Early in the morning, Meta sent Surbhi Gupta an email announcing his dismissal.
After widespread layoffs at major software companies, large numbers of Indians working on temporary visas in the US now face an uncertain future. Surbhi Gupta, who was fired from Meta, talks about his experiences in his own words.
My mother had a birthday. As I stayed up late to wish him well, I started getting messages from my friends announcing the layoffs. They all felt tense.
I learned of my dismissal via email at around 6am local time. I had just joined Meta as a product manager. My team was stunned considering how well I was performing.
This went against the philosophy of “Work is worship”, which I had adopted at an early age and instilled in me by my favorite teacher. At first, I thought the Titanic had sunk as I lost access to my work, email, and laptop one by one.
But my LinkedIn network pleasantly shocked and well surprised me. Many of my colleagues, ex-colleagues and friends have reached out to me in a very encouraging way to introduce me and offer advice. It gave me the impression that I am loved by so many people in this country and that I am a part of it.
The deadline for me to find a new job is early March because my last day at Meta is January, and my H1-B visa [a nonimmigrant visa that allows companies in the US to hire foreigners for up to six years] only allows me to stay in the country for another 60 days.
Due to the slow hiring pace brought by the holidays in December, it will be difficult to find a job right now. But I am really determined. I'm looking at options and keeping in touch with a few businesses.
The thing I will miss the most in Meta will be the work environment and my colleagues. Being on Meta means having the opportunity to create a great product for millions of users, as well as being involved in growth and learning events like fireside chats. It would be satisfying to see the project I'm working on progress as a product manager.
My parents instilled in me the value of never giving up. They advise me to keep my cool because I have the ability to turn difficulties into advantages. They reassure me that “you will find something better” (aur kuch accha mil jayega).
But my H1-B visa is what allows me to work and stay in the USA. I moved to the USA in 2009 and since then I have worked incredibly hard to establish my profession using only my own skills. I've spent more than 15 years developing outstanding products, earning top grades, paying taxes and making a significant contribution to the US economy, but due to the restrictions of the H1-B visa, I still feel like I'm in the same position as permanent residency.
I was named Miss Bharat California by one of my idols, Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen. I took the runway at New York Fashion Week. I have my own podcast.
This uncertainty also negatively affects our personal lives. My decision to invest in a home raised the question of what would happen if I had to sell it. Even though I'm moving forward with YC, I can't start a business even though I have a great idea as I don't have a green card.
Before I was 30, I visited 30 countries. However, despite my desire to travel a lot, I am currently unable to do so for fear of encountering difficulties trying to re-stamp my H1-B visa. My friends who work at reputable organizations like Google and PayPal told me about their troubles overseas.
I even reduced my trips to India. A few years ago I was stranded in India. I needed to get my H1-B visa stamped after going to a wedding. However, it took a few months because the administrative process was haphazard and I wasn't even sure when I would get it. My marriage has suffered from this anxiety and anticipation. My marriage was badly damaged because of visa issues. While this was not the only factor, it was an important factor in the dissolution of my marriage.
Also, I had to drop out a semester of my studies at New York University as I wasn't sure I could return to the US. Why do H1-B visa holders have to put up with it?
My family hasn't been able to visit me since the Covid-19 pandemic, so it's been three and a half years since I last saw them. They are old and cannot take good care of themselves. I constantly wonder if I can help my family when they need it. No one realizes how this affects our lives.
However, despite everything that has happened, I think there is a positive side to this experience. My life is heavily spiritual. I am a devotee and follower of Sadhguru ji [the name given to him by the devotees of Indian yoga master Jaggi Vasudev]. He argues that we should not define ourselves only by our professions or limit our identities to our professions. Which company do you work for is the most frequently asked question in Silicon Valley. But even though I'm a product manager, I'm still me. Everyone needs to understand that there is more to the institution they work for.
Günceleme: 07/12/2022 12:27