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The Layoff Tales: 'My daughter asked, 'Mom, were you not working hard?'
April 14, 2009
We asked Get Ahead readers to send their layoff tales and we are getting mails from employees belonging to different sectors of the Indian economy.
In the 29th part of this series engineer Praniti Shinde*, who is also a single parent, tells the story of how she was fired when she needed her job most.
Name: Praniti Shinde (*name changed on request)
Work experience: 10 years
I just happened to read the recent lay-off tales and felt like sharing mine too. Being an engineer, I started my career with a very prestigious group and having excelled in the same group handled very many sucessful projects.
How I lost my job:
Our organisation has an honours ceremony every year, wherein service awards are bestowed on employees for the commitment and sincerity they have shown towards their work. A few months after that, one fine day 25 of us, the majority of our department, especially people who had excelled in their performance and received good increments, were handed over the pink slip. And along with it the usual jargon -- 'This is not easy for us either, you know.'
People were shocked, since most of us were committed individuals meeting project deadlines, responding quickly to customers and achieving targets. It was especially hard on me, being a single parent and that too at the point in time when my daughter had just landed up in Class X. The management was fully aware of my helplessness and my inability to relocate -- and so they had taken the opportunity to lay me off.
Days and months have passed, I have given several interviews and now finally landed up with another engineering job, but the knot in my heart still remains -- and the question 'Why me?' above all. My confidence and ego have taken quite a blow.
The days following my lay-off were quite tough. Our organisation did not give us any compensation and it was worse to see the relief of colleagues who had not been laid off.
Losing a job is a big thing and the behaviour of colleagues is as if you have contracted a deadly disease. Even when colleagues meet me outside, they don't look me in the eye. But being a cheerful person, I give a big ear-to-ear grin.
For working people, it becomes tough to justify yourself in such situations. My 14-year-old daughter asked me, "Mom, were you not working hard?" Also, it would pain seeing my daughter trying to cut costs, since there would be no pay for some months.
I still miss my old organisation, in spite of the fact that one adapts and has to adapt for survival. Those who lose their jobs are a different breed of people -- slightly hurt but strong enough to take more challenges, non-commital since earlier commitment did not pay off and always expecting the worst.
Today, however, I received the news that the person who had handed over the pink slip to all of us just received it himself last evening. Although I am ashamed to say so, I am happy -- it's his turn now.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
Do you have a layoff tale to tell?
Have you lost your job? Do you know someone who has lost her/his job recently and is trying to come to terms with the situation?
If you, your friends or relatives have a layoff story to tell, to inform readers about the lessons that you have learnt, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your name and identity will not be disclosed unless you want it to.