In Search of a Golden Sky

Thursday, December 13, 2007


  1. Describe your personality.
  2. What your friends think about you (in three words)?
  3. What your family thinks about you?
  4. If given a chance, what character would you play on stage?
  5. If are working in the marketing department and fall in love with a person in the finance department, what would you do? How would you handle the situation?
  6. Describe your institute in one word?
  7. What was your very first school?
  8. What is the color of the socks you’re wearing now?
  9. No. of classes you got first position in?
  10. What facet of your personality would you want to improve?
  11. Give an instance where you really showed your authority, put your foot down and got what you wanted?

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1. Sell yourself to us in 30-60 seconds.
2. What’s your favorite brand? What is it doing wrong? How would you change that?
3. If you were given a choice of working as a brand manager in England, Bangladesh or an MT here in Pakistan, which would you prefer and why?
4. How would you sell Harpic in the rural areas of Pakistan?
5. Are you a good observer? (If answered yes) Stand up, turn around, now tell me, am I wearing a watch?
6. If given a choice, which would you prefer as a boss, a male or a female and why?
7. Describe yourself.
8. Have you been in a situation where you had to work with someone you weren’t fond of? How did you manage it? What was the result?
9. Are you a leader? (If answered, yes) Everyone that’s coming up for the interview is saying the same thing. How can everyone be the leader? What do you have to say about that?
10. Will you be willing to travel to far flung areas of the country?

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Work from Home Opportunity

You can be much more than a HOUSEWIFE!

An exciting and rewarding part time opportunity for you:

- Earn Rs.25,000 a month, working 4 hours a day
- No previous working experience necessary

- Free training and lots of other exciting incentives

Join our Free Opportunity Seminar to find out more!

Wednesday, 15th August - 3:00 to 4:30 pm at
Sheraton Hotel (Mogra). Please call to reserve a place:
540 5440, 0333 3014373

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007



Empact Activation Services Pvt. Ltd.

Owing its humble beginning in 2005 to Image Graphic Solutions (Pvt.) Ltd. as its BTL division, EMPACT! grew into one of the largest activation agencies in Pakistan and is the fastest growing one.

With offices in all three metros of Pakistan and planned branches in strata 2 cities in the near future, our workforce comprises of the best in the industry. From strategic planning and creative idea generation to production and on-ground execution our team of dedicated professionals is amongst the best in the world!

What we do

BTL Activation
Float Production and Execution
Direct Marketing
Product Sampling
Product Selling
Kiosk Production and Execution
Display Stalls at Exhibitions
Citywide or Nationwide Poster/Banner Placement
Lucky Draws Schemes
Mobile Games and Festivals
POS and POP placement Campaigns
Event Management
Product Launches
Conferences / Seminars
Corporate Functions
Team Building Events

Departments - The Pillars of Empact!
Strategy and Planning (Planning, Creative, and Client Servicing)
Operations (Execution, Production, MIS & Reporting, and Quality Control)

We are offering Marketing jobs, with great learning and growth prospects, and attractive salary packages.

We're looking for well versed, confident and dynamic young individuals for the following positions:

MANAGEMENT TRAINEE (Strategy and Planning: Planners and Client Servicing Managers)Qualifications: Bachelors or Masters in business.Should have excellent communication and presentation skills, and a fair command over English language.Proficient in MS Office, especially Powerpoint, Word and Excel. Computer Graphics know-how is a plus point.Job Description:Management Trainees will undergo a 3 month training to excel as a Planner, as well as a Client Service Manager. As a planner: Planning activations for our client's brands, compiling and presenting these plans to the client.Devising internal strategies for the business.As Client Servicing Manager: Be able to manage client relationships superbly, communicate all client needs accurately to the planning and operations team. Oversee the execution of activities and communicate them to the client.
INTERNEE (Strategy and Planning)Qualifications:Educational background in Business, or Computer Graphics, or Creative Writing. Proficient in MS Office, especially Powerpoint, Word and Excel.Be able to do data and fact-finding research using the Internet.Job Description:Assisting the department with ongoing projects by doing research work. Compiling different documents/presentat ions/reports using MS Office.Creating/Enhancing images on Photoshop.

To apply, send an email to sana@empact- by Thursday, September 6th, 2007, 3 PM latest.
Be sure to attach a copy of your updated resume, and mention your name, email address, and contact number.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Job Opportunity at Sindh Education Foundation

Company Profile
The Sindh Education Foundation is a semi-government organization working towards providing literacy and empowerment to the disadvantaged communities of Sindh. The Foundation functions in various districts of the province and has the following core programs:

1. Adopt-a-School Program
2. Community Supported Schools Program
3. Child Labor education program
4. Fellowship Schools Program
5. Home Schools Program
6. Women Literacy and Empowerment Program

The Foundation also works closely with the Aga Khan Foundation through there Releasing Confidence and Creativity Program focusing on Early Childhood Development.

The Foundation has its major magazine Educate!, which gives a critical analysis of the education within the country. SEF has also launched the first Early Childhood Magazine of the country “Nurture” and is also working on producing thematic booklets.

The Foundation is working towards establishing a Quality Assurance Resource Center – a project that works towards improving the education within the country by focusing on the different types of schooling within Pakistan.

For more information visit our website:

· Associate- Marketing, Advocacy & Publications

Job Description:
The person in this position will be responsible for the following:
· Develop content for SEF publications (newsletters, magazines, brochures)
· Develop content for SEF website
· Develop content for “Nurture” magazine on Early Childhood Development
· Conduct long scale researches on areas related to ECD, School Management, Teacher Education, Quality of Education and ECD policy
· Guide the creative and graphic designers in designing the publications and other advocacy material
· Conduct short scale research studies on various areas pertaining to the SEF programs
· Conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis for research conducted.
· Assist in organizing and managing conferences and seminars.
· Assist in designing advocacy and educational material for programs at SEF.

To be based in:
Karachi - Head Office

BSc. in any area / Masters degree in any field
No work experience required
Special Skills:
A natural ability to write. Patience to edit, proof read and undertake documentation for SEF programs.

How to Apply:
Interested candidates should forward soft copy of their CV‘s to latest by August 27, 2007 till 12:00 (noon).

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Sunday, August 12, 2007


Avoid comparing yourself with people who have already secured a job. This is the second most deadly depression inducing tool after prickly relatives and friends. It’s inevitable that some of your batchmates are going to get better jobs and more quickly as well. It’s also possible that some have a GPA lower than yours and are even your close friends. That’s going to hurt the most.
So choose your comparisons wisely. Focus on those people who have GPA or grade higher than yours and still unemployed. That’s the only way to tackle this monster.

In many cases, the more you try to compete, the less competitive you actually
Kathy Sierra

Of course, it’s a different story altogether if everyone is employed and you are the last man standing.

