Your first official step into the adult world is your ‘first job’.
I have an elder brother who is an IT engineer. I have seen him working for a good 5-6 years now, or maybe more. He is a person who knows his worth and makes it translate into monetary benefit for him as well.
When he came home with the offer letter of his first job in his hand, our family was the happiest. Apparently, he had grabbed one of the better (and rather good) packages through his placement, purely on his merit. We were very proud.
Within months I saw him buy all kinds of stuff that he had on hold for a long time. Well yeah, he is one person who knows what to buy if he earns two bucks or two thousand bucks.
My rendezvous with the ‘job’ life
CUT TO my venture into the world of finding jobs and then finally getting some offers. I went with the expectation of a salary based on my brother’s first salary.
Let me put it out there first that my field of work and my brother’s field are poles apart. I forgot to take that into consideration.
I had come to Mumbai to pursue my Diploma course in Filmmaking and wished to get a job here itself because the ‘industry’ is here. Duh!
So, I went about giving my interviews answering the last question (and a pretty awkward one), i.e. “What is your expectation from this job?”
Loosely translated, it means, “Paisa kitna maangta hai!”
Even though I felt REALLY AWKWARD saying it out loud, but I mentioned an amount based on the first salary of my brother, and once I did, I got pretty much similar responses from a lot of companies.
Basically, their eyes would widen like Tulsi’s when she would come to know that Mihir has come back from the dead, yet again.
Many of them never mentioned the amount they had in mind after that. Just one of them did, and that’s when I had the Tulsi reaction. They were planning on giving less than half the amount that I had mentioned and they exclaimed, “This is also on the higher side.”
They asked me to sleep over it and respond. But I don’t think they had left any scope for me to give any answers. I told them that had this been any other city I might have considered their offer, but here, I WILL DIE OF STARVATION.
I indeed understand that it is difficult to place your bets on a complete fresher, but dude, there can’t be a second if there is no first. Everyone starts somewhere.
(Fun Fact: The same job was offered to my classmate for half the amount that was offered to me, to the level where there was no difference between a stipend and a salary.)
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When reality came like a slap in the face
Mumbai is THE MOST EXPENSIVE CITY IN INDIA, and now that I’m on a house-hunting spree, I KNOW WHY!
The rent that gives me a 1 small dingy room to be shared with 2 or 3 people here in Mumbai, is giving my brother a penthouse in Bangalore where he has his own room; a terrace garden and a pool. *rolls eyes*
After giving a lot of such interviews, I understood the basic offer of the companies I approached, which was at least 25% less than my brother’s first salary.
I understand that it is not exactly appropriate to compare the salaries of two starkly different professions. But I only mean to highlight the difference.
What I have noticed is, that professions which fall into the stereotypical definition of ‘creative jobs’ or anything other than the conventional professions of doctor or engineer, specifically in the ‘content creation industries’, are starkly underpaid.
Not that conventional professions like engineering or teaching do not require a creative bent.
That is a huge misconception. And that is the cause of such meagre salaries for ‘artistic jobs’.
What is the reason for this difference?
Are we racking our brains any less? No.
Is my profession any less valuable? Nope.
Am I working for lesser hours? Definitely not!
Imagine what would happen if the basic salary of a person like me and a ‘first-time engineer’, are the same. A parent would never force their child into a certain profession against their will. They tend to do it because they want their child to have a stable income. If either of the jobs provide a similar and dignified amount, the choice of profession will finally BE A CHOICE!
Why else do you think parents force their children to take up Science or Commerce instead of Humanities? Think!
Just like my brother, I had some stuff on hold for a long time, hoping to buy them when I finally get the ‘salaried’ tag. But the situation that I see now is barely allowing me to fulfil my basics given the exorbitant rents, and travel and food expenses required here for a DECENT LIFE.
I am suddenly reminded of a scene from The Devil Wears Prada, where Anne Hathway and her friends raise a toast saying “To jobs that pay the rent.”
But let’s not reduce ourselves to jobs that pay ONLY THE RENT!
Image Credits: Google Images