. They asked me to show mine. When I showed it, the proud owner of fancy ID card laughed at the name of my organization and also the paper thin I-Card. I don’t blame anyone for ridiculing because it was really a very very small organization relative to theirs. And sensitivity is not a general emotion but a gift.
When I got my first job, adding to my sorrow, it wasn’t a brand or to say clearly : not a Multi- National Corporation. But it was way ahead of any organizations, I had worked with. It was a well known hospital of the city. You cannot imagine my happiness when the auto rickshaw drivers used not to ask me twice regarding the direction to my workplace, whenever I hired them. My experience from this job is so huge that no article can subsume it. But there are people who would demean you whenever you feel you are doing great. One person met me through a friend. She had a guffaw .. a very huge laugh when she came to know that I worked as an HR professional in a hospital. Though it was her lack of knowledge regarding hospital’s working requirements, yet I felt like crying.
Now I am in Canada. While looking for jobs, when I saw LinkedIn profiles of other professionals, sometimes it saddened me deeply. Most of them had such organizations’ name in their profiles with LinkedIn icon; one of the minimum requirements for becoming a BRAND (at least on LinkedIn). In terms of job, I didn’t have a single one. But now was the time of my “DOUBLE LOOP LEARNING”.
This country and my experiences with it have become an eye opener to me. I heard a lot of depressing stories here: Nobody gets a suitable job until s/ he works as an unskilled labor, or something relatively lower to their skills for years irrespective of their professional education, brand associations in their native country and entitlements. And I could witness all of this. But for me, it was different. With my experiential learning and consequent personality, I somehow created my own space.
A country like Canada where even volunteering in your own field is a rarity, I got it within one month of receiving work permit. To tell you the truth, I am extremely engaged with their tasks. Sometimes the motivation goes down due to non-fulfillment of Maslow’s basic needs 😉 but mostly I feel honored to get the responsibilities. Within three months of receiving my permit, I got the good news regarding my first short term employment (in my own field) in an NGO. And at the onset of the 4th month, I will start working as a “Co-op Development Coordinator” there itself. Not to brag, but now I am offered a job by the organization where I had been volunteering since 3 months. Not sure if I will be able to do two jobs or not. But sometimes I do like to show off.
I always hankered after big names, fancy ID cards which could have one door access. I tried very hard for it. I would tell you honestly, I really tried extremely hard for associating with any brand name. This concept is called Single Loop Learning: When you make efforts for achieving a desire. But the time you feel that the desire itself is of no use, and you abandon it, there comes double loop learning, which I went through fortunately.
One brand association could have given me a fancy ID card for one door access. My life seems to have become more meaningful and rewarding when I am able to access any door with my expertise, personality and blessings: Whenever that happens, I find a brand within me.