How my homesickness made me start my own company
The crowded hall was totally in dead silence when executives from TCS started calling out the names of the candidates. These were the lucky ones who made it all through written tests and interview rounds in the campus placement. My written test and interview both were good. I was sure to be selected.
One by one the names were being announced. After every announcement, a student will get up from his chair and express his happiness. Some even jumped up to celebrate. And why not, it was the moment for which they were waiting for 4 years of B.E., now was the time to celebrate.
Around 20 plus names later, they announced my name. I just got up and signaled them a thumbs up and a big smile. They reciprocated with a smile and I sat down.
The list continued till the end. There were happy faces all around. Those who were selected had glitters in their eyes. There were sad faces as well; those who had failed to make it through.
I got selected for the very first company that visited the campus in 2008. But I wasn't exuberated.
My concern was only one thing. I had now become ineligible to participate in any other companies visiting the campus; including the very next company which was recruiting for their office in "my home town"; an opportunity I had missed.
Student to Assistant Systems Engineer
The college still had 1 semester remaining. Sure I could have applied to some other local companies off-campus, but I didn't. My family insisted that TCS is a very good company (it is, no doubt) and that I won't get such an opportunity again (that hurt. Why won't I get another opportunity? Am I not capable enough?)
Anyhow, the remaining time of the graduation flew like a jet. The joining date of TCS had been announced and I was getting sad as the date was approaching.
I finally had to decide that I will join the job to at least make some money.
I was sure that I'll not be staying in this job forever. Before leaving, I had already told my parents that if I don't like it up there, I'll come back. They were very supportive of that.
I went to TCS Ahmedabad for training followed by TCS Hyderabad for joining.
Resignation # 1
I was about 1.5 months in Gandhinagar (Gujarat) for training. The time I spent there was probably the best time I had away from home. I made many new friends and connections there. The corporate culture was something astonishingly new for me and that increased my excitement further. I forever cherish those memories.
Post training, I was relocated to Hyderabad, along with my roommates, though my preference was always Mumbai. After spending about 2 months in Hyderabad, I started missing home badly.
Every day I would think about my city. I would imagine opening my own company. I would imagine living with my family at my home.
You can't enjoy life outside unless you are mentally prepared for it. I wasn't, and that's why I was in bad shape
One day, I talked to my father and told him about my situation. My father without any second thought asked me to resign and come back home.
The next day, I resigned and prepared to return home. I was happy now.
Jobless Graduate to Junior Professor
It was a decision made without giving much thought to 'What am I going to do?'. The result! I didn't have any work now. I was a graduate with good grades, sitting home without earning anything. I had to do something, for my family. And I had to do that in my city only.
I was desperate to start a software company but didn't know the ABC of it. I dropped by resumes to all the local software companies (there were only a few that time in Indore) but never got a call from anywhere.
To start earning something to cover my expenses, I decided to join a local engineering college as a junior professor. I wasn't happy to join this job either, but for now, I didn't have any other option.
Resignation # 2
I was only a graduate and you don't get much salary and growth as a graduate professor. All except a few of my colleagues in the college were doing Post-Graduation or Doctorate. I was aware that to grow in this profession, I will need to study further.
6 months into this job and preparing for the entrance exam, I cracked GATE. I then resigned as a teacher to become a student again and started my M.Tech. degree.
While I was doing my M.Tech. somebody had suggested I do Freelancing as well. I was always interested in computer programming and they thought Freelancing would be a way for me to earn some money.
It was all new to me, so I decided to explore it. Every day from college, I will go to the office that I had rented for my freelancing work.
Professor Once Again
During my M.Tech., I was not giving enough time to freelance projects. The coursework kind of slowed me down. Therefore after I completed my M.Tech. I decided to join the teaching profession again, to start covering my expenses. I talked to my seniors and was able to again join the same engineering college, this time as an Associate Professor.
Resignation # 3
4.5 years in this tenure, now married and father to a child, with freelancing going on in parallel, I was getting annoyed day by day by this job.
Not because I didn't like teaching. I loved it. I do it even now. So much so that if ever I get a chance to teach again, I would not hesitate to say Yes.
But that annoyance was more because of other tasks that do not fall under the purview of teaching. Clerical works like filling up attendance sheets, calling up students forcing them to come to college, giving duties in placements, examinations, etc.
Council them (or rather lure them) to join the college. It wasn't something I could do. I used to straightaway say no to things I didn't like doing. My head won't like that.
In 2016, I called it a day when I put my resignation. My wife supported my decision, even after knowing that my elder kid had just turned 1 and his expenses were only going to go up. But she believed in me.
The good part throughout my 4.5 years in college was that I had made some very good connections with some of the professors there who were also doing freelance work alongside their job hours.
The difference between my previous resignations and this one was a very simple one. I knew what I am going to do next.
Till November 2017, my business name was Apexol Technologies, which was my sole proprietary firm. I was handling freelancing projects by that name only. However as business was growing and better credibility was required for overseas clients, I decided to form the company Sojatia Infocrafts Private Limited. I and My Wife are the directors of this company.
My wife takes care of non-tech aspects of the business, while my work relies upon bringing projects, client dealings, software development, quality control, and support (basically everything else).
Currently, we are growing steadily, fetching clients' projects and working on launching our products. Life is great and I am grateful to My Parents for everything that I have and to God who made me a part of their lives.
March 2022, we were blessed with a baby boy. So now I am a proud father of two kids.
I would summarize my learnings in small bullets.
- Give time to your family. It's for them whatever you are doing.
- Dare to take decisions and stick with them.
- Sometimes leaving a place is better for your mental peace.
- People don't resign from organizations. They resign from their managers.
- Patience is the key. Stay on track and don't give up.
Don't stop living your dreams. At times in our life, we need to take decisions that look very hard and scary at glance. But that's the time we are tested. Things may not always turn out the way we wanted. Whatever you have achieved might not be the same as you had imagined, but things do get better. They always do.
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