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Old 27th August 2019, 11:23   #1
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Default My experience of getting fired!

Around this time last year, I completed 6 years of service with my organisation. I had grown organically in terms of work role, compensation and weight (both in CV terms and physically). Despite a strenuous cross city commute, that I have ranted on with a separate thread on the forum, I believed that I was doing well. Attrition seemed to be a little higher than par for the course, especially at my peer or senior levels. I did not make much of it assuming that people were always likely to move for greener pastures. Till a colleague - whom I closely worked with - resigned. In a 1:1 tea break, he said clearly that neither he nor many of the others jumped ship. All of them were pushed to leave.

Getting laid off? Well, that didnít sound like fun. While taking stock of the situation I realised I definitely didnít know what to do next. Considering our age group, other organisations would not touch our CVs even with a barge pole.

My first knee jerk reaction was a mix of denial and self convincing. I now attribute that to my knees being broken (one in badminton, the other in a bike accident). I tried to assure myself not to worry much. I was not at the top of the tree in terms of remuneration to be shot down. I had built a department from scratch and continually delivered in terms of both timelines and budgets. I had no personal enmity that could result in vengeful or targeted dismissal. My contributions were highly rated and I was identified to mentor other shortlisted employees. I wonder how I managed to list these here, considering that I am blank when I try to fill my CV.

Despite all this, I started looking out for relevant roles elsewhere. All filters like location, experience, working hours were off the list and I started firing my CV in all directions. To begin with, I found it very difficult to ask even friends to help me with referrals. But as time went by and the direness of the job situation became clearer, I became more open. Or shameless, whichever way one wants to roll the dice.

Speaking of making moves, the day finally arrived when my ex boss asked another peer to inform me that I should resign. The agenda was clear he said; that I need to resign. When I asked for any compensation for being laid off, the answer was that I was not being laid off. I asked for feedback for improvement or if there were any other positions internally that I could apply for. Negative again. Consider yourself lucky that you are getting the notice period duration as a paid time to look for a job.

Wow, I am indeed grateful for that after 7 years of commitment to your organisation. My ex boss was not available for any clarifications, so I met a few other peers and a HR manager. Very few of them were surprised, in fact it was as if they were expecting to be axed themselves. Those who were surprised was about the fact that I was axed before them, they assumed it meant I was being paid more than them.

None of them seemed open to helping me with any references anywhere. I just made a mental note of all this behaviour. I may not be vengeful but I am definitely not one to forgive and/ or forget.

Last edited by Samurai : 28th August 2019 at 12:57.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:30   #2
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Default re: My experience of getting fired!

Apparently, it was a simple but well-oiled exercise. Sort all employees by descending order of annual compensation. Pick any random names (not in your coterie) from the first page of results. Repeat exercise every month. Awesome way to meet downsizing targets. No questions from anyone why you are downsizing; people are leaving; what can we do; general attrition is around 20%; we are at 28%; let us organise another rangoli competition. Issue solved. If there is more noise, let us organise a blood donation camp. As if we don’t suck enough blood from these chaps already. I understood one more hard fact; there is very little ‘human’ left in HR these days. If I am generalising, so be it.

What would happen if any employee didn’t resign? That would be explained by the few compliance cases used to forcibly terminate employment contracts and also one case of harassment. At this stage, I was paranoid of any fake case being built against me, so I decided to comply. In any case, there was no reason to insist on staying back when they had already painted a target on my back. I would hate overstaying anywhere if hospitality turns to hostility or even into a hostage situation.

I sent my resignation the same day. On the way back, I was contemplating what to do in case I was unable to find another job. Multiple thoughts ended up flooding my already crowded head. I was getting to be in a situation somewhere between being overwhelmed and having a panic attack. Most of the thoughts were around loss of face and future plans. It did not help at all that just a few months back, I had sold off my 9 year old car and bought my first ever car on loan. That purchase seemed totally unnecessary and I was kicking myself literally for doing that.

A few other concerns started creeping in over what I could have done differently to avoid the situation. I could not find any answer so the topics kept playing themselves in an unending loop. I realised that I was not paying attention to any conversations and focussing more on the voices in my head.

Family support was crucial at this time. My wife took it in her stride and seemed most confident that we will tide over. Both children were happy that I would not be commuting long hours. None of them seemed concerned about it. Perhaps I was averaging out the worry meters for all of us. In terms of my habits, I had almost stopped going out. Even the smallest of expenses started worrying me. One day, the family just dragged me out to a store. While roaming in the aisles, my daughter asked me to buy a doll. This was new, because she normally never asks for anything. That only made me feel worse for trying to put off the purchase. It was not unaffordable, but at the time it seemed like an unnecessary expense. Surprisingly for me, she just agreed with me and said you can buy it for me later. Kids are definitely resilient when the situation presents itself. While I was fuming on the inside about being in a situation where I denied her something, I was also proud of her having reacted that way.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:31   #3
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In terms of finances, we had already checked our situation and were thankfully good enough to continue for a few months without dipping into savings. We were not really living paycheck to paycheck but we would have to put off any unnecessary expenses. However, I kept pushing myself hard to get another job before my last working day here. I knew for one that the uncertainty would only make things worse for me if I sat at home all day stewing over it. Not a single colleague from work helped me with anything; not a referral nor a word of support or encouragement. So much for people that I spent at least a third of my working days with. Credit to all my friends who supported me through this time by most importantly reassuring me that things will work out and of course referring me wherever feasible. The bhpian community was in full force as always and I am sure I ended up being referred by most bhpians in their organisations here in Pune.

