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 17th part of this series, Digesh Davda from the banking sector in Singapore was politely given the pink-slip. However, his belief in God and regular practice of meditation helped him remain calm and he finally got a job in another foreign bank.
Name: Digesh Davda
Company/Sector:Banking & Finance
Educational qualification: Chartered Accountant, Bachelor of Commerce
Work experience: 10 years (post qualification experience: 7 years)
I started my career in audit and then moved on to the banking industry. I have worked with some of the top accounting firms and large foreign banks with international presence. I have been working in Singapore for the last four years. The past two and half years, I was working in the finance department of a reputed bank in Singapore.
How I lost my job:
Owing to the recent recession and tough times, my bank decided to have a lay-off exercise in November 2008. A week before the one-to-one communication, there was a general company-wide lay-off announcement. That's when I started preparing myself to face the uncertain times ahead.
After a week or so, I received a call from our finance secretary asking me to come and meet the MD. I understood what it was for and went all prepared. My MD and the HR personnel communicated the expected. The preparation (home-work) also helped me to remain calm and I was not at all affected when the 'news' was conveyed. I just asked them about the formalities etc. and clarified whatever was not clear to me.
After that they asked me to see their hired career workshop professionals and the staff union people who gave me some workshop details and asked me if I was alright. I told them I was perfectly fine. The HR team also asked me if I wanted to meet any 'buddy' for a coffee etc. I said I don't need that. The 'sudden attention' which seemed just like a formality, didn't make any sense to me but then they were just doing their part of being 'nice'.
After some time, I went to take my stuff from my desk and went to see my MD again to thank her. The meeting with the MD lasted for about 30 minutes. She was all praise for me and assured me that it was nothing to do with my performance but about the bank's project priorities and that she was happy I had taken things positively. I thanked her for giving me the opportunity to work with her and told her given a chance, would like to work with her again. She too said she would like to hire me again if something relevant comes up in future.
She was really surprised with my approach so I told her since I was a student of spirituality, I wasn't affected by all this and that she would always have my respect. It all ended on a very positive note and in the end she remarked that it was a very hard decision for her to make and again asked me if I was alright. I simply told her, 'I have God with me, what else do I want?'
I am a student and a teacher of Rajayoga meditation taught by the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. The spiritual knowledge that I have gained in this wonderful university and the regular practice of Rajayoga meditation has helped me a lot during tough times. The real test started after I came home!
When you have been going to work everyday and suddenly that changes, it takes time to adjust. It was okay initially but after few days, it felt a bit awkward. There were times when there were no interview calls and days when the phone just wouldn't ring. I would hear answers like -- your profile is good but people are not recruiting due to year-end, there was no head count budget available, recession etc etc. But, I did not lose hope.
I had firm faith in God throughout and whenever I had any negative thoughts, I used to sit in meditation and remember God. Because of this I could remain positive. In fact, I was also able to help one of my friends who was also sacked and he really appreciated my help. When I applied spiritual knowledge and looked at the situation in a detached manner, I was very happy about the whole thing. This is how I applied the understanding: 'I do not have any more karmic accounts with those people in the bank and if I view it in spiritual sense, this was a promotion for me as I had finished one assignment (of settling accounts) and will be moving on to a new one!' Another understanding I used was that the world is a stage and we all are actors (remember Shakespeare?). God is the Director and the Principal Actor in this never ending play. As an actor my role is to play my part in the best way possible and leave the rest to the Director!
My job search:
I was placed on garden leave from November 13, 2008 until the end of the month. I used the time to search for a job. I attended few interviews and met a few recruitment consultants. People liked my profile but something or the other kept coming in the way. One of the interviews, for example, at which I really excelled had the position filled up via internal transfer.
It was a good learning experience too. At one interview when the interviewer came to know about my previous salary they apologised and told me they could in no way match it and the difference would be huge. I learnt to ask certain things like salary etc upfront. Initially I was hesitant but then it saves a lot of time and effort. However, nothing materialised for a month or so.
Later I learnt from few recruitment consultants that since it was Christmas period and year-end, there wouldn't be much activity and hence I decided to take a three-week break and go on my annual spiritual trip to the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mt Abu, Rajasthan.
This place is very close to my heart. To me it is like heaven on earth. I must have visited it about a dozen times but each time the experience is unique and rejuvenating. The trip provided further strength to me and helped me enrich my inner resources through continuous practice of meditation, attending spiritual classes/ discussions, self-reflection and by just being in the powerful atmosphere of the spiritual university. All this made me more hopeful. After I came back to Singapore; I landed a good job in a foreign bank within a few weeks! Where there is faith, victory is guaranteed!
None. Even though Singapore is one of the most expensive cities to live in, I had enough savings to support my family. Being a Chartered Accountant my cash management has always been good. Also, since my family is associated with the spiritual university, we do not have any unnecessary or lavish expenditure.
Along with the greatest support that of my Spiritual Parent (God); I also had the unconditional support of my family at all times.
Never let go of your faith in God.
Never lose hope. Always remain positive. Whatever has happened is good, whatever is happening is better and whatever is going to happen will be the best. Time will surely prove this.
Understand the law of karma: wherever you are, whomsoever you are with and whatever happens to you, for all of this, there is a reason and that is your past karma.
It is always better to be well prepared in a crisis situation. 'Prevent and Prepare' rather than 'Repent and Repair'.
Getting retrenched is something which is beyond one's control. The majority of the stress is because we try to control things that are beyond our control. Practice meditation. It really helps in experiencing peace and disciplining the mind. Most of our energy is drained due to the wasteful thoughts.
Use the lay-off time productively to build your inner resources so that you are up and ready for the new opportunity when it arrives.
Finally, change the way you look at things: Just think -- how boring life would have been if not for those extra challenges!
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 email@example.com. Your name and identity will not be disclosed unless you want it to.