How does it feel to get fired from your job suddenly?
I came across this question on an online forum. Here is a candid response to this question from Anon.
Going anonymous for obvious reasons.
I have worked in the Indian IT industry in India from 1986. In India, as most Indians know, the concept of “hiring & firing” did not exist - at least not in those times till as late the turn of the century. You were fired only if you were found dishonest, cheating, criminal, involved in physical violence - in or out of office, etc. I started out as any fresher and rose steadily. In 2014, I faced the bomb. My employer lost a few contracts and our group faced problems.
One day, my manager, who came down from US, called me and said that I (me) was not getting new business. He said that he was not firing me but “I need to pull up my socks”. I felt pretty weird. I was not dealing with the clients’ business end. As a delivery manager sitting in India, I had no access to the CEO organization that generates new business. The clients’ IT organization was constantly looking to cut costs and cancelling new projects was the easiest option. They also demanded more work to be done from lesser people, without increasing billing rates. Anyway, I was held accountable - rightly or wrongly.
The next week, the manager called me again. He said that situation with me is an impasse and I would have to be let go. He said that I would be paid full 3-months’ salary, given the experience and release letter, etc., but I must resign. I was asked to meet the HR and they told me that I must submit office assets at once and I need not come to the office anymore except on the last working day to collect my “settlement”.
I was really devastated. I had seen people being fired but never thought that I would face the same fate one day. I had worked hard for this company for seven years. I had received (one of the five) “Employee of the Year” award two years ago for achieving outstanding growth. I had brought the practice from a measly 25 persons to 265 in the previous four years and revenues rose from US$ 1.2 million to US$ 48 m during the same period. Of course, I don’t claim that it was only my achievement - it was always team work. From this company, I was being let off. (Later on, I came to know that my manager, who had recently been hired from Infosys, was bringing his own team along and he was getting rid of “old trees” to make way for “new saplings”.)
I was 52 at that time and I knew that I am unlikely to get a new job at my age and future looked extremely bleak. It was ironical and little surreal in some respects:
- I was fired on November 18, 2014.
- I had just finished paying all my mortgages and I was financially debt free on the same 1-Nov. I had just received my home documents from the bank two weeks ago.
- My marriage anniversary was a week later.
- I was in very much elated state till 17-Nov-2014, notwithstanding the scare of the previous meeting a week ago.
Anyway, I submitted my laptop, badge, etc., submitted my resignation, filled up all clearance forms, picked my things and left. Mercifully, no security person came to “see me off”. I walked away still in daze without even saying goodbye to anyone. I was distraught to say the least.
As I walked to my car, I saw the company gardener tending to the lawn. I felt even more dejected as I thought that “even that man has a job, however low paying but I don’t and probably won’t”.
The only relief was that there were no loans to pay and I had invested enough in the primary and secondary markets to take care of my basic needs for life. But my son’s post graduate education (planned in US) was a question mark.
I rode home like a zombie completely unaware of what was happening around me. Probably a few irate drivers honked at me - I can’t say. I came home and told my wife what had happened. She was just as much devastated. Being a housewife, she did not understand what was really happening. I spent 15 days in misery. But ultimately, wisdom woke me up. I knew that I had to try my hand at new job.
I applied at a few places via headhunters. I received preliminary calls but after the initial round, it was the standard “we will get back to you answer”. I then started to look at my previous employers. At one place, my ex-Manager had risen to the position of Exec VP and he knew about my talent/skills, my previous contributions and put in a word for me. After 4 months of unemployment, I was back at work. I had to take a salary and designation cut but at least I was working again. I am still here at the same organization.
- In today’s world, past contributions and actions don’t matter; what matters is how much you are worth today.
- Make your presence felt. You must canvass yourself. This was a mistake on my part - my contributions were unknown beyond a few.
- Corporate loyalty means nothing; cultivate personal friends and contacts. When I was fired, there was no one to support my case.
- Have a Plan B and perhaps even a Plan C ready. I cannot tell you what should be your plan B or C but you must have it.
- If you are fired, it may not be the end of the world. Leave amicably and don’t bad-mouth the ex-employers. The HR of each company have informal connections and they “talk” among each other.
- Do not assume that your job has a strong cushion. Invest your earnings into instruments that make money:
- Have a bank balance of at least six months of your gross pay per month.
- Set aside ₹500,000 per old parent for their medical; most likely they will not be covered by insurance
- Always buy yourself a term insurance of ₹10,000,000 or more and a health insurance of at least ₹500,000 per family member including yourself.
- Invest in Mutual Funds (if not in stocks). Study good / high ranked MFs in sites such as
Income - Loan Repayments - Savings = Expenses
Try to save at least 50% of your disposable income.
and invest via SIPs. Follow the equation:
- Pay off loans as quickly as possible. When you get a bonus, pay in lumpsum.
- Fortunately, I was following a rigourous savings program from 2005 and I would some cushion had I no job today. Today, I have become even more prudent. I am saving 70% of my take home pay.