Couple of months ago I found out that there is an opening in a multinational company in Karachi in the area of finance for the position of Manager/Director. I asked my friend who knew the present director to forward my CV.
He called me up today saying that they have informed him that I am ‘too hi-fi’ for the position. I said I want to come back home and would happily come at a lower salary and reduced my asking salary to around Rs. 2 lacs. His reply was that the salary you are asking is not an issue. “Then what is the issue?” I asked. They say you are a high flyer_specifically mentioning my foreign qualification. I was dumb founded.
I would have preferred an excuse like “Istikharay mein naam nahin aaya”. I would even have accepted that my experience does not fit the job description.
I grew up as a member of middle class society. There were certain organizations especially multinationals that preferred that their employees especially in upper cadres belong to certain areas i.e., defence, clifton, PECHS and look down upon people living in middle class or lower class areas. I have seen prospects of growth improving for people considerably once they have moved from North Karachi to Defence.
I did not or could not move to Defence but supplemented my education with a foreign degree from one of the better known institutions hoping to improve my prospects. I did not realize that the same qualification would become a handicap. I have heard stories about people being told in interviews that they are overqualified for the position but this was a multinational and my background perfectly suited the role.
It reminded me of the time when I was looking for my first job in 2000. The nuclear blast followed by Musharraf’s coup had resulted in sanctions and there weren’t many jobs to go around. My father found me a reference and I went to see him with a copy of CV in my hand. After looking at my CV, he said, “I have a friend who is looking for a junior position employee and I could have easily placed you there only if you had one year of experience.” I told him (in my mind), “A$$40le, if I had some experience, would I have come to you?”
Some time ago, I had forwarded my CV to the local central bank. The HR head, according to my friend who works there, commented that “this is one of the better CVs I have seen in my career. However, the guy does not have a central banking experience.” Would someone ask him how many central banks are there in a country so that one could gain experience at one before applying to the other?
There was a time when before applying for a position, I would consider whether I am under-qualified for the position. Now I have to consider otherwise.
PS: This is not a complaint. Just some observations.