I was in Mussorie last week with my family for vacations and we had stayed in a beautiful resort – The Amber, Vermont Estate. It was located some 5 kms away from the main mall road of Mussorie in a picturesque place near the Company garden. The beauty of this resort was not in its designing but in the place where it was constructed. The picture that I have inserted in this blog is the actual picture taken from our room. A gorgeous looking valley with mountains clearly visible from the room was a beauty.
My son is going to Class II in the School and before he joins the new class, I wanted to spend some time with him. Thus, this trip. When we checked-in the resort, weather that day was quite gloomy and dull. Though we had checked the weather and prediction was thunderstorms and rains, we still decided to go and have a little break. We booked the hotel for 3 days and the weather prediction was bad for those 3 days. So we were not expecting sun, but then as one knows, weather can be highly unpredictable despite technological advancements.
So, for first two days the weather was absolutely bang-on, completely aligned with the predictions. It was raining and getting very cold in the nights. Thankfully, we had taken few warm clothes and those helped us fight the unpredictable chillness. But then on the third day when I woke up in the morning (though I couldn’t wake up at 5AM) and removed the curtains of my room, to my surprise there was bright sunshine. The whole valley view from the room was gorgeous and I could see the sunshine hitting the mountains and it was looking as if the mountains were covered in gold. A spectacular moment!
Suddenly with the sunshine, there was brightness not only in the sky but also in our attitude and emotions. When we woke up looking at the bright sunshine, we were more cheerful and lively we were talking more joyously and were suddenly enjoying more. If you notice, it was the same resort, same room and same place, but suddenly we changed. Our attitude and emotions changed. And that is exactly what I want to say in the blog post – There would be gloomy days in your life, but doesn’t mean that sunny days are far.
In our life, we always experience what my family and me experienced in Mussorie – Gloomy days are always followed by bright & sunny days. If you pick up any life experience you would always notice that what started as gloomy or unsuccessful eventually would have turned into a bright success provided we had consistently pursued that activity or goal or objective.
I want to share my personal experience when I started my articleship journey. I think I have shared this incidence in one of my earlier blog posts, but I think this might be relevant in the current context. I was in the third year of my B.Com and was starting my journey to apply for articleship in a good firm. I had no jack or pull or any reference in a BIG4 and was therefore, to my own. However, with some effort, one of my cousin brothers had some pull in a BIG4 and he could arrange my interview for articleship. I was extremely happy and delighted to hear that news as anyone in that situation is. I am talking about the year 1999. However, as luck would have it, I could only manage to clear the group discussion but was absolutely clueless in the interview. The HR person asked me a variety of questions on economy, politics and current affairs and I was unable to answer them with ease. He was an MBA from XLRI and I could easily feel that. Within 15 minutes of the interview I could realize that there was no chance to beat this person.
After the interview, I don’t know what happened but the HR person asked me if I had applied for articleship in any other CA firm. I told him that I was in the process and honestly, didn’t know too many firms. For some reason, best known to him he started talking to me and told me the names of 5 firms that he thought were good Indian firms and where I might stand a good chance to clear the interview. He didn’t give me any contact name or phone numbers and asked me to find out myself. So after the interview in a BIG4 where I was rejected (despite having a reference), I was on the street with a list of 5 firms and looking for articleship again. That day was very embarrassing for me because I couldn’t clear my interview and in front of the family I looked like a fool. People clear interviews even when they don’t have any reference and here is me, who couldn’t clear an interview for articleship despite having a reference. What a shame!.
Anyways I didn’t have much time to cry and therefore, decided to pursue articleship in those 5 firms that were recommended by the XLRI guy. In those days there was no Google and there was hardly any internet facility. The only way I could get addresses and contact nos. was through the telephone exchange. So I called up the telephone exchange and manage to get the address. Out of those 5, I could only manage 4 as the telephone exchange did not have address of a firm in that list called Ratan S. Mama & Co. So, I decided to personally go to the offices and meet the concerned person.
