I got laid off.
Yes, the inevitable happened and like most people here who talked about their experiences on losing a job, I too started straight with the 4 words.
I had said earlier that I wanted to go.
Not because I thought it’d be easy or great in any way, but because I knew I wasn’t adding anything either to the organization or to my own self. Quora and Medium were the two things constantly present on my work desktop and I was freelancing for a digital SEO company. In a way, it seemed I was waiting to be asked to go. And when I finally did, I got mixed feelings about it.
Losing a job, deciding to ‘take a break’ or studying further are met with a lot of criticism and cynicism by many. Honestly, I didn’t bother telling my relatives what happened when I met them for a function. The last 15 days I spent with extended family and tried camouflaging my answer to “So, what are you doing these days?”. For the first time, this question dreaded me far more than “when are you getting married?”. To be honest, most girls in my place would have opted to get married in such a situation. You won’t have to worry about applying for leave or changing your residence address or going back to work post marriage (sounds stupid already). But, not me!
I’m 25 and I have yet to get my shit together!
What’s worse? My shit is linked with other people’s shit. For example, my driver who took on loans for some function involving his daughter (not marriage, but his expenses seem the sort people do when they get their daughter married) and now, he is dealing with all kinds of debt. You see, people in India are yet to learn the importance of diversifying their income. He depended solely on me and my job even when we had warned him about things falling out at work. I was worried about him. I still feel bad. About him and my car. Poor baby rots in the sun the whole day and is dirty as hell!
It’s never easy. No matter how much you prepare for it. When the calamity strikes, it’s bound to uproot a few things here and there.
People advise you to take whatever you can get. Some advise you to study further. Some say you should take your time and choose whatever you feel will suit you in the long run. After all, you cannot jump from one frustrating job to another. Some would ask you to learn new skills, take up an online course or learn things you always wanted to but couldn’t, like learning a musical instrument or dancing or anything you wanted to do always but couldn’t find the time.
I’m thankful I learned driving, at least. However, I’m yet to get my license and I need someone to sit with me while I practice. My driver is asking for 3000 just to sit beside me for practice. I paid driving instructor 2500 for 15 days training! Poor guy has to clear debts and he is taking money from wherever he can.
And then they blame daughters for financial expenditure!
Every other thing in the world requires money. To learn a new skill or to catch up on old hobbies – all of it needs money. When you don’t have enough coming in every month or when it’s sort of irregular, you have to be careful about where you spend your money.
I was working the entire time I was traveling. On the train, at the function, at my grandma’s place, everywhere. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And I teach the 8th-grade kid too. I’m getting choosy about where I work and for some, that’s a recipe for disaster. I was thinking about getting into teaching. I wanted to see if I can really do it. Since media industry is going through a bloodbath now, there’s nothing much I can get there. So, why not explore other options?
Easier said than done! All of it!
What I have are ideas. What I do now is trying to pull my life back together, sort it out. It’s a scary place to be – when things are a mess when you have to clean things up and try to make sense of everything and deal with a society which prizes normal, commonplace attitude.
I remember my colleague telling me that such times take you to places you never thought you’d go and make you stronger and more resilient. There’s no point trying to escaping it. Just take it. You never know where you might land up.
Up in the air now, I feel like a plane waiting for clouds to clear before I find a way. I’m just going forward, veering past the clouds and trying to see the horizon, a way out somewhere. You are not supposed to stop or you will end right where you are. Whatever it is, just keep going.
I tell myself this every day, for the past 4 months, even before I got laid off. I guess it will stay.
– Neha Jha