Monday, January 13, 2014


As Commits students from the Class of 2014 take their first steps in the media industry, a look back at how their super-seniors coped with "First-Day Nerves" (an excerpt from The Commits Chronicle blog post of January 15, 2011):

Your first day as a full-time employee can be fraught with anxiety. The questions whirling in your mind can range from "Am I dressed appropriately?" to "Will I be able to cope?" Day One can also be supremely memorable, with everything going your way thanks to an understanding boss and cheerful colleagues who make it easy for you to fit in right away.

Some Commitscions from the Class of 2011 have begun working already, though they graduate only in June and, technically, they are still students. Most were lucky enough to have enjoyed their first day at work. So what was the day really like? Did they have butterflies in their stomach? Were they confident? Who was the first person they met in their department? Did their colleagues make them feel welcome? What can their juniors learn from them about how to behave on their Day One?

By Sindhu Pawar
Junior PR Executive for Lifestyle and Entertainment,
Nucleus, Bangalore

My first day at work was good. I was not at all nervous; in fact, I was confident and this confidence is definitely thanks to Commits. :-)

The first person I met in office was the business head. She introduced me to everyone around, and then, like in every PR agency, my day started with "tracking" newspapers, and that meant reading all the newspapers, which I love. And, yes, my colleagues made me feel comfortable and they are very helpful and sweet people.

From my “Day One Experience”, what I would say to my juniors is that there is no need to panic or feel nervous; just be confident, and if you do not know something, show your enthusiasm to learn. It is not rocket science, and so what if it is? Nobody will scold you for not knowing something; instead they will be happy to teach you. If I were to pick three words that count on Day One, they would be CONFIDENCE, PASSION, and ENTHUSIASM. You should feel
and show all three. But never be over-confident, always be humble. :)

In my first week itself I was associated with an event for a cause where actor Akshay Kumar was invited, and many more events followed. But the first big project which I got to handle independently was to oversee the PR for a photography exhibition for one of our clients, a professional photographer. It was an amazing experience and I got to learn a lot. You feel happier when your work is recognised and appreciated by your boss, which actually increases your responsibilities.

Right now I am the only Commitscion here at Nucleus but my boss, who has a decade's experience in PR and is one of the partners of the agency, is impressed and wants more Commitscions. She asks me every day to set up interviews with students from Commits as there is another vacancy. I have informed all my classmates but the ones who are interested in PR have already been placed.

I was not interested initially in PR but I grabbed this opportunity because my work is related to the lifestyle and entertainment industries and I have always wanted to do something related to entertainment, though I do want to explore other fields in the future.

I came to Commits to study marketing, but I also got a chance to study a lot of things like photography, cinema, etc., so I not only learnt other media subjects but also developed new passions. Our second semester news bulletin project was the most memorable for me. I still remember the full-of-effort four-day shoot
it was most enjoyable and something I am always going to remember. :)

I thank you and every faculty member at Commits for giving me an opportunity to learn and for helping me to chase and realise my dreams. And thank you for letting me describe my experience: I am glad I got an opportunity to share my thoughts. MISSING COMMITS :(

By Satish Perumal
Account Executive, Percept/H, Bangalore

My first day at work was absolutely superb. I walked in with a lot of confidence because I realised I had finally accomplished something in life.

I was never a great student at the PU and undergrad levels and had got a lot of stick for it, but when I sat in my chair here at Percept/H and looked back I felt content and satisfied. One thought that popped into my head: "I have made my critics eat humble pie." I know for sure now that no one should question people's abilities; all are capable of doing great things if they set their minds to do them.

My first job may not have been very significant
I was asked to prepare a presentation and generate an idea for a client. My boss liked what I did, though, and he congratulated me. He has now asked me to present the idea in Hyderabad early next month to the board of directors.

By Padmini Nandy Mazumder
News Trainee, CNN-IBN, New Delhi

I did not have butterflies in my stomach (by the way, how cliched is that?). I was kind of confident because I have worked on the ticker desk before, during my internship last year.

Astha Rawat, whom I met during my internship, was the first person in. So I met her and I was really happy to see her because she's become a good friend and she 'fought' to get me here :)

CNN-IBN always makes everyone feel at home and welcome. Attitude towards work here is casual but not laid back. The first official thing? Made the scroller for the rest of the day and everything I typed went on air without having to be checked by anyone. :)


By Pooja Menon
Client Servicing Trainee, Saatchi & Saatchi Focus, Bangalore

On my first day at work I was a little nervous because I did not  know what to expect. When I entered the office Mallika Harsha (my senior from Commits) handed me a bouquet and said that Malavika Ma'am [Malavika Harita, the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Focus] had sent it as a welcome gesture. That made my day! Then later on in the day I was introduced to everyone; they were all really nice to me.

