Thursday, July 4, 2013

"How writing for our college newspaper helped me land a job"

When Commits alumna Mallika Harsha (Class of 2010), was hired by Saatchi&Saatchi as a copywriter in Bangalore, she told me excitedly over the phone: "My articles in YO helped me get the job!" Afterwards she wrote this e-mail to me (YO, or Your Opinion, was the name of the college newspaper till July 2011, when it was changed to The Chronicle):


I owe this to you. Thank you for helping me overcome my fear of writing.
In my opinion, this is my personal fairytale. A modern-day fairytale of course, but a fairytale nonetheless. And I'm taking a chance with writing about it in the Chronicle knowing full well that after having painted such a rosy picture I can't complain about it later, but that's a choice I've already made, I suppose.

Okay, so since it's a modern-day fairytale, let's give the once-upon-a-times and happily-ever-afters a skip. I'm not going to build suspense and reveal it all at the end and neither am I going to take you through the emotionally draining journey till I actually got to the point of writing about it for the Chronicle.

So, the point being: I recently bagged a job at Saatchi&Saatchi. (They haven't given me a designation yet, but it'll most probably be that of copywriter).

When Saatchi called me for an interview, I wasn't expecting to be hired. The interview lasted an hour in which I spoke for 20 minutes and got grilled for the next 40. At the end of which I was told to write a copy test the next day. So, there I was again at the Saatchi office, expecting to spend the next couple of hours writing essay-type questions.


I had already sent them a profile of the work I did at my previous job. And earlier that day, I was asked by the creative head to send them all the other work I had done (written work to be precise) like articles and other published work. I had nothing but YO articles to send (which also I found on my email with great difficulty because I wasn't carrying any of it around with me), and I did that — sent the few articles I could find. And the rest of the time, I spent mentally preparing myself for the gruelling test that evening.

Back to the office scene

I was asked to sit in a cabin. I was waiting to be administered the copy test. Then the creative director walked in and said, "I went through your articles. Why didn't you send these to us before?" I didn't know what to say. Even I couldn't think of a good enough reason.  What he said after this is what makes me proud to relate this story at all.

He said based on what he had read he would skip the copy test!

Saatchi&Saatchi did not take a copy test based on my YO work! I was stumped, so much so that when he told me they'd like me to join them, I burst out laughing — to his face (I got an earful for that too, but that's a different story).

I'm going to be under probation for a while, in which time I'm supposed to "show them what I'm made up of" — that's what they've told me. Too good to be true? I think so too. There has to be a catch, na? But I'm ready to take this on! It's "my big break" (as Sai Sir put it), so I'm going to put in my all to prove myself here.

I'm glad I wrote for YO while I was in college, it was great learning for me and I loved it. I'm glad I could use such a platform to get the job I had only dreamt of. Thank you would just be an understatement for all the support I've got so far. So, I'm just going to sign off  here, 'cause the longer this email gets, the more people will want to hunt me down and chase me.

I'm so proud and high on confidence right now that if I wrote any more, I'd just be bragging. So, I'm going to stop here, just glad I could share my experience.


ALSO FROM THE COMMITS CHRONICLE ARCHIVES: The November-December 2009 issue of Your Opinion, or YO, was a fabulous 10-pager, the first in Commits history. That was an opportune moment, therefore, to ask past co-editors and current editorial board members to share their thoughts on the issue and also to reflect on how YO has evolved over the years, from a black-and-white “lab journal” to a professional college newspaper, the “jewel in the Commits crown”, as our website refers to it. It was also an occasion to think about how the students’ involvement with YO has benefited them. Read what they all have to say here: "Jai YO!"

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