Happy Lay-Off Anniversary

This is to everyone who’s ever been laid off or worked with me in Grofers on this day last year. It was a typical monsoon morning, heavy rains had splashed across the city leaving puddles on the roads. I was at my desk about to start planning for July tasks and lists of things I’d need to execute marketing activities across the city. That’s when I got a call from my seniors, now, I knew it could either be a very happy news or a very sad one, otherwise, they wouldn’t ask me to step inside a cabin to talk, to talk on a phone, not face to face. 

Whatever they said next happened really quick and slow at the same time, I thought only I was fired because they couldn’t afford me anymore. But I wasn’t alone, people across the country had gotten the same call. They pushed me to say something, all I could ask was now what and who all? I was informed that I wasn’t the first one getting this call, didn’t know if I was to be relieved or stressed by this. Anyway, I processed this information, called my friend inside the cabin and cried. Poor soul to witness all of it without having an idea of what had happened. But that was the end of my emotional outburst or so I thought. I came out smiling, started saying my goodbyes, met my mentors, took advice for the future, signed my resignation and left.

I remember being quite for the rest of the day. I had my friends around, didn’t have the balls to tell my parents, like it was my fault. More often than not whenever something bad happens to you, you end up blaming yourself. This was a classic case of that. I made the journey back home in silent tears and looks from random commuters. To simplify the feeling, it almost feels like being hit by a truck while crossing an empty road, you never expected it or saw it coming but yet here you were hit by it. All my plans of completing 2 years at this company, taking at least 2 more hikes and saving enough to meet my friend in Europe, all of it – down the drain. My brain had slowed down trying to process all the sudden changes.

Waking up to nothing, no rush to catch that local, that rick, the metro, the lift, none of it, just lying there aimlessly looking outside the window watching the rain. Sounds sad? It was. Breaking it to the parents wasn’t the hard part, having to hear myself repeating the new reality was. For the next three months, I would go for any random interview, try to find peace in retail therapy, random strolls in the wild, meet friends, comfort food, whatever filled the void. But nothing did.

I took a hard look at myself, I was all of 21, if this had to be the worst thing to happen then it already had and I’ll learn to deal with it. I did by putting on kilos of weight by staying in and only going out to eat, laying in bed feeling lost, not talking much. Kid you not, I did put on 15kgs in the six months to follow. That bad. To say that only bad came out of this would be wrong, I had changed as a person because of this and it was taking time for me to find my new roots.

In life whenever something bad has happened I have resorted to books and writing in my journal. This blog is a result of the layoff, something I would’ve only postponed till I don’t know when. The reluctant application sent to companies to hire me as a writer wouldn’t have been without this layoff. Me, starting to believe in the theory that being at zero is actually full of possibilities and not the other way round.

I had nothing to lose with a world filled with possibilities left on my horizon. I promised to gift myself a job on my 22nd birthday and so I did, two months early. I joined a company as a content writer, they took a leap of faith and hired me based on my skills and love for writing.

I think life did me a favor by making me a part of that layoff, otherwise, I would’ve never taken something I considered a hobby to actually be a source of happiness and income. Never have I believed more in ‘whatever happens, happens for a reason’ than I do now. And trust me, once you touch the bottom, the only way left is upwards, summing it up, that layoff will remain a bittersweet memory of my life and an experience that changed me for the better mentally, not so much physically, thanks to the sadness that followed it but we’ll figure it out like we did the rest of it. – DD

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