I mentioned back in late August how my company had just gone through the first round of layoffs. Well, as it turns out, today marked the start of Round 2! This caught many of us off-guard, as the company has a policy of initiating these moves without giving its employees any fair warning. Suffice to say, today was not your typical day at the office.
Just another atypical day…
The day started off normal enough, as I got to work early, and went through my usual routine. Halfway through our morning staff meeting, the security guard came in and wanted to know if one of my co-workers was there. My co-workers and I knew instantly that something was amiss, because it is very seldom that something like this happens. If the matter at hand isn’t urgent, security will usually let us wrap up our meetings so that they don’t need to interrupt us.
For the remainder of the meeting, my co-workers and I were chattering, trying to figure out if something big had just happened. Someone suggested the idea of Round 2 of layouts starting today, which of course put everyone in a grim mood. Let’s just say most of us tuned out of the meeting from that point on.
After the meeting concluded, everyone dispersed as usual, but I did notice something peculiar. A lot of my co-workers were gathering by the windows, looking intently outside. Since there were so many people crowded around the windows, I couldn’t get a good view, so decided to walk outside the building instead. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the smartest decision for me to make, because for all I knew, there could have been some kind of serious incident going on outside. I probably didn’t make the safest decision, but lucky for me, one other co-worker decided to join me.
We walked outside building #1, and walked slowly towards building #2. Before getting to the entrance, we were approached by two security guards, which was again, unusual. So, by now, we knew something was going on for sure. As it turns out, they let us know right then and there that we weren’t allowed entry into the building because the second round of layouts was indeed proceeding inside.
One guard then broke the news, informing us that one employee who had just been informed of his dismissal was so overwhelmed that he fainted! This was the reason for all all the window gathering taking place in building #1 – my co-workers were staring outside because the paramedics had just arrived on the scene. Again, not something you normally see on a typical day at the workplace.
I didn’t know how to react. I was in shock! I didn’t know the co-worker personally, but many of my colleagues in my group knew him quite well. He was a young guy, not too many years into his career. They mentioned how he had just transferred from the Asia Design Center to our offices in the US just less than two years ago. He had a wife, and a kid to support as well. Apparently, he had been under a lot of stress lately, and was even worried about his job security a few months back during Round 1 of layoffs. I’m sure his nerves were put to ease a bit after surviving the initial cuts, so receiving this jolt of bad news today must have just overwhelmed him.
It’s such an unfortunate event that took place today…
And it makes me examine life more closely yet again. It makes me ponder if all this is really worth it in the end? No one should have to deal with so much stress and anxiety that it jeopardizes their very health. In a way, sometimes I think people sign up for more than they can handle. Partially, because society expects you to. I look at this young guy and wonder, maybe he jumped in the deep end of the pool too soon, before he was ready. I mean, the stresses of a job and pressure to perform on a daily basis are taxing enough, especially for someone just getting their career started. It takes time to acquire enough experience and knowledge to where you can feel confident in your abilities. When you factor in trying to raise a family, moving to a new country, having to learn a new language/culture, etc., that’s a lot of weight on any one person’s shoulders.
Subconsciously, maybe it’s thoughts like these that are always running in the background, forcing me to always focus (and refocus) my efforts towards staying on the path to reaching financial independence. So that I won’t have to deal with all the work-related BS. So that I won’t have to put my health in harm’s way. So that one day, should I elect to settle down and raise a family, I will be able to do so without feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.
Life is worth living. I have many dreams for the future that I am working towards achieving. No job in the world should have the audacity to try and rob me of that. I did not, and will not ever sign up for that. No thanks.