Remembering my Life at Adobe and Wishing the Company was into Publishing instead of Software Development - By Vibha Malhotra
When I applied for a job at Adobe in 2004, I wasn't really looking for a change. I was working as a Test Analyst in Fidelity Investments and life in general was good. Apart from a good working atmosphere and growth opportunities, the company also provided food and pick-n-drop in air-conditioned cabs. As a young software professional, what more can you ask for?
But when I saw an advertisement for an opening in Adobe, I didn't think twice before applying. It was the dream company of almost all software professionals not only in Delhi/NCR but also in other cities. My colleagues at Fidelity constantly talked about how wonderful Adobe and its building at Sector-25A, Noida are. I had never seen it myself, but somehow knew that I will be there some day. Today, when my husband, who is still working with Adobe, came back with these mobile clicks of the new Adobe building at Sector 132, Noida, my first thought was "Oh, no!". Not because I did not like the new building, but because I don't work with Adobe anymore. And because I won't be able to proudly point at the magnificent building and boast that I work here. For the first time since I left Software Industry I felt a tinge of regret. Sigh. Anyways, I am sure I will get over it eventually. Because I have to...
Back in 2004, I was surprised when I got a call from Adobe HR telling me that my profile had been shortlisted. It was common knowledge that Adobe hired engineers only from renowned technical universities. And I wasn't even a proper engineer back then. I had been an average performer throughout my school days and, in the name of technical education, I had completed a diploma from NIIT. I don't know what it was in my application that had caught their eye. But there I was, incredulous and ecstatic, and nervous about the next step.
Everyone applying for a job at Adobe is required to undergo a written test, and this test, even back in 2004, was reputed to be really tough to crack. I worked hard and studied and practiced continously, but despite this, on the day of the test, I felt that I wasn't really prepared for it. Anyhow, I didn't have a choice, so I went through with it. At the end, I felt that my test had gone well, but told myself that by Adobe standards, I would be among hundred other applicants whose tests had gone "well". And when I didn't get a call for over a week, I was sure that I hadn't made the cut.
However, the call came eight days later and to my delight, I was invited for the next round. I was asked to keep myself free for the entire day. I agreed and planned accordingly, but wondered what kind of interview could last the entire day. And I soon found out. On that day, I was interviewed by no less than five people, Nandan Jha, Rahul Vishwaroop, and a couple of other people, plus the Head of HR. By the end of the day, my voice was hoarse and I had lost the will to speak. However, I was still happy because I knew that my interviews had gone well. I went home expecting an offer letter any day.
But the wait stretched to days, and after one whole week had passed, I forced myself to stop pressing the refresh button in my mailbox every five minutes. I consoled myself that I had given it my best and that I was already at a good place professionally, and started settling back into the old routine at Fidelity.
Then I got another call, and unfortunately it was not to offer me a job. They wanted me to appear for yet another interview. Apparently, the head of the business unit I was being considered for wanted to meet me. I was slightly disappointed, but at the same time was happy. It meant that I had cleared all the previous rounds. As a non-engineer it was a big boost to my ego.
I appeared for the interview. Sitting across the table was Lekhraj Sharma, who looked intimidating to me despite his slight built and simple, unassuming ways. This was the most difficult of all rounds. And when it ended, I was almost sure that I had messed up my chances. When I asked the HR by when I could hope to hear from them, I got the dreaded "Don't call us. We will call you." Getting back into the routine was much easier this time.
But Adobe surprised me yet again, and within two days, I had the most beautiful offer letter sitting in my Inbox. I couldn't believe my eyes. I looked at it again and then again, I don't know how many times. Not only was this an offer from a company I so badly wanted to get into, it was also a good offer, with a good raise. The world was beyond beautiful. It was perfect. Colours were brighter, birds sang louder, and winters became more romantic than ever. My colleagues at Fidelity were happy for me. They are obviously better people than me, because I would definitely have been envious.
Soon I was there, inside Adobe's famous office, the building that captured the imaginations of so many software engineers across the country, and I was an employee. I could proudly point at the building and boast that this was where I worked. But that was 11 years ago. Since then I have made a rather drastic career change in which I have had the staunch support of all my friends at Adobe (Akshaya, Ashish, Deepika, Poonam, Sachin, Smriti, Vaishali, and Vijay), my Manager, Nandan, and the director of the business unit I worked for, Shanmugh Natarajan.
This is 2015 and my beloved Adobe is up against several changes. Dr Naresh Gupta, who has always been at the helm of Adobe India, steering it through good weather, through storm, through rain, and through all kinds of ups and downs, always knowing what to do when, is leaving the organization he seeded and brought up. And besides this, the engineering team will soon be moving into a brand new facility. It almost feels as if too much is changing too soon. But one look at the new building, and you know that the spirit of Adobe, its focus on quality, and its guiding principles remain the same. I wish the organization the best and hope to see it grow leaps and bounds under the new leadership.