One of the most humiliating moments of my life came in 2008, on a day when nobody humiliated me — I did it to myself.
At that time, I was working with McKinsey in New York and desperately wanted to move back to India (my family had relocated recently).
To find a job in India, I reached out to some headhunters, and a Wharton alumnus invited me to a gathering of investors and business leaders he was organizing in Mumbai.
Since I was visiting India, I gladly took it up — where else would you find such a ‘power crowd’?
So I came from Trivandrum to Mumbai, leaving behind my family and missing my daughter’s birthday for the first time.
During the social gathering, I just had to introduce myself, do small talk, and let people know that I was open to job opportunities. And that is where it all went wrong.
Everytime I tried talking to someone, my ego would flare up and meltdown my brain: “That guy will think I am begging for a job. So humiliating!”
The host himself went around introducing me but I felt such intense shame that I could not utter something as simple as, “I am looking for an opportunity.”
When the event got over, I had not told a soul that I wanted a job. And I had missed my daughter’s birthday to come to the event.
I have never felt so ashamed — not because I needed a job, but because I let my ego come in the way of doing something so simple and commonplace.
If you are ever seeking a job, remember that your employer is not doing you a favor — they need you just as much as you need them, sometimes more.
If you have to ask for a job, please ask. Don’t humiliate yourself by NOT asking.