Insights

  1. The biggest plus for PSU employees is salary and perks along with great job security and work-life balance. I would say that it is the best of both worlds!
  2. The trade secret of getting work done in a Government Office is targeting the Power Centre (Usually Babus) and not the top officials (Ministers, IAS, CxO).
  3. You need a good GATE score to get into this profession.
  4. As vacancies are limited in PSUs, I advise that you join private sector or teach for few years and keep applying to PSUs. You should get through in 2–3 years.
  5. Initially, there are a lot of transfer and tours, but while you grow through ranks you will have a stable job. The initial years are for gaining experience and learning different nuances.

Profile Details

Name — Bijay Kumar Pathy

Profession — Senior Manager (Retails) & Project Manager LPG Bottling Plant, IOCL

Company — Indian Oil Corporation Limited (PSU)

Sector — Public Sector

Age — 48

Place — Bhubaneshwar

LinkedIn — www.linkedin.com/in/bijay-k-pathy-94935067

Where have you born and raised? Tell us something about your family background.

I was born in Berhampur, Odisha. My father was a Chemistry Professor and mother was a homemaker. During my schooling days, I moved around a lot of places in Odisha like Bhadrak, Paralakhemundi, and Berhampur. I completed my higher secondary studies from Khallikote College, Berhampur. Then I joined the Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, Burla for my B.Tech.

Who all had the most influence on you and how?

My father influenced me as he singlehandedly worked to make sure that his family is well taken care of. This taught me that even if there is a lot going in your life, the key to happiness is keeping a balance between personal and professional life.

Please give us a summary of your career.

I joined VSSUT Burla, which is the oldest engineering college in the Orissa state. There I studied Civil Engineering. The freshmen year was interesting because we got to know new people. The population of college was heavily skewed. There were only two girls in the whole batch and one of them got a seat in medical college, so that was how it was. (Both laughs).

Sophomore year was when things turned out to be really scary and circumstances changed on its head in a matter of a few days. It was July 14th, a few days before our semester exams, when the bloodiest feud between the students of our engineering college and the trade union brought the college to stand still and shook us to the very core. The macabre turned into a massacre. Days after the feud, 11 bodies were found in a power channel of Hirakud Dam.

Loss of friends and aftermath of incident knocked senses into each one of us and we started valuing each and everything in life. Following two years were emotional uphill for us because we had to take everything happening around us into our stride still study hard for the job.

Private firms were not a rage during that period, so we had two options — higher studies or qualify for jobs through GATE exams. Clearing doubts in those days were not present at our clicks or fingertips as we didn’t have the luxury of the internet or online classes. Luckily, the teachers then were one of the best in the country.

To get into IOCL, it took me about 6 years, after completing my bachelors from VSSUT, Burla.

After my B.Tech, I pursued my Masters in NIT Rourkela in Soil Mechanics as a Major and Physics as a Minor. After completion of M.Tech, I got a job in the Irrigation Department in Bhubaneswar.

Meanwhile, I was preparing for IES and other public service examination. After two years in the Irrigation Department, I joined MBA in Berhampur University. During my time in the Business School, I took a job to teach in an engineering school on soil mechanics. That was probably my most difficult period as I was doing three things in parallel — MBA, Teaching at an engineering school and preparing for exams of different PSUs.

After completion of MBA, I got selected IOCL.

What institutes are best for training/education of this profession?

There are a large number of engineering colleges that have sprung all around the country. To choose a good one from the lot is the real deal. You have to appear a national level entrance exam JEE Mains and Advanced to get entry into one best centrally funded colleges like IITs, NITs, and IIITs. Then there are state-funded colleges in different states. And not to forget the private colleges that have grown exponentially in terms of number and quality of education.

I want to add to this that entering into a good engineering college does not guarantee you any form of success. You have to maintain healthy CGPA and most importantly add many skills and industrial exposure to your repertoire.

What is the cost associated with the education/training of this profession?

