I used to think I was in the second group, but nowadays feel I am in the third. This bit of senti thinking is triggered by a never ending week of work, where I have given up three holidays, spending long hours at office generating bullshit which I hope is 'analysis', and which is surprisingly accepted as such. Analysis, not bullshit.
Why did I take up finance? While I may have given all the right sounding answers in interviews (there has to be some reason I got hired!), the plain truth is "for lack of a better option". Ticking Finance on the b-school admission form seemed an obvious choice after a degree (and more!) in commerce.
When I look back, I see how I took a life-changing decision with a very simplistic decision making tool: the process of elimination.
I couldn't have done Operations (or Ops, as they call it). I had never seen a factory or shopfloor in my life. Machines were alien to me (ok, I knew the zipper, but then I hadn't seen the Hirani movie then!). Being closeted with a roomful of engineers wasn't very appealing. And most importantly, there were few girls in Ops. They apparently took Total Quality Control in the opposite sense. Sex stigma was their one-in-a-million mantra.Or rather, 3.4 as they would claim, but that's just more than a pi. Which, I hear, is never ending. Only after a point. Ok, my point is that there was too much Greek (and Japanese!) in this subject and not enough Latinas.
I couldn't have done Information Management (or IM). I had no Comp. Sci. background, no software industry experience. The Computer skills section of my resume read: "MS-Office". Going down that road would have meant a life of Patni (the tam word). Or rather a life without a Patni (the hindi one now!). Coding meant drawing lines. Debugging was too gross. I mean, who wants to be a pesticide all his life? Especially when you can be the pest ever in something else.
I toyed with the idea of Marketing. After all, every tom's harry dick thinks he can do marketing. Except I couldn't sell to save my life. No, seriously. You could put a gun to my head and say "My way or the Amway" and all that'll happen is I'll end up dead. With a hole in my head. And a bagful of useless products. I realized I would suck at this when my prof said "A brand is a brand is a brand!" I mean, if you have to repeat things for people, I am not the guy for it. Like I said before. The moment they started talking about a cash cow turning into a dog, I began to see stars. And question marks. Floating around my eyes. Plus, having successfully escaped a boring small town and tackling culture shock in Bombay, the last thing I wanted to do was a shout-out for Whisper in Muzaffarpur. I decided to Stayfree of that shit. But much as I mock them, I really admire the smooth talkers who can put fake shit in a sachet and call it sham-poo.
So, that left Finance. And the promise of a jet-setting life, big fat bonuses, and wheeling and dealing. Who was to realize one would end up enjoying dragging cells in MS-Excel for 'growth' models, writing meaningless sentences like "The market is volatile" (which means it can go up, or down, but we have no clue) and haggling with lawyers over whether to use "and" or "and/or" at the end of a paragraph?
But then, such is Life...