One fine morning, the country woke up to the news of a highly contagious virus, the Corona. We thought this was just another virus but eventually, it proved to be something with way more dire consequences than we had imagined. To stop the virus, a series of complete lockdowns were announced and things have never been the same ever since.
Out of the many adverse effects the lockdown has produced, there is one issue that I wish to bring forward; the issue that is known to all of us but has never been spoken about or has never found a place as the headline on any media platform.
So, it starts with the opening of my Linkedin account every morning and I see that my news feed is flooded with posts that read –
” I am a professional with 10 years of experience as a Senior Manager in the Banking Industry. I lost my job due to Covid-19 crisis and now it has been very difficult for me to provide for my family as my savings are getting exhausted and I am the only earning member in my family. I am open to any possible job. Please let me know if anything is available.” Any job!
Yes, because many such professionals, who are unable to find anything that would have actually been suitable are now open to any job, putting their careers aside. They are ready to compromise on their pay scale like “I am okay with 5 lacs per annum even though I was at 10 in my previous job.”
Can anyone imagine this agony? I am capable, I am qualified, I am skilled and I am experienced, yet I am not desirable. Why? Because my company does not need me any more and they have their own reasons, which I cannot deny.
So what is the way out for me? We often come across news pieces on how the lockdown has affected the economically marginalised class like the farmers, the small scale workers, the daily wage workers and the domestic help, who have been going through distress and many of them are dying by suicide or without food.
This is extremely depressing and saddening, and it really needs to be highlighted but at the same time, the plight of the professional class must also be held up. Nobody cared to talk about what kind of mental trauma people like you and I are going through with each passing day.
We are living under constant intimidation of losing employment suddenly, without a notice. Then? What do we do? Who has the answer? What about this? ” I started my career in 2019 but as a result of a major lay off in my organisation, I could not work beyond 6 months. Now I am jobless and nobody is willing to hire me without experience. So what is the way out for me? Should I use this break well, to upskill myself?”
Can anybody give an assurance of employability after obtaining certificates? Can anybody ensure the grooming will be as per the industry standards? Organisations like IBM and Cognizant say that Indian engineers are not employable, so would these major Industry players suggest any strong point that can improve the standard of our employable attributes? Well, in this situation nobody is ready to give an answer.
Many, including the government, argue that professionals don’t need to worry when there are ample remote working opportunities. So let me put this question through, what kind of remote job can anyone suggest for a retail store manager, for a production engineer, for a cashier cum accountant, for an aviation crew staff and for a hotel management graduate? Well, the answer is NONE.
In my opinion, there are no such jobs available that would cater to these professionals. What is the role of this so-called digital upgradation, when it can’t solve the major unemployment crisis by even 10 percent?
This entire scenario has impacted the mental health of professionals like me, to the extent that we are losing our self-esteem. For many, this is even leading to dire consequences like slipping into a deep state of depression.
So my question is; who is there to raise the plight of professionals like me, who are living in the constant fear of losing our livelihoods at any moment? What is the solution for us?
As these questions keep on haunting white-collar professionals like myself, every new day starts with anxiety. We end up working way harder, thereby pushing ourselves to the extent that we experience severe mental fatigue.
However, I thought of ways that gave me solace in this period of distress. One is reading; I consider it a way to detox the mind and intellect at the same time. And then it is writing, which works as the best mode of self-expression for me.
As I went back to reading and writing, without getting anxious about cutting down the time I devote to my job, I have started feeling so much better. The question still haunts me – Do we die of starvation or do we die by suicide? What is the best choice? Well, I leave this answer to you!! But we must not stop living before we die.