“Why I quit Zomato, to join AIB, only to come back three...

“Why I quit Zomato, to join AIB, only to come back three months later.” – by Akshar Pathak.


Akshar-P-620x350I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

That’s what Stephen Covey (author of one of the very few books I’ve read) said. If you have the patience to read through to the end of this, you’ll eventually understand why I’ve put this quote right here at the top.

Okay, so this is my story of my personal experiences at Zomato. Before you ask, here’s the disclaimer — I worked at Zomato for about three years before leaving to work somewhere else for three months. And now, I’m back here at Zomato for my second stint. But to understand what made me return, we’ll have to go back to how I joined Zomato in the first place.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Design from NIFT, New Delhi. Why NIFT? Because I was interested in design. Also, because I couldn’t get into NID. Also, because engineering was something I wasn’t cut out for. Also, because math sucks! While at NIFT, I applied to IDC, the design center at IIT Bombay. I took the CEED exam, got all-India rank 8, and was sure I’d get in. Yeah, I was THAT confident. In fact, so confident that I never sat for the NIFT placements or applied for a job either. Instead, I flew to Bombay, went drinking the night before the interview, woke up late and hungover the next morning, ran to the interview, tripped and fell, fractured my foot, and then fucked up my interview (because twist in the plot, right?). Do I blame the IDC for not accepting me into the course? Nope. Will I hate the IDC for the rest of my life? Maybe a little.

Zomato Doha(Qatar) Office.
Following this episode, I started working for a company. Then I worked for five more that year –

  • Started with designing merchandise for a company. Didn’t like the job, or the people there. So I quit.
  • Worked at an advertising agency. Didn’t appreciate the fact that I spend days making something and then the client rejects it because his dog doesn’t love it. So I quit.
  • Worked with Happily Unmarried. LOVED it. We worked out of a tiny room in Okhla. That’s where I realized I liked cracking jokes and making fun/quirky things. The two founders are amazing, and that’s where I learned how working for (and with) good people can do good for your life. The company was young, and I wanted to do bigger things, so — you guessed it — I quit.
  • Worked on UX/UI for a while and didn’t enjoy it one bit. I hated wireframing, and learned that trying to understand how people react to things takes a hell of a lot of patience (which I did/do not have). So I quit.
  • You get the point.

I eventually joined Zomato in 2012, after one of my batchmates from NIFT who worked here referred me. Back then, my reasons for joining Zomato were reeeally stupid:

  • The office was close to where I lived.
  • My girlfriend was working there (though nobody knew it at the time).
  • It paid more than my previous job.

I started off in the graphic design team, and I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. So each day, I’d design something that we could post to the Zomato Facebook page. As it turned out, people enjoyed the posts, so I was put in charge of all of Zomato’s social posts/creatives. I’ve never really cared about job descriptions or designations, but I liked that I was getting to do more than I was hired to.

Zomato Melbourne Office.
Zomato Melbourne Office.

To borrow a philosophy from one of our campaigns that went viral, there are two kinds of people — those who work for the money (whether it’s because they really need it to pay the bills or because getting rich is their only goal in life) and those who work because they genuinely love what they do. The former is always focused on the outcome of what they’re doing, while the latter puts their heart and soul into what they do knowing that the efforts will pay off. I’ve been fortunate enough to see myself as the latter. Not blowing my own trumpet (I swear), but I’ve never asked for a raise. I’ve found what I enjoy doing and I try to do that well, and I know that the money will come.

The greater point is, if you don’t like what you’re doing, do something else until you find what you love. It’s like when I start watching a TV series and the first two episodes suck, and I give up on the series altogether and move on to a new one that I might like (speaking of which, watch Making A Murderer, it is f**king amazing).

Wait, so if I loved my job that much, what made me quit? Well, I was beginning to feel that I wasn’t doing anything new for myself or Zomato. Things felt like they were repeating themselves. I needed new inspirations to bathe in, to put it poetically. I wanted bigger challenges. I thought I needed to try stuff I never did before. And that’s how All India Bakchod (AIB) happened. I ended up leaving Gurgaon for Mumbai (even though my family wasn’t too impressed with my decision). In that dreamy but unbearably humid city, I met some of the coolest people ever, and I enjoyed the work I was doing. Everything was fine, but then something started bugging me. Maybe it was homesickness. Maybe not. But I couldn’t shake the feeling. Come to think of it, I don’t think I missed my work at Zomato as much as I missed the people at Zomato. It was funnily weird because I always thought work was more important than anything else. I also thought I could easily move on. Turns out I wasn’t 100% correct in my personal assessment.

There’s something about life at Zomato that gets you addicted to it. Once you get used to it, I don’t think you can ever forget it, let alone walk away from it with a happy face. I also think that all the good that comes with Zomato is part of the reason why so many people who leave Zomato (or are asked to leave) vent the way do — they just miss it that much.

I had to take a decision (See? Life’s an endless series of decisions) and I did. I quit AIB and flew back to where I belonged.

Simply put, I left Zomato in July, only to return in November. The best part was that I didn’t feel lost even for a second when I was back.

It just felt like coming home after a vacation.

This article was first published on Medium by Zomato.




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