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Aftershock of H1B Layoff

Published: 02/02/2023

As if losing the job was not enough. There were other clocks that worked at their own pace. The Green Card process with my ex-company ended, PERM was not even processed. H1B ended giving me a grace period of 60 days. A human translation, is there is no more a future job that the company would be able to support. The company has further restrictions in hiring and offering PERM petition because of the layoffs. By law they have to offer jobs to qualified domestic citizens. So there is no more future in the company. And company would not entertain any questions on it.

I had the whole office work setup at home. Now, I was not permitted to return all that to office. So the brilliant guys there called my own ex-friends and ex-colleagues to come and collect stuff from my house. It was short of an emotional parting.

Several people had lost work so there is no special consideration for me. I am still wondering how Covid is a hogwash reason that could affect a hardware-software company.

I went back to the search sheet just like the ones created for finding universities, this time for jobs. Job search techniques, I refreshed with all the books in the public library. No library has any information about visa sponsoring employers. So that was purely luck based. Interviewers did not understand the exigency of the situation that I had only 60 days to make myself useful at their company, and they had to move through the interview process fast and keep me updated all the time.

I had to amp up on the networking side using LinkedIn and tried to make use of the connections built from day 1 in history. Where some where helpful in leading me to some opportunities, some where not helpful. What can they do, I am sure everyone helped in their own way. By luck and kindness of strangers I could get a proper referral and get into interview, and perform satisfactorily for them to offer me a job. Then, it was a wait for the H1B visa transfer(change of employer). I had to take time. I had the timer running and still trying to find any employer who could do that process faster, attend as many interviews and phone calls as possible. This was not easy. Meanwhile sold all the furniture, and spoke with lease office. Now that I did not have to outright sell the cars, because cars are needed for any life in the USA. If there is a job in the USA in near future, then selling the car may be costly compared to buying a car later. But there is still the uncertainty since I had no paper to show yet.
My previous offer during studentship (F1 Visa) was a good reminder. I was offered to be interviewed and the office admin there collected all personal details to book flights and so on and then cancelled it at the last moment and did not book anything. There was no offer to bring in for interview then or later.

I could not go back to India and go back to F1 to continue PhD that easily because of lockdown. I could not get any visa appointment slots. I could not see any relevant jobs in the city I was in. I had to move. I was preparing everyday. I had watches several movies run in the TV during this time but do not remember even a single one. I tried to maintain contacts with a few people who were in my situation, checking on them what they may be doing. I felt I was responsible for one person I interviewed and was later offer a job, laid off only 4 months into the job. I felt bad. Why my manager or CEO did not feel bad for letting all of us go, I could not understand. We remove emotions from policy, then a temporary foreign worker whose work no more exists ceases to exist. No humans were harmed, in theory!

Luckily the papers came in just in time, just 10 days before the end of grace period of 60 days. That determined my continued stay in the USA, and continue the work by chance in the USA.

To this day even after 3 years of these happenings, I relive thiese major life lessons, as a memorable set of events. For the slightest of the reasons in my new job, such as computer not letting me log in. Swipe in card not working. Manager not scheduling 1:1. Manager asking me to come into office without giving details. I would pre emptively carry the necessary stuff ready to go. If a 15 min video call could change my life and work by chance in the USA. Then it could happen again. In my place, in Kerala, we say if jackfruit falls and rabbit dies, it is not necessary that for every fall of the jackfruit rabbit would die.

I could give my example as a hopeful story to some of my contacts who faced layoffs during that time in 2020 in Covid. Most of them are doing well today. All is well that ends well.

Read More : Ajeya.wordpress

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