Wednesday, February 17, 2010
When I arrived in Bombay it was very hot. I didn’t realize at the time that it was uncharacteristically hot for Feb. The hot weather actually scared me because I didn’t know if I could handle the summer heat which reaches about 50 degrees Celsius. At 32, I was sweating from head to toe. Wearing a suite in hot weather is also not very comfortable. I noticed that the uniform here in Bombay is just a shirt and pants, no tie or jacket. Since I was having interviews I had to wear the full attire and it was stinking hot.
A few observations from Bombay are as follows:
1) During a job interview I have never been asked about my family background. I was asked without a smile on the man’s face if I could describe my family in detail. Once I had done so he looked satisfied and moved on to more traditional questions.
Family history matters in India. It shows that you’re a credible candidate for the job and that you are a trustworthy individual.
On the same subject of interviews, referrals are very important. It is very difficult to get attention in Bombay without knowing someone else. One of my ideas for getting a job was to hand out my resume everywhere. I was instructed by recruitment agencies and people in business that I would not get a nibble of interest because I was not referred to them. It is very important that they know you are trustworthy and that you come from a good background.
2) Indians hate disappointing. If you are looking for something and you ask an Indian where to go they will instruct you 2 blocks then take a left. The thing is they have no clue and are just trying to be friendly. Getting to Bombay I feel like the same thing happened with my recruitment contacts. They had told me for months that they knew many people and that I should come to Bombay to meet and that I would have many meetings.
This has not really come true. The meetings that I have had did not come from the recruitment agencies but through various other networking avenues. I guess it’s just the Indian way to be over friendly to the point of falsifying the truth.
3) The Indian markets are walking on egg shells. This observation is important because firms are scared to hire at this present moment. In the end the interviews are turning more into face to face meetings where I am being short listed for the hiring process in Late April or early June. The short list comprises of only 3 individuals including me so I am optimistic on that point. As well firms will do their interviews via phone once the hiring starts so I am not at a disadvantage.
4) I have had a very hard time finding Ex Patriots here in Bombay. I have looked online to find how I can meet anyone or if Ex Pats meet at any one location to hang out but I have come up with nothing. My strategy is to go to bars where I know Ex Pats frequent and start a convo with anyone that looks foreign. This strategy is a dodgy one at best but I think it’s the only way to really get in contact with an Ex pat.
The reason that I want to meet Ex Pats is because I want to know certain answers to my many questions. Such as:
How hot is it really in Summer?
Do you like living in Bombay?
How much is rent?
5) It is impossible and I mean impossible to watch the Superbowl in India. I had met 2 Americans and we went to every bar in Bombay and not one bar was showing the SuperBowl. That was very discouraging because I love the Saints, the Saints are my team!! Well I missed the SuperBowl and my team won. WHO DAT NATION!
As well on the same topic the Winter Olympics are just as hard to find. I tried to watch the downhill skiing last night and no bar would let me stay that late. I even called the Canadian Consulate pleading them to have a TV on at all times for the Olympics but they told me they wouldn’t do it.
I’m going to keep trying…