One of the studies quoted in The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People regarding comparison:
A large group of students was given a word puzzle to solve.
Researchers compared the satisfaction of students who finished
the puzzle quickly or more slowly. Students who finished the
puzzle quickly and compared themselves with the very fastest
students came away feeling dissatisfied with themselves.
Students who finished the puzzle more slowly but compared
themselves with the slowest students came away feeling quite
satisfied with themselves and tended to ignore the presence of
the quick-finishing students.
Lyubomirsky and Ross 1997

What all this means is the root of dissatisfaction is your ability to compare yourself with others. Comparing yourself with examples that make you comfortable about who you are and what you have will go a long way in removing much of the man-made misery in your life.

All said and done, the bulk of your time in any unemployment phase should be spent researching prospective employers, sending customized cover letter and resumes to them, and in some cases following up on them.

I cannot lay enough emphasis on the research part. It’s very much possible that your very first job is not your ideal or dream job, and while you accept that offer, you are still on the lookout in search of the golden sky. Remember that when you get an interview call while you are in a job, you won’t get sufficient time to prepare for that. So unless you’ve done your homework regarding that particular organization beforehand, chances are you won’t be able to do a good job of it on such quick notice. And in the end, you may blow your chance of getting hired by your dream company.

How can you prepare for a interview in a particular organization? Your best bet is to prepare a SWOT analysis of every firm and the industry it is in. Am I kidding? Who would go to the trouble of asking such stuff in an interview?

The PSO interview panel did just that. I agree it’s not a standard practice, but it can happen, and you don’t want to be caught in an awkward situation in an interview for a firm that you desire to be a part of. Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask for the complete SWOT, your having done the SWOT would enable to tackle any question he may have about his company.

Doing SWOT requires considerable time, which you have in abundance when you unemployed. It becomes a scarce commodity when you get hired, so use it wisely. It’s the surest cure to your unemployment woes.

Finally, don’t make a plan beforehand that you’re going to such and such stuff for this amount of time. Just wake up early, and delve into the first unpleasant thing that comes to your mind. Finish that keeping those juicy incentives in mind and jump on to the next one. Keep doing this until you are almost at the end of the day, and then reward yourself with that thing that kept you going throughout the day. You deserve it now. But remember, in all this mayhem; don’t forget to tune with God a couple of times each day. I may offer you all the wonderfully soothing tips, but your best comfort lies in your spiritual connection with the Divine Power. Without that, you are just going to wither away emotionally, spiritually and even physically no matter how much you keep yourself busy.

Try to do most of the things that I’ve suggested here, and believe me, the next thing you know it would be time for the job that you had been patiently waiting for.

Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.


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Thursday, August 09, 2007

National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP) 2007

Institute of Bankers of Pakistan (IBP) has announced a National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP) aiming at developing National Talent Pool (NTP) for banks, financial institutions, corporate and other reputed employers. To begin with we are organizing a Know Your Strength test exclusively for the MBA’s on 14th August, 2007 at 10:30 am at 6 centers viz. Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar and Quetta, For details see IBP website:
National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP)
IBP as a knowledge Institute is committed to provide pro-active and innovative solutions to the financial services sector mainly in the field of Human Resource Management and development. To meet these objective several initiatives were introduced and successfully managed during the recent years. On the sixty first independence day of Pakistan, IBP is pleased to announce a National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP) aiming at developing a National Talent Pool (NTP) for the banks, financial institutions, corporate and other reputed employers.
Banking industry of Pakistan is on a high growth trajectory. The rising volume of business, expanding branch network, cut throat competition and appetite for quality products and processes have brought enormous pressure on the existing human resource inventory. It is felt that there is an acute shortage of competent human resource to meet the ever rising demand. In order to fill this gap the banks resorted to open or targeted recruitment processes. IBP is partnering with eighteen banks and financial institutions in their recruitment and promotion process. During current fiscal IBP, conducted 21 recruitment tests for SBP, NBP, MCB, HSBC, ZTBL, HBFC, Crescent Commercial and Bank Islami in which 17,500 candidates participated. Hardly 1,000 participants reached up to the acceptable pass standard. It is worth mentioning that the participants were from reputed educational institutes and secured good GPA or percentage from them. On the other hand the short listing criteria of the banks are on rise and therefore a good number of candidates may not be eligible to even enter into the test. Our experience in processing job applications and conducting of tests during last five years revealed that a large number of talented youngsters can not enter into the race mainly on account of their low GPA and/or their age crossing the limit.
The banks have their own preferences as to the desired GPA, age, experience, qualification and educational institution, however, IBP as a national Institute can opt for a different set of criteria and thus can effectively contribute towards developing a National Talent Database. Once developed this information will be available to the banks, financial services sector and other reputed employers through a powerful database to be maintained at IBP and will be updated periodically. There will be three specific objectives for this National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP)
a) Offering a chance to all those promising youngsters who cannot enter into the testing process owing to the short listing criteria suggested by the job offeror.
b) Through a scientific testing mechanism the participants will be able to know as to what is their standing in the National Talent Pool
c) Those who fail to reach a minimum pass standard will be advised and offered professional development program
To begin with we are organizing a Know Your Strength (KYS) test exclusively for the MBAs.
Please note, this is not an employment test but it will be a route to enter into the National Talent Pool. The success of this program will open new avenues for the other target groups.
Know Your Strength Test
Schedule: August 14, 2007 at 10:30 a.m. Insha Allah
Centres: Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar and Quetta
Eligibility: MBAs with GPA 2.5 or above and Age up to 30 years as on August 14, 2007
Test Focus: a) English comprehension
b) Logical Thinking
c) Mathematical Intelligence
d) Current Business Affairs
e) General Knowledge
Methodology: Multiple Choice Questions
Duration: 90 minutes
Participation Fee: None.
It is yet another national service offered by IBP without any fee or charges
Result: The test result in the order of merit will be displayed on IBP website
What next: IBP will share this valuable information with banks and other
stakeholders who may be in search of talented youth and may be willing to
consider them for employment
How to apply? Visit

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Thursday, July 12, 2007


The second most important thing you can afford to do in this phase of your life is what most of us have grown to dread. Books. For some of us, they are a treasure trove, but for the majority, they are useless pieces of junk. However, they are surest way of mental development provided that you get hold of a quality book.
So you next move should be to start reading good books, something that can lift your spirits. Read a bit of yet another good book at the same time, but this one related to your field of expertise. It’s imperative that you know the maximum possible stuff about your field, get a 360 view of it, so that you can speak with authority whenever an interview lands in your lap. But that’s not going to be enough. You have to stay abreast with the latest developments as well in your field. For that you’ll have to either read the latest publications which are probably going to be available in your own university, or try to catch up on it on the internet.

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.
-Thomas H. Huxley

And while you are at it, read up on material that improves your interviewing skills. There are loads of free ebooks available on that help you in every aspect of this phase including preparing resumes and places to search for your ideal job.

Read the newspaper. It’s simply crucial. The interviewer is going to be asking you about the current affairs irrespective of whether you are applying for a technical position. It’s one of the barometers he’s going to be using to assess your worth to his firm. For some it’s an unpleasant experience, but its one of those things that simply has to be done. In fact the more unpleasant it’s for you, the more pleasure you are going to derive from having accomplished this task.

Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium
and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome
labor is immense.
Arnold Bennett.

Having said that, avoid the depressing news as much as you can, especially those that are near to the home and are certain to evoke a negative reaction in you. Focus on the international issues, that’s what the interviewer is going to be most interested in. Everyone knows what is happening about him, and with this assumption the interviewer is going to avoid delving into the local scene. The chances of him asking about that are pretty slim, and the benefits of not reading the local section far outweigh the losses.

It is possible that the international scene is filled with dark and dreary news, but then that’s the nature of news. The point is since you’re not emotionally attached to that place, its impact is going to be minimal. Unless of course, it’s about the religious caricatures or Salman Rushdie. The thing is that you have to suspend reality and try to live in a make-belief world, even to the extreme of ‘living in a fool’s paradise’, if that’s what it takes to create an impeccably consistent positive mental attitude.

A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder
Patricia Neal

In fact, strive to do a couple of unpleasant tasks every day that you are unemployed. It’s a great way to boost your self-esteem. And do them early on in the day when you are still full of vigor. And avoid any leisurely pursuits until late in the day when you are done with most of the difficult tasks.

When you have a number of disagreeable duties to perform, always do the most
disagreeable first.
Josiah Quincy

In fact, get through the unpleasant ones by thinking about these goodies. Use them as an incentive to finish your chores, so that when you finally get to your favorite pastime (be it watching television, movie, going out with friends or simply reading a novel) at the end of the day you feel like you have earned it and you enjoy it more thoroughly. If you do it at the start of the day, there’s no incentive to get the dreaded tasks done. You end up procrastinating, getting bored and then your thoughts wander to the bitter fact that you are unemployed. It’s a vicious circle, and you have to tackle it on a day-to-day basis.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Management Trainee Program at Ferguson

A. F. Ferguson & Co. (AFF), a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is the largest and most distinguished advisory/ accountancy firm in Pakistan. Our network firm, PwC, is the Global Leader in providing advisory/ assurance services with over 140,000 staff in 149 countries and annual revenues in excess of USD 22 billion.
For the last few years, AFF has been focused on developing its advisory/ consultancy business across all sectors of the economy. In this pursuit, we have developed a dedicated Risk Advisory Services (RAS) Division within the firm along the lines of PwC. This Division serves different Lines of Businesses especially Financial Services (i.e. Banking, Insurance, Capital Market entities etc.), Oil and Gas and Telecom.
Our RAS Team comprises of high-calibre individuals representing diversified disciplines ranging from MBAs, CAs and CFAs to people of specialized skills such as risk management (FRM), actuarial sciences, financial econometrics/ engineering, mathematics and statistics etc. Majority of our team members have served at senior positions in various banks, oil and gas and telecom companies in the past. This mix of skill set from diversified disciplines and sectors puts us in the best position to serve the needs of our clients to their satisfaction.
The following is an indicative range of our services:
Basel II Advisory
COSO/ SOX 404 Advisory
Business Process Re-engineering
ERP Services
Business Process/ Manual Development
Risk Management
Due Diligence
Asset Liability Management and Derivatives Advisory
Strategy Consulting
Internal Audit
Fraud Risk Services
Benchmarking Studies and Gap Analysis
Efficiency Audits
Review/ Design of Organisational Structure and Roles
Regulatory & Compliance Reviews
Solvency II
Our RAS practice is currently engaged in providing above-mentioned services to a number of large and medium sized organizations and has become the largest advisory practice in Pakistan over a very short span of time. The firm is also constantly working on future initiatives and projects and aims to maintain its market leadership in advisory.
We have recently introduced our Fast Track Management Trainee Program for 2007 under which we are seeking dynamic and enthusiastic Fresh graduates from renowned institutions. Individuals selected under this program will form a key part of our RAS Financial Services Practice and will have access to the methodology and tools developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers worldwide. They will also undergo internal and on-job training including those conducted with the help of our local and PwC Subject Matter Experts/ Trainers.

Eligibility Criteria:
MBAs graduated in May 2007 with specialization in Finance.
Candidates should possess excellent oral and written communication skills.
Internship in renowned consultancy organisations/ accountancy firms with specific focus on risk management advisory / process development in banks will be considered a Plus.
As a first step in the selection process, we have already conducted an orientation/ group discussion session for a group of interested candidates to explain to them about AFF and in particular RAS, RAS product profile and services and most importantly the key features of our Management Training Program for 2007. The session also highlighted the career prospects and progression opportunities and a description of the role of Management Trainees during the training period of six months and going forward when they would be serving as consultants in our organization.
We would like to provide another chance to those individuals who could not make it to our earlier session. You are accordingly informed that our next similar session is due to be held on July 17, 2007 at 11:00 A.M (Sharp) at the following address:
A.F. Ferguson & Co.
Chartered Accountants
State Life Building No. 1-C (First Floor)
I.I. Chundrigar Road,
If you are interested in attending the session, please send soft copy of your resume to by July 14, 2007.
For further clarification, kindly contact the following:
Saad Mukhtar Ahmed
Risk Advisory Services(RAS)
AF Ferguson & Co.
Phone: 021-2426711 (Ext) 313

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Job Opportunity at AAJ TV

AAJ TV is a part of the highly credible Business Recorder Group and is one of the biggest Urdu language television channels. AAJ TV is the logical progression of the group's mission to dispense unadulterated information through easily accessible mediums. Extensive planning, spanning over 2 years, has gone into perfecting the organizations operations. Now AAJ TV employs over 350 employees and has fully equipped bureaus in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. AAJ TV is the only digital satellite channel to have an Earth Station in Pakistan that broadcasts directly to the AsiaSat satellite with a footprint of over 60 countries. This Earth Station provides exceptional flexibility and control in responding to local and international events.
AAJ TV is in the process of hiring fresh graduates from Institute of Business Administration, Karachi for its Marketing department.
The incumbent should:
Be holding MBA degree
Having 1 - 2 years of experience. Fresh graduates can also apply
Have Marketing major
Be positive in approach and attitude
Have ability to understand business requirements
Be self motivated to learn new features and tools
Interested candidates should send soft copy of their resume to latest by, July 14, 2007 (noon

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

MT Program at Askari Bank

Askaribank, an institution, which aims to provide innovative financial solutions to its customers, is seeking highly talented, innovative and resourceful candidates with strong academic background for induction in the Bank as Management Trainees to go one step further in achieving the desired Excellence.
The program is a unique and challenging opportunity for those who strive for excellence. It is enriched with rigorous classroom training, job rotation and personal mentoring. The objective of the program is to develop high potential leaders who will be able to implement the growth plans and strategic imperative of the bank.
Eligibility Criteria
The candidates should possess MBA, MPA, M.Com, M.Sc (Banking & Finance), MA/M.Sc (Economics) or equivalent degrees in related disciplines from HEC recognized or well-reputed foreign universities. Four Years Bachelors Degree Program holders in the above-mentioned disciplines are also eligible to apply.s
Candidates having highest degree passing year of 2006 and 2007.
Maximum age up to 26 years as on December 31, 2007.
Interested candidates who fulfill the above mentioned criteria may post their CV on the latest by July 06, 2007.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Lucrative Job Opportunity

