Marriage proposals and job interviews are pretty much the same!
The job market and the rishta market, both are too saturated to allow you the luxury of fulfilling a prior commitment.
As I entered my senior year of university, the dreaded dilemma of career versus marriage finally presented itself to me. Fraught with uncertainty at both ends, I struggled to keep all doors open. Take it from me, juggling between the job interviews and larkay walay visits is a mission and a half!
Going through enough of the two experiences to make one feel worthless, I came to realise that both of these activities are more similar to each other than they are different.
Here are a few things you will find strikingly common between the two, so if you can master the skills of either one, the other will become a piece of cake (thumbs up).
Don’t say no to the time set for the ‘interview’. The job market and the rishta market, both are too saturated to allow you the luxury of fulfilling any prior commitments or to make changes as per your convenience. Once you get a call, consider yourself lucky and agree to the meeting, or the next candidate on the list will be approached immediately, and that you cannot afford in this day and age.
The ultimate question:
The moment in which your only concern is ‘now’ and your focus is set on making the present better, when all you are aiming for is ‘this job’ or ‘this guy’, foolish questions about future plans are thrown at you.
"Where do you see yourself in the next five years?"
This question is asked at every job interview. Aren't the interviewers aware of the fact that the answer to this is always gross exaggeration? The only thing a candidate is realistically capable of aiming at that moment, is obviously the job he or she is being interviewed for! Then why do you force them into giving you some superficially ambitious answer which they are most likely to never achieve? Well, at least not in the next five years.
The larkay ki amma (boy's mother) poses an even more mundane question,
"What do you plan to do next?"
Lady, I am not sitting in front of you all dolled up to pass a scholarship interview, am I now? It is quite obvious that I 'plan' to get married next. Hence, here is me trying my best to impress you and your son so can I achieve my ultimate goal in life!
A multi-skilled candidate is what everyone is looking for. To land a good job, you need a resume showing off not only your academic excellence, but a long list of extra-curricular activities and considerable work experience. This, you will need even though you are graduating soon and have no idea about how the real corporate world works. The fact that you may have been unlucky to land any internship will cross the employer's mind, isn't something you should count on.
The larkay walay have a similar taste for a multi-purpose bride-to-be. She should be well-educated, enabling her to support the family in times of financial crisis. She should be a good cook, so that the in-laws can get a dine-out experience at home, everyday for free. Of course, she should also be the hottest chick on the block, so that the husband can have a red-carpet experience each time the couple goes out.
There are sessions conducted in schools and colleges to counsel the new entrants in the job market on how to dress for an interview. A false impression as your first impression will lead to success - or so is the lesson imparted upon them.
Similarly, the rishta interviews also have an implied dress code to be followed.
If it’s only the larkay ki amma visiting you, go for something subtle and decent. A dull-coloured outfit will do since you don’t want to appear too alive to scare away the midlife-crisis-facing future mother-in-law.
However, if the guy is accompanying his mother on the first visit, you, my friend, have a tough situation to handle. Try to go for a young, lively look, but the body language should send out a message of subservience. Never forget that you are a kunwari larki (unmarried girl) in need of an identity, which only larkay walay can provide you with. Be thankful and that should reflect in your demeanour.
This cycle still continues for me and many others like me. Hopelessly jobless and hopelessly single, I still hope to survive in this cut-throat competition of brains and beauty. All I ask for is a little concern, if not by the corporate world, then at least by those who seek companionship.
Us girls have it tough both ways and a little concern would go a long way.
Read more by Narjis here or follow her on Twitter @Narjis_Fatema