For my first assignment, I was given Saatchi's white book and black book to go through. These books contain all the work the agency has done over the years and each has 200 pages, so that occupied me for most of the day.

By the end of the day all my anxiety and nervousness had vanished, and I had begun to get a feel of how the agency works.

The key to making your first day a success is to observe everything that is happening around you. Ask questions if need be, this will help later on. And, also, talk to all your colleagues; be friendly but not over-friendly.

By Archita Nadgouda
PR Trainee,
Edelman, Bangalore

I had been dreading the thought of my first day at work for months, so on Day One I was a bit nervous and worried about making the oh-so-important "first impression".

I even practised introducing myself to everybody in the office.

But the friendly atmosphere at Edelman on that first day immediately relaxed me and my nervousness was soon forgotten.

Though it's been just a month and I have miles to go (in terms of learning the "tricks of the trade"), I’m pretty happy with my performance at work and the way it’s shaping up and for this I give the entire credit to my extremely helpful colleagues and my boss. I was put on the job right from Day One and my first official assignment was to issue a press release to the media and make follow-up calls, which I did perfectly because I already had some experience from my previous internship.

My advice to my juniors is actually to follow your advice, Sir: "Love your job, and your job will love you back." Enjoy what you do thoroughly and don't look at your job only as the means to make money to buy your favourite stuff. Also, you should have a learning attitude at all times... you never know which information will come in handy at what time! :)


By Apar Dham
Information Manager, Explocity, Bangalore

When I was asked to write about my first day at work and I got to thinking about how to begin, it struck me suddenly that one of the most important days of my life has been ruined for me forever… even before I could experience it. My wedding night! Yes, that's what I'm talking about because I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t much difference between your first day at work and your wedding night.

You are very excited and eager about all the impending action, but you do not know where to begin and how to go about it. Right? You are eager to explore and learn new things but you are scared of pushing the wrong buttons. Right?

Well, that is how my first day at Explocity was. I was pumped up to begin a new phase in my life but I was also a little nervous about that dreaded “first impression”. Trust me, it matters a lot. I wore my favourite formal shirt and combed my hair twice! Yes, your appearance is important and distinct from your capability to do your job. Not all of us are blessed with a great body but then one has to understand that there is a significant difference in the way one dresses for college and for work.

Next: What do you say on the first day? Well, it depends on your job profile. I didn’t say much, I observed and observed and observed. One needs to understand that one is the latest entrant in the office (and at times one may be the youngest, too); everyone else has been there for some time and has a certain chemistry and comfort level with the others. Try to observe the office hierarchy and the way people function around you.

But at the same time this doesn’t mean that you play deaf and mute all day. As our professors have taught us, there is no such thing as a stupid question. So do not hesitate. Ask whenever you feel the need to. Everyone in the office knows that you are new. People will be glad to help you, provided you ask in the right manner and at the right time. But for heaven’s sake, please do not ask questions like “Is this Saturday an off-day for us?”

Coming back to the observation bit, I clearly remember looking at almost everyone in office and creating an imaginary ladder in my head, dreaming of a world five to ten years from now when I would have gone past all these colleagues and would be sitting in that elusive cabin at the end of the corridor. Ha! Don’t do that! Though I know everyone will and everyone does. It is inevitable.

Talking about colleagues, it is vital that you understand this isn’t college any more and there will be all sorts of people that you will encounter. There will be some who will come to you and introduce yourself and some who will not bother. Take this as an opportunity and take the initiative to familiarise yourself with your workmates. Remember, you do not work with a company, you work with the people at the company. Move around and introduce yourself, sit with your team during lunch, take tea breaks with them, and try to get comfortable with everyone. It helps a lot.

Above all, have fun and try to enjoy yourself. As a wise man once remarked, “If you love what you do, you won't have to work a single day in your life.”

Baaki to bhaiyya, all is well! :)

By Sabika Mirza
Management Trainee,
Lodestar UM, Bangalore

To be honest, my first day didn't go the way I thought it would (though the days that followed were brilliant). There is a lot of work at a media agency, so at first no one found time to talk to me on Day One; it was only by lunchtime that the people around me became more relaxed and that's when the group head spoke with me.

The juniors should know that it takes time for your colleagues to get used to you, and with time you start enjoying the work environment. So take it slow if need be; when it comes to getting to know your work mates better, speed is NOT of the essence.

