Overestimating the “Underestimating”
I don’t know much about this but I will try my best!
February 2018. I left my previous job and started looking for a new job. I had some interviews lined up. I had 7+ years of hands-on experience on mobile development, two world wide published books on Android, few open source libraries and a good portfolio. What I didn’t have was the self esteem and confidence.
“Sir, I will try my best.”
“Sir, you won’t be disappointed, I promise.”
“I don’t know if I can do this Sir.”
At some point I have used these sentences and I know most of you have also used in your lives as well. The problem is not in these sentences. These are the perfectly normal answers to the questions we don’t know about.
Students use these all the time. From teacher’s perspective, it is the belief and trust on ability of students. From student’s perspective, it is the courage and confidence to show and perform.
But that day, I had lost all these when I panicked of not having any job. Maybe it was because I hadn’t searched for any job in last 5 years. Or maybe it was because of financial crisis and due loans. Or maybe it was about the fact of not having job which I couldn’t accept. Or maybe because I was lacking self confidence and was underestimating myself.
I have observed in my friends, students, and social circle that we overestimate the ability of underestimating. But instead we should underestimate the ability of underestimating itself. I learned this fact in next couple of weeks in the hard way.
When I went to first interview, it was a very big company with huge reputation and competition. Luckily, I had passed their online test with great score. Then they gave me a task which I also did great. After that I had 2 interviews.
So I was on the way in Uber. I was thinking of how to beat the interviews and get the job. But in fact, I was thinking about how desperately I need this job. If I don’t get this job, I am stuck in a bad situation. I need this job. I need this company. This is a big company. I don’t know if my skill set is that great. Or if the company really deserve me.
You see. Having these kinds of thoughts where you are underestimating yourself and your ability and your confidence. This is a sign of trouble. A big big trouble.
Interview happened. It didn’t go well. Actually it went very bad. You could say it was the most horrible experience of my life. They gave me a simple sorting algorithm on a very strange web based compiler. And I couldn’t make it. I failed miserably. I failed horribly.
What happened? What went wrong? Am I not a good coder? Am I really a coder at all?
This is what I was thinking. I came home. Depressed. I couldn’t believe myself that I couldn’t even write a sorting program. I started my laptop and searched about that same web based compiler and I wrote that same program just to see if I really can do this. After this bad experience, I was having doubts about me and my confidence. I had to make me believe myself.
Surprisingly, I managed to write that exact same program within 15 minutes which I couldn’t write in 30 minutes there. What was the problem then? Why I couldn’t write it there? I was having all kinds of strange questions but no answers.
I moved on blaming on luck and life. Next 3–4 more interviews went somewhat similar. And I kept failing and failing over and over again. My confidence was all time low. I was underestimating myself a lot. The underestimating of myself reached a point that I became desperate and started asking for lower salaries etc.
Time wasn’t on my side. I was borrowing more loans to pay my old loans and manage household expenses. Nights were without sleep. Days were filled with desperation and job hunting. And then I met a very close friend after a long time suddenly.
“Wajahat, you got great skills and books and open source. You don’t need these big companies. These big companies need you. They cannot find someone with this kind of portfolio and books etc. There’s only one Wajahat. That’s you. Where’s your confidence man? Where’s the Wajahat whom I know for so many years? Where’s the Wajahat who used to fight with management for the rights of the team? Where’s that guy? I want to meet him.”
In that time of depression, that was exactly what I needed. A dose of motivation. A dose of self confidence. A dose of removing the ability of underestimating myself.
Few days later, I had an interview with one of the largest company of Canada. I was getting ready and I was talking to myself.
“Wajahat, this is it. This is your chance. You don’t need it. They need you. They need your skills and mind. So go ahead and tell them that you are exactly what they need.”
After 2 written tests, and 4 interviews I got the job. It was the best kind of opportunity I couldn’t even think of. At the end, I think its all about believing in yourself and self-confidence.
But just belief is not going to be sufficient. Hard work, passion and consistency are going to make your dreams into reality. All the big dreams start from the belief that I can do this.
In our daily life, we often underestimate ourselves and our ability. If someone gives us compliment, we blame luck and fortune very easily. Instead we should say thanks and accept the compliment. Its not like that I don’t believe in luck or prayers etc. I actually am a huge believer of these things. But these won’t work without the hard work, passion and consistency.