Despite all this, I received only 1 call back from an organisation where a fellow bhpian had referred me. The most challenging part was even landing an interview. Multiple conversation threads ran by the dozens and I am sure it was annoying for many whom I kept following up with for referrals.

While I have conducted many interviews over the years, I have only been interviewed a handful of times. None of them were enjoyable experiences. At the best of times, I hate interviews. In such desperate time, I was sure I would begin to dread them. I detest the interviewers who act like know it alls and keep showing off about their own achievements. Feel free to ask any questions about me, my experience, what I can bring to your organisation. Please do not show off your achievements, it is definitely of no interest to me. One such interviewer kept insisting on showing off his poor American accent. He said it was necessary to ‘speak the client’s language’. I have heard much better American accents myself; thanks but no thanks. In my opinion, as long as the client understands you, accent usage should not matter. Perhaps I digress, but the candidate is there to be evaluated. Not to be judged. If that discussion is inequal or the interviewer is grandstanding, you already know where it is headed.

Having no specific talents to work on, I was getting a little laid-back. My folks are into playing the violin, guitar and synthesizer but I have always been tone deaf. So it did not help that I had no hobby to fall back on. In terms of unwanted habits, I did have a lot of scope to get into a spiral. Years ago, I used to smoke a lot perhaps as an assumed coping mechanism. I was not too far away from starting to smoke again. At least I feared deeply I would. I kept away from any chances of a smoke. I stopped having tea breaks at office and kept to myself in non-smoking areas. A side effect was that in such cases I started eating more, my nutritionist suggested a spartan but wholesome diet.

Focussing on that helped me reduce my BMI from 28 to 25 during my notice period. I also started a specific exercise routine early in the day. That gave me something to look forward to. The good part was that I was approaching it with what I considered a positive mindset instead of using it as a crutch. Another task I developed a liking for was to bake. Whenever I felt a little low, I took off for the kitchen and baked something; most likely cakes.

Kudos again to family who kept finishing all I could bake and all friends whom I bored by sharing pics of the end results
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:34   #4
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Around a month went by with no results at all to show on the job hunt front. I had tapped my entire contact list for referrals. While scrolling once again through the list, I found one contact whom I knew from around a dozen years ago. Neither of us were actively connected on social media and we lived in different cities so we did not find opportunities to catch up. I almost scrolled past his name once again but had a second thought and informed him of my situation. His response was brief and precise. As with all other friends he did his best.

Fortunately for me, things worked out there and I landed an interview. This interview was way better. They asked me specific questions that related to the role and responsibilities expected. While the position was located outside of my home town, I saw no other option than to take it up. It took a few weeks for things to be sorted out, but with a couple of weeks left on my notice period I had an offer on hand.

While I will not comment on getting laid or getting leh’d, I can definitely vouch that I got laid off. I did push myself a lot and self flagellate in the short term, but ended up coming out the other side in one piece. Probably a slightly better version than what I was.

I did learn quite a few things that I should have known earlier, mainly from quotes which I have read elsewhere that summarize it very well:
- This job is only a means to earn money. It does not define who I am, neither for me nor my family and friends. For everything else, you have hobbies.
- A forced exit is better than an unnecessary stay
- Family and health matter. Friends and happiness too. Nothing else does.
- For any organisation, you are completely dispensable. Keep your employers dispensable too. No point in getting attached or over committed.
- Do not assume anyone at work is a friend. There may be some exceptions, but mostly its each one for themselves.

During my last week at work, the HR manager turned up to meet me. He got to know from someone that I had an offer on hand. Till this time, he had never bothered to check if I had any concerns or needed any help. He started off by mentioning that he had sent me LinkedIn and FB requests. I just dryly told him that I use FB only for friends and LinkedIn for colleagues who have worked with me. He then asked me about my next plans.

"Do you need anything else? I do not have time.
I am looking online to order a specific doll for my daughter."

Last edited by selfdrive : 27th August 2019 at 12:30.
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Old 28th August 2019, 13:58   #5
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Default Re: My experience of getting fired!

Thanks for sharing, moving out of the assembly line.
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Old 28th August 2019, 14:17   #6
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Default Re: My experience of getting fired!

Many thanks for sharing all that we dread! Congrats to have landed a job, though out of your comfort zone. All the best and get your daughter her doll she deserves it. I have never worked in a corporate set up all my life: my wife always said to me: "You'll never fit in". But your write up was so 'relatable'. At my age, I say a 'selfish' prayer twice a day and leave all else to divine providence. Wishing you nothing but the best in life.
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Old 28th August 2019, 14:20   #7
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Thanks for penning this down, kudos to your spirit. I had asked you to utilise same writing skill in composing your resume.