Now, I love my work. I am mostly in the office from 9.30 am to 8.30 pm; once, recently, I was at work till midnight. But then if you are really passionate about your work, you won’t mind staying back late.

We're all going to Jaipur now for a conference. It’s an event where we will get to meet people from other Lodestar offices. It's going to be business mixed with pleasure so we have all been practising our dance steps in the office! The atmosphere, as you can imagine, has been brilliant. The conference is going to be a great opportunity to network and to get to know other Lodestar employees better.

By Debmalya Dutta
Sub-editor, The Statesman, Kolkata

The most interesting thing about my new job at the moment is that I am working the 6 pm-1.30 am shift. As you'd know, these timings are fully compatible with my biological clock!

Interestingly, on the first day, it took me a little time to switch modes from intern to journalist; I think it will be a couple of days before it sinks in that I'm a full-time employee now. (I kept on asking my seniors for permission to even go to the wash-room.)

I've already made friends with quite a few of my colleagues, and the others, I hope, will come on board soon. There are quite a few in my age group and they are a nice bunch.

Day One wasn't exceptional in terms of butterflies in the stomach; I believe that should be the case with all those who are confident about themselves and know their job I guess, after completing the rigorous journalism programme at Commits and after being told at The Statesman that I am the best candidate they have had in four years, I've earned some bragging rights ;-).

On the first day, I edited about five stories and proofed two pages. Now, I have been assigned pagination full-time.

My sincere thanks to all of you at Commits for teaching me what it means to be a professional.


By Ajay Kurpad
Copywriter, Saatchi & Saatchi Focus, Bangalore

9.30 am. November 7, 2010. The day seemed normal enough until 9.29 am. Waking up late, riding like a maniac through the equally insane traffic of Bengaluru, and rushing up the stairway to what I can safely refer to now as my new Heaven. Yes, all this was very normal. I had been doing this throughout most of my college life.

But then, suddenly, everything seemed to slow down. You could call it a moment of enlightenment, but this Buddha (He might be fuming now that I have compared myself with Him) was standing under a board which read 'Saatchi & Saatchi Focus'. "Wow!" I thought. "I'm actually going to be working here. I'm actually going to create ads, come up with new ideas, generate content out of nowhere, and showcase my work to the world." However, this small bubble in my head suddenly popped when I saw Malavika Ma'am smiling at me. The first person I met at work here was also my teacher at Commits. She was going to be the Ranita Hirji of my professional life (Ranita Ma'am had already mentioned some traits the two shared when it comes to handling people like me).

But this sense of fear and doubt seemed to disappear when Malavika Ma'am presented me with a bouquet and welcomed me to what I hope will be a long and exciting adventure. She directed me to my desk which had nothing but a computer and a telephone. I learnt later that this was my territory and I'm entitled to personalise the area as I wish.

Then I was introduced to Deepak Thammaiah. A copywriter who would mentor me. So I, Luke Skywalker, toiled under my Master Yoda as he put me through rigorous tests. It was like being in a video game. Sometimes I was what I would like to call a 'storm-water brain' filled to the brim with rubbish ideas, and sometimes I was Superman, flying high with my great idea but with my underwear in the right place. When he thought I was ready, Deepak resigned. He now works with Draft FCB-Ulka. I actually saw him typing out his resignation letter the day I joined so it was obvious that he was just serving his notice period.

The initial days involved small victories and sometimes heavy losses, too. At first, when I got the rope, I always ended up tying a noose for myself. Now, I can say that I have learnt the ropes of the job to some extent. But there is a certain professor of journalism at Commits who told me that execution is everything. I'm trying not to allow my creative director to execute me ever time I send him copy (I report directly to him now).

That same certain professor taught us English grammar from scratch. Well, thank you, Mr. Ramesh Prabhu, for what I think was one of the most important modules during my academic life at Commits. Because grammar goes way beyond just journalism. It transcends into other media as well.

Today, I have to my credit quite a few ads and campaigns. The whole idea is to let people trust you with work. There are deadlines, deadlines which involve money, money which runs into lakhs and crores, and there are lakhs and crores of people who will notice your work, and your work is only done by being part of a team, and the team has to trust you with work. Pretty vicious circle, but that is why advertising is not a square.

When it comes to advertising, being yourself is everything. At the end of the day, if you go through the books that showcase ads, the names of the people involved in the making of the ads are also mentioned. So what matters, ultimately, is that you have to create a name for yourself in this field.

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