CHENNAI: It is a widely-held belief that youngsters at the nascent stage of their careers, and without families to support, aren’t seriously affected if they get fired. But 24-year-old E Mohan, who lost his job as a print media journalist within a year of getting it, tells a different story. The stereotype of the ‘carefree youngster’ couldn’t be further from the truth, says Mohan, adding that the lay-off left him demoralised and disillusioned.
Armed with a postgraduate degree in journalism, Mohan started his career as a reporter, in a reputed Tamil magazine based in Chennai. “I still remember the day I got the job. Seven of us had attended the interview together and they said we will get a call confirming the job. I never left my phone alone for a day anticipating the call and when it came, I was overjoyed. However, in June, when we got to know about job cuts, I was praying a call would never come. But it did,” he said.
More than 150 people across divisions lost their jobs in the same organisation. To make matters worse, other media organisations followed suit as well. “It took a while to hit me. The fact that I was terminated for no fault of mine was the most difficult part to digest,” he said. He added that a lot of his former colleagues no longer even have the confidence to apply for jobs.
“When the industry is crumbling and we are in a tender stage of our careers, we do not know where to go. Print media has already been undergoing a paradigm shift and with the pandemic, we are unsure as to when things will be back to normal. Now, after finishing PG, we are thinking of switching careers. The mental pressure is way too high,” Mohan said.
Mohan got a job offer from a small company recently, but with a 70 per cent pay cut. “We have all been pushed back. I had joined the media organisation that I was working in primarily because of growth. Also, we have always been told there should not be any gaps in our resume. Now, I don’t know how big a gap in my resume this will be.”
The plight of new graduates is even worse as they have not even landed a job yet. Mohan says he knows at least 100 people like him who are trying to figure out their professional trajectory post-pandemic. He has now gone back to his home in Tirupur from Chennai.