Title of Position
Financial Analyst & Planning Assistant

Islamabad Based

Client’s detail
To be shared later


Qualification Required
Masters Program

Desired experience
1-3 years experience in similar position within a multinational or international environment in FMCG

No preference

Core skills
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Job Description & Required Personality Traits
• Assemble spreadsheets and draw charts and graphs used to illustrate technical reports, using computer.
• Analyze financial information to produce forecasts of business, industry, and company statement for use in making investment decisions.
• Maintain knowledge and stay abreast of developments in the fields of, business, finance, and economic theory.
• Interpret data affecting financial statements, such as price, yield, stability, cost variances, future trends in investment risks.
• Monitor financial & corporate developments through the analysis of information obtained from financial statements.
• Recommend investments and investment timing to companies, investment firm staff, or the investing public.
• Prepare plans of action for investment based on financial analyses.

Rs. 50-60,000 per month
July 02, 2007
How to Apply
Please send your CVs on

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007


‘Abey tak naukri nahi hui?’, a friend or relative would exclaim. ‘Kya kar rahey ho bhei!’, the person would spew out almost accusingly. And a wave of depression would suddenly hit the person at whom these remarks were targeted.

It’s all the more worse if the person is a graduate of a top-notch university like IBA or LUMS, for then there would be an extra remark intended to rub as much salt as possible on the open wounds.

‘IBA ke to graduates ko final semester start hotay hi offers aani shroo hojati hain’. Which is the last nail in your coffin, hammered by your own near and dear ones. What this remark actually means is that all the people from your university get jobs right away, if you are still unemployed, that means there’s something terribly wrong with you.

No matter how plausible an explanation you give to these people and even if you have them convinced that the job market is down, the effect of their remark will still pierce your heart. And you will have a bout of depression, unless you have impenetrable mental shield around yourself, which chances are you won’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this piece.

The only thing to do is to avoid these people at all cost, no matter how good a friend or relative they may be. Isolate yourself from all such people. Avoid the social gatherings where you likely to meet such people. If it’s an important wedding or funeral, then there’s not much you can do about it. Maybe donning a burqa would help. Or maybe not. The best you can do after such an encounter is to go straight to a friend’s house with the same predicament and vent out your frustration.

Or if its too late for that, rent an outrageously raunchy comedy and see it before you hit the bed that night. But be careful which comedy movie you pick, for that can have an adverse effect on you. For instance, don’t pick Fun with Dick and Jane. Although it’s a good comedy starring Jim Carey, the movie is all about employment woes which are all exaggerated (like people out of work for so long they become desperate and start robbing banks!) for the sake of comedy.

Try to stay amongst people who understand your position and trust you to do the best for yourself rather than bothering you with negative stuff.

Research on unemployed adults has found that the length of
unemployment was less important to a person's self-esteem than
the amount of social support received from parents, family members,
and friends.
Lackovic-Grgin and Dekovic 1996

However, you shouldn’t be frustrated to begin with. Being unemployed should be a wonderful opportunity for you to get up to speed with those skills you always wanted to either acquire or hone, and now is the time to do it.

But if that’s not working, which doesn’t for many. It so happens that almost all of us spent our crucial time of the exams brooding about all the wonderful things we are going to do after this hell is over, and making exquisite plans. However when the storm has subsided, for some reason we lose the will to execute our plans. Boredom coupled with frustration sets in.

One of the first things you should do is keep yourself on the move, meaning keep doing different things each day.
The very first thing you’ll have to do is to keep yourself healthy. It’s not just about your body, but your mental being as well. The more you do something with your arms and legs, the more positive effect it has on your mental state of mind. Don’t ask me why. It’s just the way it works. So go out for a walk, jogging or anything physical.

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Monday, June 11, 2007


What do you think about the economy of Pakistan?
Impress us.
What do you think is the best marketing campaign ever in Pakistan? Why?
What’s the worst?
Who has inspired/impressed you lately?
What has Jack Welch done to become famous?
We’re a seth-based company. We’re giving you 20 people to help you sell a non-branded pencil in just two days. How would you go about it?
Would you be willing to work in Gujranwal? Why?
What’s Pakistan’s GDP in absolute terms?
What’s the per capita income?
What’s the population and its division?
Tell us about a time when you led a team to success. What was the result and what was your contribution? How did you do it?
Tell us about yourself.
What’s your biggest weakness? And don’t give us that crap disguising your strength as your weakness, like being a perfectionist and all. We’ve been tired of listening to that crap the entire day from the entire IBA. Be honest about it.
Why should Unilever hire you?
Why should Unilever hire an MBA with a technical background and not a BBA MBA?
Tell us three things that your friends will identify you with.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Job Opportunity at KASB Securities

KASB is the oldest investment bank and stock brokerage house in Pakistan. This investment banking group is well reputed and provides advice to the government and private corporations on privatizations, mergers, acquisitions etc. KASB Securities is a Merrill Lynch affiliate in Pakistan. This relationship alone gives it an edge over other domestic securities firms.

KASB Securities is in the process of hiring fresh graduates from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
The incumbent should:
Have an MBA degree
Have Finance or MIS major
Be fresh graduate
Have strong communication and presentation skills
Interested candidates should send soft copy of their resume on latest by, June 11, 2006 (noon).

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Thursday, December 29, 2005


This Article was published in the 9th January 2005 issue of Dawn Magazine

The child goes ecstatic looking at the huge collection of pirated Cds of different games I the shop. His father allows him to pick four of them, which cost a mere Rs.100. Had they been original, the cost would have been a whopping Rs.20,000 to Rs. 24,000( A single CD costs between $40 and $100).

In a piracy-free world, this scene would not have been possible in a Third World Country. They dynamics of piracy in the West and the Third World are quite different. Consider ourselves for a moment. There’s no denying the fact that most of us are a bunch of hypocrites. Everyone cries foul when his or her intellectual property gets infringed upon. You can see celebrities every other day on the idiot box exhorting people to stop using pirated stuff. Just catch hold of one of these people and go through their computer. You would be hard pressed to find even a single person with genuine software installed.’Who gives a damn about multi-billion corporations losing a few bucks?’ is the general perception of anyone who buys pirated stuff. This may also mean that it is alright to steal from the rich. The double standard that is prevalent in our society is a result of this kind of hypocrisy. If you yourself don’t refrain from using pirated stuff in any form, how can you expect other people to do the same?

Come to think of it, I myself have hardly in my life bought a genuine thing whose pirated copy was available. Why would you want to buy, for instance, a licensed version of Windows costing a fortune( about Rs.5,800) when you can get that for a meagre Rs.25? This line of thinking is not restricted to software only, but applies to any product which has a cheap pirated version available.

