For those familiar with the film ‘The Hurt Locker’, the final scene is undoubtedly heartbreaking.

James (the protagonist) returns home, only to confront the mundanity of reality. The perplexing ordeal of shopping for his meals – stipulated with multiple simple options for everything, makes him feel out of place. Whereas in another reality, he was contemplating choices about completing missions, watching for explosions and protecting his comrades in a war-ridden Afghanistan. The complexity eventually solves itself towards the end, as James realises his heart lies in making big choices that have a deep impact.

I often reflect on this scene whenever I am asked, why people chose to come back to work at Zomato? In my eyes, the reason is similar to what James thought of – choosing the thrill of new challenges and brilliant teamwork over monotony.

I’ve been with Zomato for eight years now, and I can vouch that the life and culture is unparalleled here. Once you have lived this life, it is hard to live any other way. 

For me, it all started in 2014 – the year I joined as a Key Account Manager. Initially, I was a little sceptical of the combination of a start-up and sales. It was a hard sell, but I had already placed my bets. 

Cut to 2022, I can wisely say that all you need to convert your fear and ambiguity into accomplishments is a nudge in the right direction, coupled with the faith that people put in you. 

But why would someone put their faith in you?

Because there is a belief that Zomans are always eager to learn and explore. Here, people bet on your amiability, malleability and the ability to innovate and think beyond your role –  irrespective of your age or experience. The onus is on you to keep that faith fuelled by adding maximum value and purpose to your role and responsibility.

This mindset is encouraged from day one. Or, as I have realised, your longevity here depends on how early you adopt this mindset. 

This is how I got to work across departments in all these years – from account management to product launches to market analysis and many more over the last eight years. More than often, doing different things helped me explore multiple facets of my personality and skill set. I learned more about myself with each passing day.

Have I been bored? No! Not a single day. Have I been restless? Oh, every day!

Well, of all the ~3,000 days that I have spent here, I have been super excited for 95% of them, for I had something to look forward to in (almost) all of them. The other 5%, I would like to blame on the weather. Zomato keeps nudging you towards greatness and stays at it till you realise your optimal potential. And in doing so, it ensures that the version of you today is much improved than what it was yesterday.

Everyone at Z (Zomato) is empowered to invest in building a great product and an organisation that will continue to impact people positively in decades to come. 

Having spent considerable time here, I can tell that Zomans invest their time, hard work, and passion because they see this compounding into monumental scale and growth (professionally and personally). Serving this vision takes precedence over self-interest and enthusiasm. So much so that I have seen people abandoning projects that they worked on wholeheartedly, only to pick newer projects that continue to keep them excitable and innovative. 

The rewards here are driven by learning opportunities. A founder’s mindset is what leads functions here. How would you improve something or identify customer pain points or delivery partners’ grievances? How would you build a better brand? 

On the other hand, failure is not looked down upon. We define failure as an opportunity to learn. To reflect on what went wrong and what could have been better? Most importantly, what did we learn from this foregone opportunity? At the end of the day, what we take to bed and what we make of it is all that matters. 

I see my comrades and can proudly say that we, Zomans, do not run away from challenges. We seek them. After all, customer-first thinking requires you to preempt the problems not faced yet, invent solutions that don’t exist, create opportunities that aren’t there, and make Zomato better for our customers, every single day. It is not a game, it is a way of life.

Such exhilarating choices we make daily. Now you see why I relate to James?

Well, that is it from my end. If you took away anything from my outpour here – may it be a taste for thrill or a desire to acquire it. Well, this is what Zomato is! I am a proud connoisseur of varied tastes by now and am still hungry for more. 

From being a naive salesperson to becoming someone who embraces speed, execution, and challenges, my years at Zomato have carved an appetite for uncommon problems and a mindset to solve them creatively. 

So, much like James, every time I look at my journey, I realise this is where I belong and if provided with the same choice I was given years ago, I will take that same decision, every single time.

​​What’s next?

This article is written by Pulakit Kaushik and is part of a new series called ‘A Slice of Zoman Life’ wherein Zomans will share the journeys, learnings, and experiences at Zomato. Stay tuned to know more about the life and culture at Z.


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