IITs and NITs cost is somewhere between 4–6 lakhs. In private colleges, it depends on its infrastructure, faculties, placements. The upper limit is around 10 lakhs.

How does one enter your profession?

Most PSUs recruit on the basis of GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test Engineering) score, which you take at the end of your Engineering. The GATE score is valid for 3 years. They shortlist the candidates on GATE score and then hold GD and PI for final intake. There are other PSUs, which conduct their own exams and shortlist through campus interviews. (https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-get-a-job-in-PSU

What are the typical Salaries in your Profession?

As IOCL is a PSU, the salaries are fixed and are based on a PayScale. Following is the average of an Engineer in a PSU:

Starting Out (Executive Trainee/Management trainee) — 8 lakhs/annum

5 Years of Experience (Executive Officer) — 10 to 12 lakhs/annum

10 Year of Experience (Grade A Officer) — 16 to 20 lakhs/annum

15 Years of Experience (Management) — 30+ lakhs/annum

Several allowances are provided such as Mobile and Laptop allowances every 2–3 years, house and maintenance allowance around every 6 years. Medical benefits for self and dependents.

Tell us about your journey in IOCL?

Well, being in IOCL, I had a lot of transfers. It started with a training in Kolkata. Then, I was posted in Jamshedpur, then in Malda (West Bengal), Raiganj (Siliguri), Sambalpur, Bhubaneswar, Raipur and finally back to Bhubaneswar.

In Bhubaneswar, I am posted as Senior Manager Retails, Marketing Division.

I also handle the additional charge of managing the bottling plant.

Describe your regular day of work at IOCL?

The order of business in office is not predestined beforehand. However, at a macro level, this includes arranging meetings in different parts of the country, setting the agenda for the meeting and most importantly meeting the right person for the job.

I will tell you a little secret. Working in PSUs involves dealing with politicians as well as top bureaucrats. The catch is not to go after the most important person, but to search for the power center of the department. The meeting is fruitful when we target the power center (usually they are Babus, the one who moves files in Government Departments) of that organization instead of running behind the CEO, CFO etc.

What are some positive which would encourage someone to take this job or profession?

Clearing this exam requires more than serious preparation. But after you enter this job you lead a life of peace, security, and contentment in a true sense.

You never have the anxiety of job security (even during economic instability). I know that my friends in private sectors have lucrative pay packages, perks, and allowances but they don’t have the Job Security.

You command recognition and respect in the society as we are on par with grade A official of Central Government Employees.

If you love traveling, then you will get several chances of traveling across the country where you will meet people of all hue and culture.

As I have worked in several organizations before joining IOCL, I can safely say that IOCL provides the best Work-Life Balance. You will be able to give ample time to your family because of the superb work-life balance.

What are some challenges you face in your job/profession?

The challenges seem to come in new ways as responsibilities grow.

Initially, there were a lot of transfers. That was mind-boggling at the start when you have also a family to look after.

As this job is largely a field job, it got very tiring. It involved traveling as well.

As this profession requires opening new Petrol Pumps, Bottling Plants etc, you have to deal with a lot of Government Departments, Courts, etc to get approvals. It involves dealing with political heads (minister or politicians having oil and petroleum portfolio) of the region.

What are the relevant skills/trend/technology that currently premium in your job profile?

The first and foremost thing you should be skilled in is man-management and crisis handling skills.

What kind of person will be happy in your profession?

One who loves his profession and wants to learn new things every day. Responsibilities and new experiences are what makes this job very much palatable for me and I would think same for others.

Given another choice what would you have followed any other passion or profession?

It is a tough one, well there are two parts to it (Laughs). Without a doubt, this is the profession I would have pursued, because of the challenges it throws at you. I have always been that guy who solves problems and now I am doing it on a professional and national scale.

After working here for some more years, I might go in for teaching in a college

What advice would you like to give to students or professionals who are starting their carrier path or journey similar to you?

You want to be something in life, then wear the cape of courage and take your ideas past hurdles because if you keep it to yourself it will fizzle out. Regarding the path you need to follow, it’s out there.

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