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When job seekers were spoilt for choice

When job seekers were spoilt for choice

Photo for representation. File photo

Shamsher Chandel

BACK in the late 1960s, government jobs were so abundantly available that candidates were spoilt for choice and even had options regarding the place where they wished to work.

One of my father’s friends (whom I called uncle), fresh out of college, was on the lookout for a government job. He had around a dozen opportunities laid out in front of him almost like a menu. He chose to teach, but why? It was due to easy work hours and a month’s break in the summer.

Living in a small suburb of Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh, which borders Punjab’s Ropar, he applied at once when he heard of vacant teaching positions there.

Armed with a rare science degree back in the day, it was a cakewalk for him to be shortlisted for a government job. Within a week of submitting his application, he got an interview call.

At the interview, after going through his certificates, the first question the interviewer asked was where he would like to join. Uncle replied: ‘I live in Nalagarh, 12 km from Ropar. Therefore, I would like to join a school in Ropar.”

Lo and behold! Within seven days, he received an appointment letter at his doorstep. There was still a month left for his joining. And in the midst of it, the Himachal Pradesh Government, too, advertised vacancies of teachers in schools across the state. Uncle’s father suggested: ‘Why not give it a shot? Maybe you will find a job right under your nose.’

Uncle reached Shimla for the interview. To his surprise, there were about 300 vacancies and just 28 applicants. When it was his turn, the interviewer asked him: ‘Where do you want to join?’

Without wasting a second, he said: ‘Sir, Nalagarh would be fine. The school is just a few furlongs from my house.’

‘Oh fantastic, then you must join there,’ the interviewer said enthusiastically.

Uncle joined the school near his residence. But before that, he had to break the news to the Punjab school authorities that he was no longer interested in joining at Ropar.

‘Oh ho, you have left us in a tight spot. Any chance you know of someone who could replace you?’ he was asked.

Uncle replied: ‘Yes, there is one, but his compartment exam result is awaited.’

‘Ok, when his result is out, tell him to contact us as soon as possible.’

A few days later, the job went to my uncle’s acquaintance!

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