I couldn't help you much in your job hunt, however glad that things worked out well elsewhere for you and not a long pause in between.

Value of small things gets magnified in such critical life phases. Having survived similar scare, can connect with most things. Used to recall words of Sam Kapasi, 'If you are really good enough, you will get another job'.
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Old 28th August 2019, 14:21   #8
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Default Re: My experience of getting fired!

Thank you Selfdrive for sharing your experience here.
Although common knowledge, but it is always assumed it wont happen to us, until is finally does. I pray I do not have to see such a day, what with a couple of loan EMI's, kids in school and me being the sole earner in the family of 6.
You reminded me to expect the worse and be prepared for it. Have grown a little complacent and fallen into the comfort zone spending almost a decade in the same org.
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Old 28th August 2019, 14:21   #9
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Default Re: My experience of getting fired!

First, compliments to you for the courage to pen down your experience with candour and sharing with us the lows you went through. Other young people will find reading your narration useful as they face this difficult situation themselves. Getting laid off is a traumatic experience almost as bad as losing your spouse or child or limb. For the organization you are a number; while for yourself or is your whole life. I say this despite having been an employer for most of my working life. Congratulations on landing a job. It is needed not just for the money but also the self respect and self view we have of ourselves.

Other than the money it is the shift in status in our own eyes that is the most difficult to handle and which needs an inner re-orientation.

To the young employees of corporate India my only advice is you can't prepare for such an eventuality but you can do things to lessen the impact especially the financial one. If you have to take on debt do so for a roof above your head not for cars, holidays etc. When lean times are forced upon us it helps to be funded by equity and to be debt free.
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Old 28th August 2019, 15:03   #10
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Default Re: My experience of getting fired!

wow, the chances of this happening to anyone is increasing by the day.

Loved your closure. All the best.
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Old 28th August 2019, 15:10   #11
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Dear Selfdrive, corporate workers are always having a sword over their head. Most of the time it is hard to understand the system. Happy to know that you got a new job. We are sure that you will excel in your new role. Your post is like a mirror for us. As APJ once said "Love your job. Not your company". Best wishes for your new role.

Last edited by K_Drive : 28th August 2019 at 15:16.
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Old 28th August 2019, 15:46   #12
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Default Re: My experience of getting fired!

You need not to worry about getting a job, you can be a columnist and a good one too.

Appreciate your courage to pen down such an event. It surely is beneficial for many who may never have had such an experience.

I am quite sure that in long run this life experience will pay off big time. It is such events in our lives that make us complete and wise. Not that one should wish or plan for it but once we face it, it definitely changes us for good.

You rightly said, all that matters is family & health which unfortunately many of us take for granted.

Have fun at your new work!

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Old 28th August 2019, 15:48   #13
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Good one buddy! It's to your credit that you never became overly bitter or cynical during this phase, at least when we talked.

As the idiom goes - "What you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts". Am sure you've gained much more than you lost through this experience.

Good luck and Godspeed always!

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Old 28th August 2019, 16:14   #14
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Thank you for sharing your experience. Guessing you are in IT field. I am from non-IT engineering field, but came really close being laid off in 2015-16. So I can understand the emotions involved.
The engineering company (an Indian MNC with interests in Engineering and Infrastructure) that I was working had branches in Chennai and Bangalore. I was working in the Chennai office. Just before Diwali in 2015, a new CEO joined the group and he started off with his idea of increasing margins with what else but downsizing. Our Diwali news was that Chennai operations will be closed by March 2016 and everyone will be shifted to Bangalore. Most, including me knew the bluff and started trying elsewhere. As time passed it became clear that only a few lucky souls will be going to Bangalore. Along with this we had to contend with the floods in Chennai that year. Our Chennai office was completely flooded and that proved to be the final nail in the coffin. By January I came to know that I was part of the group being considered for transfer to Bangalore. But by then I had managed to get an offer in Chennai itself and didn't want to jump onto a sinking ship in Bangalore.
The chap who helped me was the HR guy from my earlier company in Chennai who fortunately was the HR lead in the new company where I got the offer. Also the department manager in the new company was from my previous company. I know that stars don't align so perfectly every time.
But one thing that has helped is not to burn bridges when resigning from a company no matter whatever grudges you may hold.
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Old 28th August 2019, 16:18   #15
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Default Re: My experience of getting fired!

All's well that ends well. You have come out stronger after this ordeal and that is something to cherish. It is safe to say now that it was a boon in disguise!
Regarding the faceloss part, I believe that is how we have been brought up and how our society preceives this thing. My father worked for the same company for 40 years and cant believe that nowadays anyone can lose his or her job anyday. I keep on reminding him that things have changed and job guarantee is no longer there and it is going to get worse in coming years. During the bleak periods, threads like this will give some motivation! Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by BlackPearl : 28th August 2019 at 16:19.
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