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Name: Amit Arora (name changed on request)
Company/Sector: IT/Technology and Consulting
Work experience: 4 years.
I had a major blast working in a IT consulting company for the last 3 years. I joined it in 2006 as a software test engineer and due to my added advantage as an eloquent orator and superb interpersonal skills, I made very quick progress and was sent on a long onsite trip to different projects which lasted over a year.
How I lost my job
2008 had been slow but steady and towards the end, unfortunately my project ended and I was placed on bench (which is generally tension-free time to be spent in between projects where people often go foe trainings or go on vacations).
But this time things were different. One project had ended and the next projects bid went to some other company.
Most of the people on bench were made a part of a list. The list was created to make sure that those people could be laid off. They needed some reason to show for a layoff besides cost cutting to avoid looking ugly.
So they asked the staffing team (which is responsible for getting people staffed onto projects) to not let the people on bench get staffed at any cost.
I remember, two openings in different projects, up for grabs, for which the managers approached me over different periods of time. I said I would be more than glad to work in their projects, moreso, as I would get off the bench in such scary times.
But a few days later, both managers sent me forwards of the replies from the staffing team mentioning that I was not eligible for staffing. It was very strange as I was on bench for two months now and available. This was something they did to around 600 people who go laid off.
One fine day, we all got a meeting invite stating the need to dicuss change in company policies, which implied layoffs. So I knew what was coming. They were very nice to talk to although they did not let anyone walk back to their desks to clear out stuff because they wanted to prevent us from talking to anyone.
After this, we were given out layoff packages and escorted with 5 to 6 guards like prisoners down to the exit of the building where all the other employees from different companies stood watching like a spectacle of some sort.
Different people took it in different ways but I decided to relax a bit before jumping back into the arena.
· Layoff is a difficult time for everyone and is not something to be taken personally. I got laid off because I happened to be on bench at a particular time. It was sheer luck and does in NO WAY mean I am incompetent in any way.
· Many people who I considered close to me over the period of 3 years in my company actually provided my name for the layoff. Office is a place to work and not to make best friends. It's all good business. It's good to have good relations with leadership team and coworkers but never expect anything during a layoff because if you are to be laid off and they try to prevent it, it would be their job on the table against yours.
· If god forbid someone is laid off, the first thing s/he needs to do is garner strength, focus, stamina and all this is to be done with a calm mind. So my suggestion is go on a short vacation. Go to some place which has always acted as a source of positive energy for you for some time. Don't waste more time than that. Don't think about the layoff during this time. Enjoy to the maximum. In five days you will be rested and focussed. Then upgrade your skills (by doing some courses if you can. in keeping with the market changes), update your resume and let it float in cyberspace.
· The most important thing to do post a layoff is keeping a calm mindset because it is in the most stressful times that staying calm helps one think and act better.
So I am currently on a vacation. This experience has not shattered me anyway. I have been laid off... I am good... I am strong... and I will be back !