In the beginning of the new millennium, it was said that the piracy rate in Pakistan was 98 per cent. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it must be cent per cent now. The Washington-based International Intellectual Property Alliance ranked Pakistan one of the world’s largest producers of pirated CDs and other optical discs for export in both 2001 and 2002, and alleged that Pakistan alone cost the movie and music industry around $72 million in 2002.

So the thing is, even if I did want to buy genuine stuff, I couldn’t know the difference between the two. Going by the rampant corruption here, it may after all be the same pirated stuff sold at an exorbitant price to pass off as original. In fact it does happen.

A known international company marred by the pirated games of its first Playstation, came up with an anti-piracy measure built into the hardware of Playstation 2. But even that could not stop the ingenious gurus of piracy, who designed a chip which bypasses this anti-piracy system so that you can play all pirated games. And it is so widespread that you can get your system altered to run the cheap pirated games anywhere in the Saddar electronics market for a mere Rs. 80 to Rs.150.

Right now the company is embroiled in a row with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over the use of this devious chip.

Likewise in the music industry, major record labels have been fighting a vain battle against the P2P(peer-to-peer) networks like Napster and Kazaa for the last couple of years. The only anti-piracy measure which worked here in Pakistan was the efforts of the depleted local music industry to get MP3 versions of the local artists’ music removed from the entire market. It is the sole instance where a consensus has been reached as far as piracy is concerned. But even that looks like a mirage, particularly when you consider that the local pop industry is taking the help of piracy dons to further its own cause, a relationship very much akin to the one between the Indian film industry and their underworld.

It is indeed ironic that our own music industry, which does not waste any opportunity for piracy bashing, itself gets its music released from a company based in a famous market located in Saddar, Karachi, which was, and is, a proponent of pirated entertainment material not only in Pakistan, but in the Middle East as well. The day that market gets sealed down, the music industry would come down with it. It’s a vicious circle. When you rely on shady corporations to get yourself in the limelight, you can very well face the music with them.

However, it would take a Herculean effort to wipe out that market, the fountain from where piracy sprouts in this part of the world. Why? Well, with the staggering scale of operation involved, it couldn’t really happen without the connivance of higher authorities. And then the question arises, would we be able to live without the hub of piracy. The thing is, once that get eradicated, with no lawful measures in place to import foreign flicks, and our cinemas rotting in peace, this entertainment starved nation would lose one more means of recreation. Are we willing to live without it? The local cinema owners always harp on about piracy taking away their livelihood. Would they be able to fill in the vacuum once piracy gets eliminated?
The local cinema houses, at least those showing international movies, are themselves partially to blame for their present predicament. Hardly have they ever shown a Hollywood movie within a month of its release. There was a time when the media was not as penetrative and people seldom knew when a new movie was actually released. Not anymore. Even before a movie is released, its attractions are being beamed to us via the cable TV. So why would people wait almost half a year to watch a movie when they can do so in a matter of days? This very fact brought about the downfall of a company which was authorized to release Hollywood flicks here. The company took ages to get the movies released here and even then at extortionate rents. No doubt the company now is on the verge of collapse, partly because of piracy, but mostly because of its own inefficacy.

The owner of the company thinks otherwise though admits to sales being almost non-existent. The same is the case with our theatres. Today a decent home theatre system costs less than Rs.50,000. just because advancements in technology are taking place in leaps and bounds, does that mean you ban the entire entertainment appliances because they are taking away a big chink of your business? No. you evolve yourself, something which our rigid cinema owners are reluctant to do and are thus facing the consequences. This trend is not confined to this region only, but is sweeping the entire globe. But theatre elsewhere are not whining or packing up their business. They are facing the music head on. The IMAX theatre system is a result of such changes which has yet appear on the local scene, although it has been around since 1970. With a gigantic screen eight-storey high and 120 ft. wide coupled with a 14,000 watt, 6-channel pure digital sound system, not many people would be able to resist this electrifying experience even if exorbitant rates are charged.

If all this was not enough, a conspiracy theory has been doing the rounds for an entire decade now, that the pirated software available in the Third World are there with the support of their creators, that these corporations want their products to reach the maximum possible audience by fair means or foul. Their aim, the theory continues, is to build up a cheap labour force to be available at their disposal by offering their softwares dirt cheap to the intelligent but cheap wages masses. The way things have gone in the last ten years or so give ample credence to this theory. You only have to look at the large number of expatriate computer specialists hailing from downtrodden countries in the G-8 block to realize that. Even the recent trend of outsourcing the workforce leads to this very theory. Had it not been for piracy, the IT boom may never have taken place in the first place. So, does the end justify the means?

In a country where mugging and vehicle snatching are resignedly accepted as part and parcel of life, where innocent live are taken away for a mere cellphone, how can you expect the natives to look down on piracy – a petty crime in the eyes of the people which at least does not get anyone killed. In fact, it gets the scarce luxuries of life within an affordable range. It’s not to say that this intellectual theft can or should be accepted, but that the menace of piracy is so deeply entrenched in our psyche that unless there is a complete overhaul of attitude in all spheres of life, this apparently ‘lesser evil’ is here to stay for a long time.

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Sunday, February 20, 2005


“In the business world, an executive knows something about everything, a technician knows everything about something and the switchboard operator knows everything.”
-Harold Coffin

This quotation may be intended as a pun, but the truth is not father away as I’ve learned from my own experience. The amount of knowledge a person holds about his company is inversely proportional to his position in the company. It’s an altogether different ball game that some people ‘sleep their way to the top’ but here we’re discussing strictly legitimate means.

What I’ve observed is that the worker class holds the maximum amount of knowledge which more or less affirms what Mr. Coffin said. It’s true that the view at the top affords one a perspective which cannot be had from down below. For instance, consider standing at the top of a tall building. The things you’ll observe thence would give you a crystal clear view of the horizons. You’ll notice thing you didn’t know were within your sight’s grasp or even existed. Now look down and you won’t be able to make out much except tiny dots moving around.

It’s a bit different in the job world. If you’ve ascended from the very bottom, you would have a fairly good idea of what these dots are and what they are really up to. Consider my case. Right now I’m a trainee engineer; almost at the bottom. As such, I’ve no qualms or hesitation about interacting freely with the workers; the lot that knows it all. A GM or even a plant manager would think twice about intermingling with them the way I can afford in my position. Hence, in this respect I’m eons ahead of them. I’ve been here only a short while, but I’ve come to know who are the villains, the spies, the politically motivated trouble-makers as well as the influential ones.

Another amazing thing I’ve found here is that the workers are more technically sound than their superiors. The same person who appeared larger than life to us( the trainee engineers) during the orientation with his intricate knowledge of all the plants in the factory now appears a mere mortal. The reason: most of the time when he tries to explain something new to us now, we already know it, in fact we’ve have a better grasp of that matter. Sometimes when one of my colleagues has gone to him with a problem, he has been unable to arrive at a viable solution. The logic is simple enough. You can’t gain experience without going through it. There’s only so much you can learn by observing things from a distance.

