It was the first week of April 2020, the panic of COVID-19 was clearly visible. The stock market had crashed, Governments across the world had imposed lockdowns, +ve COVID-19 cases were rising, companies shutting down, and layoffs were happening every day.
I was talking to my colleague about our company and what might happen. I was a bit confident that even if layoffs happen I will not be impacted and we discussed how we will handle the situation if we have to convey it to our colleagues. Now let me clarify that I am not being arrogant by saying I was confident I will not be impacted, the reason being –
And then I got the news, I along with 100+ other people had to leave the company. Why it happened, I don’t know, and I believe and trust the company and my manager, who is the CEO, to have valid reasons. But it was unexpected.
Lucky enough that I had enough savings to not panic, but all my plans were thrown out of the window. It was a great job, great company, great team, and I had plans to stay there for a while and now suddenly I had to find another one. And since it was the peak of the pandemic panic, it wasn’t an easy thing to do. I was alone in my 1BHK apartment in Bengaluru, outside there was one of the biggest health crisis, and inside was one of my biggest mental health crisis. Fear, panic, anxiety, stress, loneliness, and a few more related feelings.
But yes, I kept myself engaged with books, meditation, 1-hour walk daily (which lead to me getting mugged though), talking to some close people, and keep trying. One thing I realized was how important is ME time. I started spending an hour doing nothing, but just sitting and thinking about what I want and what I don’t want in life. How I was getting stuck in a rat race and missing out on life. I will come back to this later, but let’s continue the story first.
I was lucky enough to be in touch with some great companies and a lot of people helped and referred me out. Here are a few companies with whom I interviewed and was looking forward to –
I did close a few offers and reached the final rounds of others. Finally, I decided on Japan, since I liked the company, had been fascinated by the culture. Great, I was happy, I had gotten an international job opportunity under SoftBank Group in one of the best city to live in, and all this during Pandemic, what else can I ask.
But here’s a thing, which I skipped earlier, I started a side project called Zeda.io. A product to make Product Management Simpler and Smarter. The website was launched, the prototype was built, the team was built, and we had 150 waitlist customers all in a month. As a PM, I like to talk to my customers and I did the same, I talked to almost 50 customers from the waitlist, and just talking to them gave me an idea that I am building something useful. I had been pushing the idea of doing something of my own by one excuse or the other, I always had a good job, which I was so comfortable in, that I never had the courage to quit it.
So the best thing to happen to me was my job loss in the Pandemic, which made me comfortable with being uncomfortable. It made me at peace with my fears, resilient to uncertainty, and confident enough to be jobless. I realized one thing, I can keep doing a job to survive life, or I can start something of my own to live life.
Thus, I walked away from a well-defined path, a stable job, and a good life in a great city towards a path less known, filled with uncertainties, and high risks, but a journey which I am sure I will enjoy more.
Life is actually time + consciousness, we are losing time every single moment, which is never coming back. So how do we want to spend the time is up to us.