Short Stories 216 — Writing Prompt 49

Write about a character pretending to be someone they’re not.

Sham Engineer

Blanket flew in air as Meghraj got out of bed frantically reaching out to his laptop, meanwhile the alarm is going off on the table next to his bed. Once again, he barely woke up, just before the daily stand-up. He switched off the alarm after booting the laptop, just to save a few precious seconds. Gone are the days, where he used to wake up at 7.30, complete his morning routine including exercise, have breakfast, and then be ready for the 10 AM call. Nowadays, waking at 10 has become a chore.

After working for the same organization for 3+ years, his ambitions are as dead as his morning routine. Stagnation does kill a person's dream, and he has experienced it first hand. His hunger has withered away and there remains a husk of a man that one wanted everything, he could grasp. He has managed to grasp everything his current organization has to offer, and now he is kind of stuck, in a chore without any challenges.

A new habit is formed, where after the meeting, he has to google random things that popped in this mind such as, how long does a mosquito take to digest the blood he drank, or how long does it take to purify the blood, or drowning is euphoric or not. This new hobby may teach him a few good things, but most of the time, it is a waste of time. Knowing this, he still indulges in it.

After googling, if time permits, Instagram is always to the rescue to kill some, more time. Where going through the stories of his friends doesn’t make him happy anymore. On the contrary, jealousy slithers in. Comparing their life to his and proceeding to hate them and himself. After all, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Envious of his position in his career and life, even though he is doing extremely good for himself. Has a high-paying job and people that care for him, yet discontent in life.

While scrolling through Instagram, he received a call from a friend. A friend who is living in a different state with a different timezone. Conversation flowed from one topic to another. After talking for almost an hour, and exhausting all the topics, they had to end the call. Meghraj had a big smile on his face at the beginning, but as the call went on, his face started drooping. The talk about salary had slumped his mood. He realized the fact that the difference between their salaries had increased drastically, in a matter of 3 years. And realizing this, the flame in his belly had rekindled again.

It wasn’t just a flame, but a raging fire. He knew exactly what his next step is, and that is to get out of his current project and the current organization. The domain that he works in, won’t give him the salary that he desires. But there is one thing out there, that will pay big money. And for that, he will have to become, a Data Engineer.

The goal is set, and now the hard work begins. He has always been an intelligent person, a quick learner, and also his trump card in the form of speech. He has his way with words. Having worked at a call center, taught him how to talk to people and that is something he abuses on regular basis.

Once the destination is decided, half the journey has been completed. Now it is time to learn the things that make no sense, and that too has begun. Since day one, completing the office work in the first half itself, studying for the new role has begun. As the topics are completely new, some drastic decision is required. The fire is burning so hot that the decision to sleep for 6 hours has also been taken.

And along with the study, he has also started sending his resumes for interviews. And within no time, he also started getting short-listed. And one after another, he started giving interviews. In the beginning, he was failing miserably, getting rejected in the first round itself. He understood that theory knowledge won’t do, so he had to get some hands-on experience.

And for that, he bought freelanced projects. After receiving the projects, he started creating his own version looking at the one that he bought. And slowly he started to get confidence. Yet it wasn’t enough to crack the interview. But he wasn’t a quitter. He had faith in himself and kept going on. And one final day, he received a mail saying, he had gotten selected. And the pay was twice of what he was earning.

He wasn’t making more than his friend, but internally he was happy and satisfied with the amount of work he pulled off, in such a short time. And now he waited for the day to join the new organization. And just like that, a month passed and it was his first day at the new organization.

On the first day itself, the task is being assigned to him. A large amount of work is expected from him. And now all of a sudden, he is starting to get second thoughts. An entire project worths work of task is assigned to him and him alone. He thought he would get some time to rest, as things usually take some time to get started in these big firms. But that wasn’t the case here. He won’t be getting any rest whatsoever.

To a person that merely has theoretical knowledge, whose entire resume is fraudulent and he hasn’t worked on this technology, now has to work and give the task before the deadline. All of a sudden a lot is expected from him.

Once again, he has to go back to work for 12 hours. As he doesn’t have any other option. Once again sleepless nights have begun, but he is still not a quitter and believes that it will take him only 6 months to get used to it.

Not a pro write — trying to figure out writing and being articulate — just a side gig — not expecting much from it except learning—Hope you enjoy your stay.