This knowledge which I’ve been able to glean from the workers is going to be invaluable should I decide about staying here for a long while. Which brings me to the buzzword of the job-market: “switch-over”. The last decade has seen an increasingly number of people spending a couple of years in a certain job then moving onto another, as opposed to the trend of the your where people stuck to their jobs with the same till-death-do-us-apart dedication they put in their marriage. Now the institution of marriage is itself inching towards the ‘switch-over’ trend. But let’s not sidetrack from our topic.

What the switch-over does is add a hefty increment to your existing salary, and sometimes even enhanced fringe benefits as well. For instance, a brand manager of Insta-one who was getting Rs. 55,000 p.m. changed loyalties to U-fone for – get this – a cool Rs.110,000 p.m. She really hit a jack-pot, didn’t she? Now this maybe a rare case, but there are sure monetary benefits of ‘changing lanes’.

But as the old adage goes; all that glitters is not gold and the downside of this trend is the lack of specific knowledge about the new organization. Whatever that means? And more importantly, how on earth can that possibly hurt? Let me quote a real life case. Our maintenance incharge is a competent person, technically sound in his field, and yet he has to face embarrassing situations every other day owing to his lack of knowledge about my factory. He has been here only a short while and obviously joined this organization in search of that golden sky which every one of us yearns for. He got the financial reward all right. But the thing is that facotyr has it’s own sets of indigenous technical glitches for which there are equally technical ‘Jugaars’. You can’t make do without them and you can’t possibly know them unless you’ve been ‘knee-dirt’ involved in their rectification.

So whenever he suggests a remedy for a problem to the workers which they know won’t work, sometimes it is downright absurd for that particular case, he inadvertently ends up making a fool of himself. It may be a completely viable solution elsewhere, but since it doesn’t work in this factory and in this plant, the workers think it is outrageous and end up making the slanted conclusion with their dogmatic mentality that their boss is a goof-off. He thus undermines his authority.

And if this happens more than once (which it does in the case at hand), you’re preparing a recipe for disaster for yourself. The adaptability to the new workplace becomes all the more difficult, and you won’t be able to last long in such a place with your dignity intact. Of course, different people have different priorities. Some people override their need for respect from others for materialistic gains, and go on working in the same place where they’ve been deemed worthless by all and sundry. Others value others’ opinion about themselves dearly.

Now this scenario may not be as prominent in other professions and occupations, but it still exists most of the places with varying degrees, and when you’re shifting lanes for a better future, be sure to remember that it will come at a price. You’ve to decide for yourself how steep that price is and whether you’re willing to pay it or not.

If you’re aspiring to be a CEO early on in your career, then the best shot you can have at it is to stay with a company as long as it takes. It may happen that down the line you may be offered a high-ranking managerial post at some other company, but remember that getting a good post is not the hard part. Sustaining it with dignity is. But whatever path you choose, remember to make friends with the switchboard operator. ;:))

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Monday, January 17, 2005


The field of production isn’t much appetizing and attractive enough if you’re just starting your career and your hunger for learning the tricks of the trade is insatiable. It’s not that it doesn’t offer the scope. In fact the chances of getting ahead if you’re tied to this field are unparalleled to every other. There’s only so much you can climb the hierarchical organizational ladder if you’re in the maintenance or the quality department.

The vista of learning is the greatest in the maintenance department, which obviously raises the bar of satisfaction higher. But then this is the toughest job in the business, and the ‘Ragra’ is equally tough if you’re just starting out as a trainee, as Bilal learned the hard way in Abbott.

It’s not that you don’t get to learn much in production; I learn something new every day. Maybe that’s because we get breakdowns almost every other day, and so the maintenance factor comes into play in the learning curve of production as well. But somehow the production people are preferred for the top level posts. You’ll seldom find the GM of a factory hailing from the maintenance side.

The quality department is the most fun-filled and trouble free; not to mention lethargic as far as my observations go. I’ve asked around quite a bit, and at least in the middle-size organizations there’s a remarkable consistency of mediocrity all around. Maybe they do a significant role in the top-notch industries of Pakistan, but in the majority they are there just to justify ISO requirements. But this I’ve got to admit. They do a hell of a good job looking busy day in and day out.

Coming back to production, it has its own set of problems and scope pf learning, but it’s really charming or appetizing if you have a penchant for forging ahead through your sheer skills rather than some relative in the top echelon of the company

Most of the people I’ve come in contact share this view, including my friends and colleagues at my workplace. On paper it looks quite fascinating and impressive when you narrate your job description, but the ground reality is a bit different. All you’ve got to do is look, observe, or to sugar coat it a bit: supervise. It gets quite monotonous after a while; not action-packed like a Hollywood flick which would keep your adrenalin pumping throughout. But then that’s life. And by the way, all that surge of adrenalin would likely give you a heart attack than a sustained excitement level.

Maybe it’s up to you to break the shackles of monotony and do things a bit different. True, you can go horribly wrong, but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of learning something new. i.e. what doesn’t work. But don’t go overboard and try to reinvent the wheel by trying things which have already proved to fail. And whenever trying something new, don’t try to change many parameters at once. That way you won’t able to pinpoint exactly what went wrong.

And don’t worry about losing your job. That won’t happen. Unless you blow up the factory or make the company go bankrupt. Or worse still, your boss is already pissed at you and looking for an opportunity to do away with you. Otherwise, the chance of you getting fired especially early in your career with no downsizing changes looming on the horizon, are pretty slim. And it makes no difference whether it’s the private or public sector.

I work in the process industry where production can affected by altering even a single of the numerous parameters involved. And this happens all the time. So what harm can come if I intentionally change one of these parameters myself? Even if something goes wrong, I’ll at least know what doesn’t work. Thomas Edison failed almost 9,999 times in his endeavors to invent the electric bulb. When a friend of his tried to talk him out of it citing these failures, he merely replied, ‘These are not failures. These are 9,999 ways I know a bulb cannot be made.’

If we were to persevere this much, wouldn’t all of us be genius? After all, genius they say is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

‘It’s better to be risky than sorry’ should be your motto if you intend to get somewhere. Whether you make it or break it in your career solely depends on your ability to take
calculated risks. You can either content yourself with what little you get and let your career stagnate to mediocrity, or you can go all out in search of that perfect life. You have the rest of your life to take it easy; why not try to find out how far you can go now?
Mark my words. You’ll almost certainly get, not what you want but what you yearn for. Merely longing for something is just not enough. You have to thrown in whatever emotional energy you can generate behind your desires. Persistence and an inextinguishable desire are the only difference between success and failure, between people who get the life of their dreams and those that spend their entire life brooding over where they went wrong. Remember that your ability and aptitude don’t make much of a difference if you have the will.

I’ve seen people shown the door literally overnight by the company for no apparent reason after having put almost two decades of their life in that company. God forbid if the same fate befalls you, at least you’ll have the satisfaction of going the extra mile when the going got tough. Why to be cautious when you never know what tomorrow hold, or if it ever comes?

