Tell us about a time when you managed to extract yourself from a sticky situation at the very last minute.
I got selected to work in a multinational Information Technology firm when I was in college. Since I had taken an acceptance approach to life and stopped doing effort or struggle, I didn’t apply for any other job even when I had plenty of opportunities. Since recession hit the IT market, I had to wait for about 1.5 years before I got on-board and our training started. The training was so much fun and also had some testing times–but it was all very exciting.
We were supposed to take tests for training modules on programming languages like Java, C, C++ and on some other subjects which were general in nature. All my student life I had never cheated in any exams. I never felt the need and after quickly finishing the quizzes off, I used to sit in the back and watch other students cheat; it used to be so much fun! Maybe I tried it once or twice in the class 9th, but it was so disgusting an experience, with almost no advantage that I decided to continue with my earnest attitude. Here, in the training academy for job, the tests were really tough or seemed so, since, I had never taken a keen interest in programming languages. Though the basics of these languages were there in my syllabus of electronics and communication engineering, I somehow managed to pass without even learning the basics. I used to be worried about coping with them thinking how will I manage-when I start to work in an IT firm, but my friends used to encourage me that those companies had their training programs and my prey-to-optimism-pollyanna-nature made me feel assured.
Here, given the test duration and the difficulty level of the subject matter being asked in the quizzes, it was next to impossible for students of average intelligence, like me, to pass the examinations. Everyone else, except me, was cheating in the tests. We had dummies of question papers too! I failed in two subjects. Now, I had to take re-tests. If I failed in two more revaluations–it meant I would be thrown out of the organization and I was going to take a course to pilgrimage to Haridwar as I often used to say to my colleagues!
Now, under the circumstances, taking suggestions from my close friends, I decided to cheat on tests. We sat as per the plan so that we may cheat easily. Since I had no experience in cheating, I was clumsy. I didn’t see that there were two invigilators in the hall. I just observed the one in front of us and overlooked the one sitting on the left side on back benches! As soon as the test began, I also started staring at the monitor of the girl who was sitting in my front row. We had agreed to help each other…ahem…I mean, she had agreed to help me! Unaware of the existence of the second invigilator, I tried to look at the answers marked by her, for one or two questions, when, all of a sudden, I heard a voice from behind “Leave the examination hall!” Then very soon, I felt a pat on back, and again the same instructions.
I was ashamed and embarrassed. I didn’t utter even a single word in my defense. Then he got a call and he had to go to attend a meeting. He asked the second-in-command to throw me out of the hall. As soon as he was gone, the second invigilator came to me and said “He will be back anytime, it will be nice if you finish before he comes.” Now I felt the earth shattering and I felt like entering into it. I felt the world was shaking and I was tearing apart.
No, actually I felt nothing like that. As said before, it was all a game for me. I didn’t care much for it and was ready to leave for pilgrimage anytime, but yes, I felt a mild anxiety and a rush of adrenaline. I had barely gone through the question paper. I was creating a record of being expelled out of the examination hall in a record time. The exam duration was about 90 minutes and within the first 10 minutes I was supposed to go out! I started answering questions as quickly as possible. I had put answers as they seemed fit without rethinking, with the fear of invigilator hovering on my mind. I did it so fast that I had never done it before or after that. I submitted answers to all questions, without any help, within 7 minutes and hit “Submit” button! “71%” I saw on the result screen! Wow! Had I really cleared this exam?
What happened? Previously I attended similar examination, worked for full 90 minutes and failed. This time I was compelled by the circumstances to put all the answers in 7 minutes and I passed decently! A miracle? Indeed! How? I never knew. Life wanted to postpone my pilgrimage. It wanted me to work in the IT industry for next 3 years! I indeed felt like passing by the skin of my hair( or hair of the skin? what is that witty expression, again?) Truth be told, I didn’t manage to extract myself from nothing. It just happened!