Laid off as an Intern?!

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The Dark Era

Couple months into my hybrid part-time/intern job at the company, I gradually began to feel that a thick, dark cloud was forming as the days go by. Call it sixth sense if you will, but this unpleasant vibe roamed around the office like some sort of plague; it spreads quickly and effectively. In a matter of just days, I could see many faces of uncertainty, wondering if they can make it to the end of the month. 

What’s even worse about this was how the management team handled the situation at those times of despair. The word around goes that some teams were called into meetings and the entire team was laid off by the end of the week. Thankfully, none of them had affected our off-site division, yet…

The Daunting Slip

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Then comes the BAM! hammer. One day after my usual routine of checking email in the morning and grabbing a cup of hot tea, I saw my boss walking over with a serious face. I knew he was up to no good right way, his emotionless expression seemed as if he was about to deliver some terrible news to his own son. His words began with “I am so sorry,” then everything went to blur. My mind somehow blanked out for a minute straight, all I could remember was staring at those sad, yellowish incandescent office lights. 

It wasn’t all that unexpected though, especially with all the crap happening around. I knew something iffy was going to happen to me, but did not nearly anticipate for the emotional aftershock. That day, I drove home wondering if I had already failed in life, what I could have done anything better to avoid this catastrophe. I was in despair, and incapable to eat and sleep that very night.

The Road to Recovery

After a period of downtime (~1 week), I finally found the courage to talk about the incident to friends and family. And what a huge weight off my shoulder it was! I felt much relieved and realized that I wasn’t the odd one out, the layoff just so happened to me earlier than most people. And also, unemployment wasn’t so bad either!

As time went by, I gave myself the much needed time to reflect on these past experience. Soon later, I came to these realizations:

  1. I built a deep connection with my co-workers, especially my direct supervisor. At the time of my exit, he still thought highly of me and wrote me a recommendation letter. 
  2. I saw the worst of corporate America – from times of prosperity to times of despair, it doesn’t get worse from here on out. Being laid off as an intern prepared me for those brutal days to come.
  3. I learned to excel during times of uncertainty. In life, having periods of uncertainty is inevitable, and having this skill set allowed me to be laser-focus on self-defined goals. Weeks approaching my last day, I specifically focused on tasks that would best build my resume for future jobs.
  4. I learned to write production-quality software was directly shipped to customers. As more and more colleagues got laid off, my work became ever more important. For a brief time, I took on full-time responsibility without being a full-time employee.
  5. And last but not least, stop wasting time being down and get back to work. You still have a degree to claim by the end of the school year!!!

And school I did. On June 2013, I received B.S in Electrical Engineering from the University of California – San Diego.

Questions or concerns? Feel free to leave a comment below or reach me here.

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