Saturday, June 7, 2014


My deepest darkest secret in life is that I am an intellectually stunted Arts graduate. As the dear readers reader of this blog would know, I am the untouchables of the academic fraternity and the banking industry. Now if you walk into my department which has about 50 people, you would mostly see bespectacled men who are engineers+MBAs+CFAs who would explain to me that + here denotes the “and” function and not the “or” function.

A typical new hire would walk around the bay, explaining that he is from some IIT with experience in VBA/SAS/Python/Matlab and I would sheepishly look at him and mumble, “err… sounds impressive. I am more into literature and philosophy and political science.” He would immediately recoil in disgust and look around surreptitiously, making sure that nobody sees him talking to me.

So, over the years, I have been a victim of discrimination and low self esteem. Here are some reasons why:

As an Arts graduate in an investment bank, people mostly dismiss you as HR/Admin, who is only responsible for looking pretty, arranging parties and hosting big shots…

During most meetings/calls, you are not expected to participate or say anything remotely intelligent, because you know, what can an Arts graduate possibly have to contribute when “the men” are discussing ground breaking stuff like quantitative easing, predictive modeling or valuation of private companies…

Whenever there is an event/networking session, everyone would gather around the visitor who is typically a Director/MD/Board member, seriously discussing world economics, share prices or debt markets, while the Arts graduate would hide in one corner, picking at her food, waiting for the ordeal to be over. When the said Director/MD/Board member asks her “so, what are your views on this?”, all she can do is smile brightly, and say, “is this your first visit to Mumbai? You MUST visit Colaba Causeway.”

When you tell an outsider where you work, he gets all excited and asks random questions like, “oh, my batchmate from IITX is also working there. Which IIT did you go to?” When you hesitantly respond, “err, actually, I didn’t go to an IIT or even an engineering college”, he gives you the Rahul Gandhi look, and says, “Lucky you. In India, references can take you anywhere.”

Finally, every time you have any discussion with your superior, he would dumb down the conversation as if he is speaking to a five year old. So, while a fellow colleague would be told, “we firmly believe that you have the potential to make a paradigm shift to our metrics milestones by breaking the silos and introducing a positive momentum which can revolutionalize the end-user perspective”, I would be greeted with a kind here-comes-the-retard smile and told, “You.are.doing.a.good.job. Keep.copy.pasting. Was that too fast? Should I repeat?”

Each time you read an article about how MNCs are aggressively pushing corporate social responsibility, you know they are talking about hiring Arts graduates like me.

In college, being an Arts graduate was a synonym for getting married at 21/aspiring for a career in showbiz. In corporate world, it’s a synonym for being the department blonde…


survivingbrain said...

“we firmly believe that you have the potential to make a paradigm shift to our metrics milestones by breaking the silos and introducing a positive momentum which can revolutionalize the end-user perspective”

>Took a while for me to digest that :) Hope people dont actually talk like that.
>Were you drunk when you wrote this ? :P
>You are still counting your readers?

Nefertiti said...

umm... people do talk like that! And no I wasn't. And yes, I am.

Xibi said...

I still don't get it :) :)

Nefertiti said...

me neither :(

Childwoman said...

OMG! This post was like a chapter from my life. I was nodding so vigorously to every statement that I thought my head would fall off. Every word is so true. The thing is just because we are graduate of Arts doesn't mean that we dont know stuff. We probably know more about life than talking about money, end results of a decision, and talking shop.

Nefertiti said...

Ahhh... so there are people in the same boat! My sympathies

survivingbrain said...

Being an engineering guy myself, i just realised that almost all the people i hang out with are non engg guys/girls.

The most irritating people i had in my life are the so called IIT/IIM guys, and the closest people i love and respect are from arts background, mostly because they dont look at life in terms of equations, they live life to enjoy, they live life where it is fine to make stupid decisions and mistakes.

Which college you went does not really matter. all that matters is if you can do what you want to do in heart.

And you better stop counting your readers.

Nefertiti said...

ohh let's not generalize soo much also. I am sure there SOME nice ppl who are engineers too. And yes, there are not many readers to count anyway :(