I, unfortunately, grew up during a period when people had to struggle hard to find employment - in those days there were not many job opportunities. Or, perhaps, this was a problem peculiar to me and there were no job opportunities for me alone - employers, after one hard look at me, probably gauged at once I was not fit for employment.
I think the second reason was more apt. There were a few employers who did make an error in judgement and employed me only to regret later; I found myself not cut for the jobs and quit within few months.
Actually, the kind of jobs I had landed were not to my liking, but I had taken them up anyway to get over my frustration of unemployment. The fact is I had not tried to discover what my real liking was; I had not tried to find out which job would suit me best. I simply followed my friends. If they were doing well in a marketing job, I would try for a marketing position; if they were happy working in a service industry I too turned my attention in that direction.
That's how it was progressing. One day I met a friend whom I had not seen for a long time.
The conversation naturally veered to what we were doing. It turned out he was pursuing a course in journalism. That, of course, set me thinking that journalism was the only career for me; I had never written an original sentence ever in my life but that did not deter me from believing I was cut to become a journalist.
So, I quit whatever I was doing and took admission in the course during the next academic year. Few months after completing the course, I did find employment as a cub reporter in a local newspaper. The work offered me a lot of freedom; I did not have to stay cooped in an office for eight hours every day. I fell in love with the work.
At last, I thought to myself, I had found my true calling.
After the end of each day's work the chief reporter would assign the next day's responsibilities; one day it fell upon me to cover a meeting convened by aggrieved clients of a failing bank. Apart from a few fiery speeches, I wasn't likely to find a juicy story, I thought to myself. But the assignment had to be done and I presented myself for the meeting at the appointed time.
There were a few fiery speeches, just as I had expected. Where was the story? I decided to meet the chief of the bank depositors' association and gather few details as to what had caused the bank to fall on bad days. As I made my way towards him, a depositor, correctly guessing from the writing pad in my hand that I was a reporter, wanted to know for which newspaper I worked.
I told him.
The man sneered.
Now, I must tell you that just like a person, a newspaper too has admirers and detractors in equal measure and, of course, there might be a large majority which is ignorant of the newspaper's existence. The newspaper, for which I worked, also had its share of fans and detractors, and the person before me belonged to the latter class. I don't know why the man was against my newspaper; perhaps the policy pursued by the newspaper went against his own views. But he was definitely one who wouldn't care to read my newspaper even if it were provided free to him.
"Stop working for that newspaper; resign from your job; quit," he advised.
I was taken aback by the piece of advice. After a long struggle I had found myself a job and one that I liked, and here was a man who wanted me to leave the job!
"Are you planning to start your own newspaper?" I asked him. "Perhaps, you may hire me," I said hopefully.
"Why should I start a newspaper?" he countered.
"Then, perhaps, you might consider providing me with unemployment benefits," I said.
"Why should I do that?" he shot back scornfully.
This man was not keen on providing me with a job nor with unemployment benefits and yet he wanted me to leave my present job. Not a good proposition, I said to myself. Needless to say I did not heed his advice.