LAYOFF

I came to Jaipur to build an institute. I came here leaving a prestigious job at a relatively young age. I thought, my hope will not go waste. My institute was not progressing as I envisaged it to be. The pandemic changed everything in a fast track mode. Whatever revenue the Institute was generating came to a naught. The trust that runs the organization has limited resources. We had to resort to pay cut to run the organization. But that was not enough to manage the organization. We had to resort to job cut. Lay off is a very painful proposition for any organisation. With the dwindling staff, meaningful running of the organization is not possible. With half of the staff gone, another half sitting idle, my institute has become a desert in a short span. It has become a mirage of my dreams. I feel guilty. I am often reminded of one of the seven sins of Gandhiji. Pay without work is the greatest sin.

One feels ashamed or guilty when one fails to meet the standards and norms regarding what is right and appropriate. Shame typically results from the negative evaluation of the self by others. I am not ashamed. Guilt, on the other hand, results from a negative evaluation of the self by the self. I feel guilty. Guilt is associated with the fear of not living up to one’s standards. Guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for one’s actions. The feeling of guilt arises from within. The burden of guilt can be heavy. It is very closely related to reputation, and in many situations, reputation outranks many other yardsticks. Shame and guilt are subject and situation-specific. They can be delinked, but not always.

Recession, layoff, pink slip, cut, flab, hiring freeze, downsizing are becoming part of our everyday lexicon. Loss of job is loss of morale, a feeling of dejection. There is anger. One feels penalized for no-fault. Becoming a liability is so bothersome. Those who are not given the pink slip also feel guilty, as if they are responsible for the job loss. The layoff is not only about unworthiness. Layoffs occur because there is not enough work. These are situational contingencies. In such situations, both the employer and the employee behave inconsistently. One does feel bad, whatever are the reasons. You have no work despite being intelligent and educated.

Layoff teaches self-discovery and self-analysis. It reminds us of the uncertainty that exists in our daily lives. It is tough for a person to convey the bad news, especially when he knows that the person at the receiving end doesn't deserve it. It is like this - "I like you and care for you. Still, I advise you to leave." In such moments, sermons do not make the desired impact. It is often very difficult to deliver a veiled and authoritative statement. There is another scenario. I fired one of my colleagues a few years ago, even though I cared for him. After a few years, in one of our Adda sessions, he told me, "I did not realize then that by advising me to leave, you in fact are doing me a favour." I am happy that the special talent my colleague had is now better utilized. Lay off did well for him.