“Let me begin by admitting, that when on that colder than usual January day, I got a call from my reporting manager to meet her in person, I never imagined that this was to fire me.
“Even though the job-cuts had been a hot button topic in tech circles since last November, and we were aware of the looming threat of people losing their jobs but honestly almost everyone thinks that this would not happen to them.
“I was no different. But let me clarify, this self-confidence did not emerge out of nowhere. I mean I was hired by this American multinational company about five years ago after several rounds of interviews.
READ: Indian work-visa holders call lay-offs an HR disaster (February 27, 2023)
“Not just this, up until that time, I had been working in the US on an H-1B visa, which neither gave me clarity nor security about my future years in America, but the multinational decided to convert my green card application and filed the petition in EB-1 category.
“I had several testimonials, countless community and corporate efforts that I spearheaded that made me a worthy candidate for that category. I received my green card in about two years and continued to thrive in my job.
“I got regular promotions and was a valued asset to the company. I do not recall a single meeting where I was ever told to pull up my socks. I always thought I must have been doing something right but didn’t let that thought turn into complacency.
RELATED: Lay-offs make US a risky place to work (February 1, 2023)
“Anyhow, cut to January 2023, and that half hour meeting ended with my manager informing me that the company has decided to let-go of me. At that moment, I felt that I got the biggest emotional jolt in my professional life.
“I have an academic degree from India’s premier engineering institute, I have decades worth of experience and here I am told like an intern that I can stop reporting.
“I sobbed on my way back and stayed quiet for two days. I allowed myself to absorb this news, to admit that failures can come in all forms and at any stage and also prepped myself on how to share this news with my family.
“My college going daughter looks up to me and it’s not the easiest thing to tell them that well, you got fired. I counted myself fortunate that I was not on an H-1B visa any longer and had the security of sitting in my house and looking for a new job.
RELATED: Laid-off employees on H-1B visas share their stories(January 27, 2023)
“My husband still had his job so I didn’t have to worry about having a no active income household. I got a notice period and severance package to cushion me for a few months.
“I still had some other worries like the mortgage on my house and navigating this new unwelcome moniker ‘laid-off,’ from my job history now!
“I decided to take a few days off work and any kind of new activity and decided to pause before the reset button. Back in January, we still assumed that the worst for the industry was over, and we would overcome, and everyone would find new jobs.
“However, things continued to head southwards from there and each day brought along fresh news of which corporate giant is now cutting jobs.
RELATED: Amid job cuts, does an H-1B visa still hold its charm? (January 23, 2023)
“Some of my interviews lined up with mid-size corporations got cancelled. I became active on professional job search engines and did not shy away from approaching old colleagues, headhunters, former bosses and sharing that I was fired.
“Reassuringly, everyone seemed understanding and tried to see where they could help. The industry continued to plunge into crisis, and it became more difficult to secure a job.
“Since I had always dreamt of working with start-ups, I tried to utilize this time and channel my passion. I began getting in touch with start-ups that share the same vision as mine.
“I met a few, we did Zoom calls, we met in person, we had long phone calls, even online team meets with a few. Every time I speak with a prospective employer it seems we are on the same page and will instantly create an opportunity out of this crisis.
“But for the past one month, things get halted somewhere. The funny thing is that when big giants go on a firing spree, it sends scare signals to mid and small size companies who then get extra cautious about their budgets.
“It has been interesting even though an annoying cycle of fruitful calls resulting in no headway these past few weeks. But this new challenge has taught me one thing – not to be shy of going ahead, knocking on a door and asking for that job. And this is the advice I will give to thousands like me as we await our next big break.”
Indian Americans start “Laid off-Jobhunt” chat groups (January 26, 2023)
Indian government asked to help laid off Indians (January 24, 2023)
Indian techies prepare for worst amid lay-off spree (January 10, 2023)