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

TELECOMMUNICATIONS Dethrones Computer Systems

Pakistanis are a peculiar species when it comes to almost every aspect of life. Take choosing careers for instance. The moment a new career sprouts up with potential for high-paid jobs, a gold rush starts which is probably unprecedented in the entire world. Institute of Business Administration, popularly called the IBA, has been around since 1955, associated with the distinguished Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania; one which is credited for churning out CEOs(that are ruling the world by proxy) by the dozen. And yet only a handful ventured there. The perception was: who needs to get a degree in business? It is something to be learned in the field, not in a classroom. The medical and engineering sector was the darling of the nation at that time. But then out of the blue came the MBA trend and IBA began to be worshipped reverently. “MBA Universities” began springing up in each gulley nala of the country. If you threw a stone randomly, 9 out 10 times it would hit a so-called MBA. Then the all too famous IT rush began and consumed the nation more rapidly than the previous one.

Now there’s no denying the fact that these phenomena were more or less synonymous with the world trends. But the intensity and stupidity of what was happening (and still is) was unparalleled elsewhere. Take the case of this guy who came up to me for advice as to which career he should choose. I asked him what he loves doing. He replied sketching. Then when I further queried him, he revealed that he was fascinated by architecture and stuff and had considered applying for the architectural program at NED. I asked what’s stopping him, and he delved into the all too familiar droning that it was not a financially viable profession these days and that computers was where the money was. I replied by asking him didn’t he know that the architects and civil engineers are one of the highest paid people in the engineering profession. He said he knew that but it was all in the past. I asked why is that? Have buildings stopped being built? He didn’t look convinced. I then began a lengthy lecture about how much life is bitter and from now on he’ll have to spend more than half his life working. So why not do something in which you are genuinely interested and can easily bear for the rest of your life. Then there’s the dilemma of competition. If you venture into a field which is ready to burst at it’s seams, chances are you are gonna face cutthroat competition, and finding a dream job in these conditions is going to be tough, unless you are damn good at it. So why not do something for which you have the aptitude and can carve out a unique niche for yourself? He still didn’t look convinced, and as he left, I had the sinking feeling that he was going to jump onto that about-to-be-doomed bandwagon.

This guy easily personifies the uncertainty and the lack of common sense amongst our youth. They are eager to jump into the well if everyone is following suit, without questioning what they are going to get out of it. And it isn’t as if the average Joe and Jane have this line of thinking. The ‘cream’ of the young intellectuals is into it as well without even a semblance of common sense.

While I was waiting for my interview at KU for the B.S. program, I struck up a conversation with a guy who was my fellow Adamjian, though I didn’t know him back then. He had scored 84% in the Intermediate and had applied for Computer Systems program at NED. I knew almost everyone having a score in that region was doing the same blindly. I asked him why did he chose that program of all the others. He looked at me like I was some sort of inconsequential being and replied, “Because I like computers”. I didn’t have the stamina to argue with him that it was a dead-end career as far as Pakistan is concerned. Not many knew that back then, and even those that did, just followed the others thinking if so many intelligent people are hooking up to it, something good would surely come out of it.

But how did this chain reaction start? The thing is, in the 90s when there started revolutionary advances in computer technology with Intel churning out processors with double the computing power than the previous almost every other year; most of the top dogs that came out of college each year, bedazzled by these surrealistic developments, started applying to the Computer engineering (hardware) degree program at NED. One thing led to another and before anyone realized it, in Ned especially, to award admissions on merit the percentage required had climbed to above 80%. That meant a sort of an elite class was created, and everyone getting an A-one grade wanted to be associated with it. So it was more of a question of honor rather than interest in the field that got people to opt for it. That’s how myopic our future intelligentsia is. But the bubble burst sooner than later. Telecommunications now ranks number one choice for the aspiring candidates followed by Electronics and Electrical. Computer engineering ranks a pathetic fourth. It just ceases to be elite all of a sudden. And most of those that chose it are now facing the harsh reality, which was evident even then but was shrouded by their own prejudice. The thing is, Pakistan is solely a computer consumer. There’s hardly any production, let alone research, going on here apart from a few like Inbox Business Technologies which is manufacturing local branded computers. Microsoft has decided to put a plant here now but even that is going to be in Lahore. The only places of interest are the local software houses but even those require mostly software engineers. The only viable option is to go abroad for higher studies and stay put there.

Now coming back to the situation prevailing at NED, although Telecommunication rules the roost at the moment, there’s no telling what twist and turn it may take in the future ala IT. Even Electronics and Electrical engineers are finding it extremely hard to make a living. The electronics group is still doing relatively better because there are no Telecommunications specialists coming out of the universities as yet, so the electronics ones are the best bet for the companies like Mobilink, Instaphone, and Ufone. And now two licenses have been awarded (the most lucrative in the history of this country) to two new contenders who’ll start operations probably in a year. Initially, everyone was saying that Vodafone was certain to penetrate into the local market, but it seems like these two new kids on the block outbid Vodafone. So while the competition is heating up, so is the job market for Telecommunication engineers. But I wouldn’t put my money on the initial few batches churning out from NED, for Ned has a habit of starting a degree program first and then catering to the needs of the students. Teachers come and go at the blink of an eye. The Electronics department at the beginning didn’t even have proper labs. There is a consistent haphazard way of doing things in there.

How well the Telecommunications sector (and in turn the Tele engineers) fares in Pakistan will depend as much on the public demand as on the prevailing economic conditions. In India for instance, there’s a very definite growing demand for telecommunications capabilities. The integration of multimedia is the most decisive factor for this. The gaming industry for mobiles in India is estimated to be worth billions of dollars! So the software and telecommunications sector are providing each other’s bread. But all this depends on more computing power to handle efficiently the increasingly sophisticated 3-D games as well as high- quality audio. So things will go from good to better once the prices for high-end cell phones come down drastically.

The Pakistani market lags far behind India even in this sector. And this isn’t because Pakistan is home to a meager 159 million souls while India to a staggering 1.08 billion people, though it does play a part. The thing is, right now in Pakistan, a respectable all-purpose cell phone costs anywhere between Rs. 15,000-25,000. That’s quite expensive by local standards. But people have been so caught on in the mobile frenzy that those (mostly youth) who can’t afford to buy these devices somehow manage to save enough money to get them. Trouble starts after they have bought them, and it’s the current lawlessness which holds the key to all this. The thing is, most of the people who do manage to buy these costly things travel by public transport, and there’s a very high probability of getting mugged. In fact the other day a friend of mine got mugged in broad daylight in a crowd bazaar just because of his mobile. In fact the mugger was gracious enough to return his sim and he just took the set. Imagine that; this scoundrel has enough time to take out the chip and hand it back to my friend and then walks away calmly for all to see. In this pathetic environment people are wary of buying costly cells to avoid getting mugged. This is a very real danger to the growth of the sector.

