We entered the conference room and took our seats. My best friend from work sat to my right. My team of developers sat to my left. The mighty HR team sat across the table from us. The ex-Manager read his script.
How did I land here AGAIN?
Is this a joke?
How can this happen to us? All of us?
How is this even possible?
Is the company shutting down?
I manage one of the most critical teams in IT. How is this even possible?
These thoughts ran through my brain. The ex-Manager asked if we had any questions. My best friend was sane enough to say kind words and goodbye to my manager. The HRs called out our names and asked us to follow them to their offices. They wanted to walk us through our (petty) severance packages. I asked HR if she could excuse me for a minute. I called up N. Thankfully; he picked up.
Me: Hi, can you please come to pick me up? I was just let go.
N: WWHHAATTTTT?!!? Don’t worry. I am coming.
The layoffs had started at 8 AM sharp, and half of the IT department was wiped out when this conversation happened. N was working from home that day, awaiting a package. The baby was home too. N packed up the baby and left asap.
The HR took me to her office and handed me the severance package. The company gave no grace period to the employees on visas. Another HR personnel was outside the office to escort me. He had a box in his hand for my belongings. I told him that was unnecessary – I hardly had any belongings in the office. It’s like I was always prepared to walk out.
I packed my bag in under 2 minutes. The ex-Manager washed my coffee mug and walked me out (I have no idea why). I hugged the folks that hadn’t been affected yet. They were affected by the end of the day as well. It was total annihilation. My team waited outside the office for me to say the final goodbyes. We video-called our off-shore team members and gave them an update. They were shocked. N and the baby came to pick me up. I left Leslies for one last time.
N spent the day sitting beside me. It was a gloomy day at Kulkarni-Paranjape’s. On the other hand, the baby was delighted to see her parents at home and skip daycare.
Statutory Warning – The section below has been rewritten several times.
I have yet to be able to place my feelings. It is disheartening to lose the job you love (or moderately like). I miss the comfort it brought to us as a family. I miss the buying power. Also, I’m not too fond of being back in the job market AGAIN. Being let go was not a part of my 5-year plan. Losing my job in between mortgages, inflation, and impending recession does not feel manageable. But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining.
I am grateful for my ever-supportive husband and family. N and baby are always around to cheer me up. I am happy to see the baby grow (considering I did not get any maternity leave). I have seen the baby crawl and stand for the first time! There is also more consideration and awareness among the recruiters about laid-off employees (there are around 300,000 of us so far). There are more avenues at our disposal (though nothing has come to fruition). Overall, the struggle continues. Hoping everything goes well. Keep watching this space for more.