Opportunity is often difficult to recognize; we usually expect it to beckon us with beepers and billboards. ~William Arthur Ward 

Seize the opportunity by the beard, for it is bald behind. ~Bulgarian Proverb

The above quotes give us a bright picture of what opportunities are – and what happens of you miss those. As someone said, when an opportunity comes knocking at your doors, you should catch hold of it with the scruff of the neck and pull it inside. I have missed quite a few, I still don’t know if these were opportunities or just mirages…. but nevertheless, looking back, I seem to have lost out, at the same time gained some on a few good things by not picking these…

Just listing out a few I could remember…

Case 1:

Just out of college, completed my joining formalities in CUSAT for MBA. But, in the meantime, in a bit of haste, joined at NCM. After completing the joining formalities and returning, the call letter from CUSAT was at home. Just ignored that. What I missed – Studying in a world class university at the city called Queen of Arabian Sea, instead go to a normal B-School in Coimbatore. What I gained – A good experience on life, that I would have definitely missed if I were at CUSAT, and a whole lot of friends I have made over there.

Case 2:

When I was working In HSBC the offer to move to Sri Lanka as trainer for migration of ACH Operations. I was just about 11 months into the system, and had I held on for one more month, I could have been eligible to move on with this. I resigned and joined ICICI Prudential. The opportunity missed here – to move to an offshore location early in my career, which would have boosted my CV a lot more. What I gained by missing the opportunity – Joined India’s leading Insurance Company in the private sector and having a decent run there.

Case 3:

A call from Dutsche Bank, as Business Analyst. I was motivated by the brand name of ICICI that I overlooked a not so familiar German bank that was just beginning to be heard of in India. The profile offered interested me quite a lot, but the brand name did not attract. What I missed – DB is today a leading name in their area of operation. What I gained by missing the opportunity – ICICI Prudential.

Case 4:

September 2007, I was still a Grade I at ICICI Pru, the offer from HR at EKFC had come in. I had finished the last round of interview also, when the letter came in I declined the offer. I had looked at the bigger picture in the organisation before doing this, I had completed my IQ2 for promotion to Grade II (which I eventually got in December 2007) and since the recession had not set in, was looking for a Grade III movement by September 2008 as per the existing timelines. What I missed – working for the world’s largest catering firm and a brand name that is famous worldwide for its service and quality. Gains – I got promoted to Grade III eventually, but quite delayed. What was due in late 2008 had come in only in February 2010 – after a delay of almost one and half years. Also got a lot more opportunities to showcase my photoshop, presentation and analytical skills.

There might be more such small and maybe even bigger instances in life. But these were the ones that have played a role in shaping my life till now. But what I have experienced is that if an opportunity is not picked, the alternative is not always bad either.

As the saying goes – “Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along. ~ Hugh Allen”