Two ads caught my fancy. One was from Eureka Forbes and the other, MARG. The former wanted an MBA below 35, with six years experience, for an advertising and sales promotion manager. MARG wanted a Research assistant for qualitative research. I was above 35, had neither MBA nor six years in the corporate sector but was interested . I applied for both jobs. Got both and decided to join Eureka Forbes. Sometimes the choices you make take you make take you to places you don’t dream of!
From the sober environment of a family owned company to a fast paced direct marketing organization, was a culture shock .The average age of managers was twenty four and I was way past that. The place reverberated with the running feet of rat racers. I was a slow runner with no ambition to get wherever. I knew I was out of sync and wished I had taken the MARG. offer. But no looking back .There was plenty to learn here too. First – how to whip up your obsession for a product before you try to excite the buyer about it .In the saree show room, I learnt how to sell to customers who come looking for a product. In Eureka Forbes, the product went to a possible customer and persuaded her to go for it. As an advertising manager, there was nothing much to do in a direct marking outfit which did not advertise. But I could use my creativity in coming up with motivational posters for the salesmen and thinking of innovative sales promotion schemes. Since we participated in home products exhibitions, all over India , I had a fun time setting up the stall and attending to curious customers .Just to understand the sales techniques, I accompanied our sales representatives on their house to house calls. I also edited EUROCHAMP, the house journal and took care of stationery design and printing for the branches.
The president, a direct marketing expert and I , had a love/hate relationship. He loved playing corporate games and I hated it. Once, he wanted to know why I do not stay back after working hours, like others do. I politely told him I had no intention of just hanging around to be seen. All my colleagues were either single or newly married and on the fast track of their career. To be in the office for long hours, especially since the president worked till late, gave them an opportunity to be visible. I had no such compulsions and home had better attractions ! the president introduced a lunch – together culture in the office. All managers were to converge in the conference room at lunchtime and share their lunch .Once a week one person would bring home –made food for everyone. It was a good way to break barriers and improve interpersonal relations. Unfortunately, it became another platform to show one up – man ship with each one trying to outdo the other in making the boss laugh. After a few such sessions, I quietly withdrew and started having lunch at my desk, as usual. The president’s secretary gave me subtle hints every day about her boss being upset but I was equally subtle in telling her my lunch hour was my prerogative and I could use it my way. Gradually, others too came out, one by one, as I had belled the cat !