So one day I was in World Trade Centre building and as per the telephone exchange records, the office of a firm called Sahni Natarajan & Bahl was in that building. Upon entering I asked the guard which floor is that firm and he said – “Sir yahan to aisa koi bhi office nahin hai”. Suddenly the no 4 went down to 3 in my mind and I was very, very upset. I asked him if he was sure and he, without knowing the plight of a CA student said YES. However, when I was returning, the guard asked me – “Sir ye kis cheez ka office hai (i.e. what does this company do). So I told him it’s a CA firm, to which his reply was – “there is a CA firm on the 5th floor but that’s by the name of RSM & CO. Do you want to go and check that out”. Since, I was already in that building and the no. had reduced to 3 from 5, I thought there’s no harm in trying my luck. I went to the 5th floor and found a swanky office with a superb reception. I went inside and told the receptionist that I am looking for articleship. She took my CV and asked me to leave saying that someone would call me.
While going back to home, there was a feeling of absolute gloom and despair that why is it that I am facing these hurdles? From being good in studies to suddenly getting into a situation where I was a failure was hard to digest. And honestly I wasn’t expecting any call from RSM & Co on the basis that generally receptionists take the CVs but they never reach the right people. I had some work that day and after completing it reached home around 9PM. As I entered my home, my sister said – “Bhaiya there was a call from some company called RSM and they have asked you meet the HR person tomorrow”. My eyes swelled up hearing that news. I just met them in the morning and how come they called me so fast. But then it was destined like that.
It turned out that RSM & Co was actually Ratan S. Mama, the firm whose address couldn’t be located by the telephone exchange. And eventually I did my articleship from RSM & Co, one of the best firms of India. And then after completing the articleship, I got my first job in the same BIG4 where the XLRI person had rejected me. And that job was absolutely without any reference.
The idea of narrating this long story is to let each one of you know that whatever be the situation, you have to have belief in yourself and trust that good things would happen to you. I always tell students and young professionals that the Trial Balance always tally, whether it is the trial balance of accounts or the trial balance of life. Debits and credits would always tally and as accountants try to bridge the suspense account in the Trial Balance to match the debits and credits, we should similarly keep identifying the areas of improvement so that our credits (achievements, rewards, recognitions, wins) offset the debits (losses).
There is a brilliant quote from Mr. Jim Rohn, one of the greatest motivational speakers of his time as follows:
“Things get better for you only when you get better”
What a great statement. In our life nothing changes unless we start to change ourselves. For gloomy days to get converted into sunny and bright days, it is important that we change our attitude, we improve our skills, we get more knowledge of our subject, and we focus more on critical jobs and spend less time on wasting time on “Distraction Kitty”. Distraction Kitty is the term I use to reflect the bunch of items that distract us from our objectives and goals such as spending excessive time on social networking websites or spending time on unnecessary chat forums or watching too much TV.
So if you are facing bad or gloomy days in your life, just take a pause and think why is it that you are facing such a situation. Is there anything you lack and if you bridge that gap, you would be able to excel. Whenever you are failing in exams there has to be a reason of failing. If the ICAI is passing the students and you are not passing, there has to be some fault in your approach and identifying that gap might help you clear the exams. In one of my earlier posts – “Revision Is The Key To Unlock Super Success In Exams” I have tried to help students identify a plan to revise before the exams so that there retention curve is always on the up.
So, go and work hard on your studies, work hard on your profession, work very hard in your articleship, improve your communication skills, improve your networking skills, improve your CV, make a profile on LinkedIn, try to create your own personal website (Your Personal Website: A Great Tool To Get Your Dream Job). I can assure that by becoming a better person, you can certainly expect to have more bright and sunny days.
But most importantly, remember to enjoy your life and savor each and every moment of it. Savor your articleship experience from wherever is it, savor the people you meet, savor your family relationship, savor the good things that have happened in your life. Thank God for everything and be grateful for all that you have got.
I hope this article is of use to you and you would be able to get something out of it. Wishing you all the best in you life. Do well.
Authored by Nimish Goel (www.nimishgoel.com), a qualified chartered accountant who’s passion is to coach young chartered accountants and aspiring students achieve the best in their life. Nimish used to work with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe. He now runs his own consulting company and runs a blog www.nimishgoel.com. He can be reached for any queries and issues on his blog.