Then take the case of PTCL. This lethargic giant has helped no one by dragging on with its monopolistic shenanigans. Leave ISPs and other private firms dealing with it aside, even the public doesn’t trust PTCL in the least bit. Take the case of the recent decision by PTCL to make local call free from 12 am to 6 am. Now they may have taken that decision in good faith to show their sincerity, but rumors are doing the rounds that this is just another trick to entrap people into making more calls during this period so that more revenue can be generated. And no one can find out since there’s no record a local call. But the most popular is that the calls are free for the first 15 minutes, then they start being charged as usual. So in order to beat the system, you talk for 15 minutes, hang up, call and talk for another 15 minutes and so on. So people generally are wary of this suddenly sugary approach of the PTCL, which shows the extent of distrust between these two. And PTCL is to blame for all this. Companies are eager to get into our Tele- market and would have made great strides by now had it not been for the evasive policies of the government.

Considering everything, the telecommunications in Pakistan is pointing in the right direction, but whether it does move ahead in that direction or changes course midway, remains to be seen. In the current environment it is a bit of a risk venturing into this field. My advice: go for it by all means but once you’ve established that you’ve the aptitude for this kind of work, for if you’ve don’t have that; you’re going to get burned out pretty soon, prosperity or no prosperity.

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Thursday, August 12, 2004


There was a time in Pakistan when people heard you were an engineer, any type of engineer, you were literally revered by them. Mothers would fall over each other to grab an engineer for their daughters, and if a girl did it, she was considered nothing short of Einstein. Then when I was undergoing the engineering program; the era of IT prosperity; people would ask what you were studying. When you replied engineering, they sulked a bit and asked which field. Upon hearing the word mechanical, they looked down at you like you were their mechanic. Yep. People in their infinite stupidity don’t know their mechanic from the mechanical. It all seems the same to them.

Times have changed again for the better as far as mechanical engineers are concerned. Job advertisements for mechanical engineers are splattered all over the classifieds and word is spreading fast that the mechanical field has been resurrected. People are claiming that the “Second Coming” is holier and more glorified than the first. I doubt it, especially because this field never got to be crucified. Sure it received a dent when the IT boon was happening, but the industries didn’t stop working, did they? And to run the industry you require these engineers.

This job boon has got more to do with the economic growth rather than the receding IT ventures. It’s really very simple: when the economy is booming, that means more money is pumping through the economy, people are buying goods, demand is higher than the supply, production has to be increased to counter that, and viola! Work force gets increased which includes the engineers as well.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t really translated into prosperity for the engineers. Sure, they are employed by the dozen, but what are they being offered? Literally peanuts.

A mechanical engineer has the toughest job of all the professions. It is not only physically debilitating, but mentally taxing as well. You would think with this sort pressure, the person should be properly compensated for his work. No sir. Nothing of this sort in our industry. Most of the factories have working conditions which are despicable. I‘ve already pointed that out in the case of Textiler. God knows how many places have such working environments, or maybe even worse. And these are supposed to be good times for the mechanical engineer. Imagine what the bad times would be like. But I’ve a strong suspicion that these conditions are only applicable to Pakistan. I can’t imagine other nations maltreating their mechanical assets to such an extent.

When everyone was singing Information Technology’s praises, the IT specialists were being pampered all over the world, more so in Pakistan. They were demanding and getting exorbitant salaries, even the fresh graduates. No one came forward and objected to this trend, or even termed it crazy. Hell, even these days they are getting away with ‘murder’. I met a FAST (NU University) graduate at a friend’s wedding who had recently graduated. He was getting Rs.22, 000 monthly from a local software house plus a car (Suzuki Mehran). But when it comes to a fresh M. engineer, even the people in the industry consider it crazy to demand or get respectable pay when starting out. Consider the case of Bilal Ahmed Siddiqui. One of the brilliant students of our batch, of not the brilliant student, I’m sure he would make for a great engineer. A couple of people narrated this incident to me that when Bilal applied for a job at Hino-Pak Pvt Ltd, he wrote the expected salary Rs.60, 000 monthly. The people there were incredulous as to how could a fresh one demand so much. But since he was the star of the batch, the darling of all the teachers, the Hinopak had to check him out. May be he made a mistake or something. So he was called for an interview. The operations manager who was conducting the interview asked him if he had made a mistake. To which he replied in the negative. He then told him he was the manager and he was getting Rs. 42,000, so how could they give that much money to him, who had no experience? All he said was that if they couldn’t pay him that much, why on earth did they call him? Arrogant, huh? That’s what most people have been calling him since learning about this incidence, including the people who narrated this to me. They say he thinks he’s above everybody. But their envy is nothing new, but more like a historical affair. He has been accused of going where no civilian has gone before. And they are right. Bilal did his internship at the Heavy Mechanical Complex Taxila which is a heavily guarded military installation. Almost everything is manufactured there. A truly unique place. So once you gain experience from such a place, you are obviously going to be far ahead of the competition. No one else got the chance, and Bilal also was able to get in only because his father is a retired brigadier. People grudge him for even that. Then he was able to design as well as fabricate some sort of micro gas turbine, an expensive undertaking, because he was able to afford it. So that’s one more strike against him. Others fret that they are not able to pull off these wonderful feats and get the accolades from the teachers and all, because they don’t have the resources, otherwise they are as good as him, if not better. What these people don’t realize is that he has been involved in this stuff from the day he set foot in the university. He isn’t just interested in engineering, he’s passionate about it. And once you get in that frame of mind, doors of opportunities start opening for you left and right. Then it doesn’t matter if you have the resources or not, things just start to fall in your lap. But to achieve that state, you’ve got to go the extra mile, do things that others leave out merely due to inconvenience, for as the saying goes:

“When you want what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.”

Coming back to the question, was he justified in asking for that kind of pay? Why not? If he’s able enough, why shouldn’t he get it? He’s not forcing anyone. He’s merely asking, though what he’s asking may be a tad too much. And don’t get me wrong. While I may endorse his demand for such a salary, I do not necessarily have the same expectations for myself, though I’d love to get something in that region. The point is, if you are good enough, you have every right to negotiate the terms of your employment. Right now, we mechanical engineers are in shambles when it comes to pay. We don’t have any union which can set a limit to the minimum wage. And there’s no real unity among us; if one of us rejects an employer for paying scrap, another one would grab it greedily. The employer doesn’t even have to think about increasing the wage since someone is always ready to take the job.
There are examples of mechanical engineers earning respectable income. For instance, take the case of Arslan’s manager at Adam Motors Pvt Ltd. He was drawing about Rs. 42,000 monthly from there when he was suddenly offered a job at Ali Motors for about Rs. 58,000 plus a KIA Pride while here he was given a mere Daihatsu Cuore. Immediately he applied for a leave at Adam’s and switched to Ali’s. The leave part is the trend in the industry. You just don’t resign from your job, but apply for a leave for 2-3 months. In that way, if you don’t like the new job, you always have the option of falling back on the former one. Everybody, including the M.Ds know when an employee applies for leave that he’s leaving them for good, but they don’t do anything for there isn’t much to do really, is there?

Coming back to the guy, he did have about 7-8 years experience in the industry, and he was just a graduate from NED. But these success stories are few and far between, and I would bet a person in some other profession would be earning a lot more after this period.

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