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The Layoff Tales: 'Layoff is not a personal failure'

February 19, 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 ninth part of this series, Arun Kumar an MTech in Computers tells how luck ran out for him. A veteran of avoiding layoffs he finally got the boot in 2009. However, unlike others, Arun was fortunate to get another job, that too with a token increment.

Name: Arun Kumar (name changed on request)
Age: 27
Company/Sector: IT/Product Software
Educational qualification: BTech.(Electronics), MTech. (Computers)
Work experience: 4 years and 6 months


I have witnessed 5 bouts of layoffs in my career of four and half years.

2004: I was placed via a campus interview in a product-based software company. Nine months down the line, management changes prompted layoffs in the company. While I was lucky to survive I changed jobs due to job insecurity.

2006: The economy was booming. Recruitments were in an overdrive. I changed my job into a profile suiting my interests along with a heavy increment.

2007 October/November: Poor company financials prompted restructuring. Many of my colleagues faced the axe. Luckily I survived again.

2008 February: Another restructuring... another round of layoffs. I survive again. Company now comes into profit. Two straight quarters of profit. We get a bonus. Everybody is happy. Things are turning around for the good.

2008 October: Global financial crisis starts showing its fangs.

2009 January: Revenue losses due to global financial crisis prompt another round of layoffs. This time I am not lucky and face the axe. However, the company as usual retrenches its employees with great respect, dignity and a generous severance package.

I start hunting for a new job. Market is very bad. To my shock I discovered that market standard for salaries was way below my last drawn salary :(. Companies recruiting were hawkish and trying to recruit good talent at lower costs.

2009 February: The fight for finding a suitable job continues. Luck strikes. I get a job offer. That too in a good company and the company gives me a token increment too. In the current economic scenario, the token increment seems worth its weight in gold.


None. Yes None.

Managing money is as important as earning money. My interest in investment management has helped me a lot. I had learnt about the possible repercussions of the financial crisis early; earlier than most people. Thereafter, I went on a savings spree saving more than 50 per cent of my salary as soon as it came in my bank account in high interest fixed deposits.

Now I have a strong cash buffer to last a long time. All I lost was some portion of my investments in equity. That too is a notional loss.

Family support:

Dad and mom were great. Kept supporting me and pampering me with good wishes and good food.

Lesson learnt:

  • The company is running a business, not a charity. So it can be expected to take suitable action in the best interests of the business. Don't take it personally or as a personal failure.
  • Security does not come from the Job you are doing or the company you are working with. Security comes from the knowledge and skills you have developed over the years which keeps you ahead of the crowd. Keep upgrading your skills so that you are always employable, even in the worst of the economies.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open for trouble in the company. Coz u never know when you will be next.
  • Avoid knee-jerk reactions. If your company lays-off people, don't panic. You survive coz you are either needed or are a good performer.
  • Once you are laid-off, keep your expected salaries for potential recruiters at a reasonable level. If your expectations are too high, you wont even get an interview call.

    Illustration: Dominic Xavier

    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 Your name and identity will not be disclosed unless you want it to.

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