Pardon me if I sound a little tetchy this Saturday morning.
But is there a single young person in all of the great sovereign socialist secular republic of India who has ever ever ever ever found an internship of any kind using their own mental and physical faculties?
Or is every single one of these fellows shamelessly, and cluelessly, mooching off their aunts and uncles and parents and neighbours and anyone vaguely corporate-like in their social circles?
Because if I get one more vague “dude can you help my friend’s neighbour get an internship in a creative type industry’ email I swear to God I am going to enrol in a driving school, get a licence for light commercial vehicles, buy a second hand Eicher pick-up from Tirupur, wait outside colleges in Mumbai and Delhi, and then drive over everyone who comes out after class. Of course, I may end up killing a few future IAS officers, budding politicians or prospective economists. That would just be a pleasant added bonus.
I am fed up I tell you. Hey, you young people! Come here! *Smacks them over the head with a dictionary* Go find your own internships and work experience and jobs and what not you lazy little fiends!
Let me explain the wellspring of this emotional outburst.
Recently I received an email from an acquaintance asking me to help a young person find an internship. I told him I would happy to do everything I could. Did this young person know what kind of internship he wanted? Newspaper? Magazine? TV-hahahaha-journalism? Helicopter sales? Social media consulting?
My acquaintance suggested that I speak to the young person directly in order to be given a more well-rounded picture of his/her career aspirations and internship objectives.
Immediately I felt the bottom of my stomach sink. I had a bad feeling. Like that feeling you get when suddenly everyone in the office is summoned into the conference room by a grim CEO, and there are no cakes or samosas or cornettos in sight. Shudder.
Clearly this young person had approached my acquaintance with no specific mandate.
I hesitantly agreed to a quick online chat session with the candidate in question. Edited excerpts.
Young person: “Hello!”
Sidin: “Hello! So tell me what you want to do.”
YP: “I was thinking of doing something creative.”
S: “Like? Print media? TV?”
YP: “Anything creative is ok. What do you think I should do?”
S with his face in his hands: “Well there are so many creative things these days. Are you looking for something you can later do full time? Or are you looking to just explore various corporate environments?”
YP: “Yes, of course sir. Also internship is compulsory in our college. So that is also there.”
S Googling up “How to dislocate own shoulder”: “So any sector is ok? Not necessarily creative?”
YP: “Yeah but it has to be in Mass Communications. That is the rule.”
S slowly gouging his own eye out with a ball point pen: “Ok. But you are thinking of this from a career point of view?”
YP: “Yeah maybe.”
S: “So from a career point of view what are you thinking of doing in the future? After Mass Comm.”
YP: “I don’t know. Maybe an MBA.”
S: “Ah ok. So then why don’t you do something on the business side of a media publication? Like marketing or sales or branding…”
YP: “No sir. Business is so boring sir… Something creative is better na…”
S whilst winding one end of a metal wire around his own toe and inserting the other end into power socket: “I am getting a little confused now. Tell me this…what job do you eventually think you will be doing in a few years time after all your education…”
YP: “Honestly sir, I want to become a cricket commentator.”
S with finger poised over switch: “Ok. I know some people in cricket. Can you send me a resume than I can circulate?”
YP: “Ok. Sir do you have a sample resume?”
S tearfully reminisces a reasonably full life, a tender marriage, wishes Sachin Baby all the best, and flips the switch.
I exaggerate, of course. I switched the electricity off after a few minutes.
The exasperating thing is that this conversation is by no means uncommon. I have various infuriating versions of this exchange at least four or five times every year. And not just with young college goers. But also with slightly older business school and postgraduate types.
What a waste. Especially now in 2013. When everything you can possibly want to know about sectors in general, and companies in particular, are so widely available online. There is no reason to embark on an internship hunt without plenty of information and insight and contact details.
I am not saying that everyone should be a Steve Jobs and just call up Bill Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard on the phone for an internship. (Actually you should. You can tell much about a company by the way it throws you out.)
But then I am assuming you genuinely want to learn as an intern. Maybe you are doing it because it is “compulsory”.
Cubiclenama takes a weekly look at pleasures and perils of corporate life. Your comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read Sidin Vadukut’s previous columns, go to www.livemint.com/cubiclenama