It was around 9 pm in the evening of May 15, when Arpit Singh, 25, a now former employee of leading education tech startup Byju’s, received a message from the management informing him that the company’s human resources (HR) department would be meeting him the next day.
Singh, an employee of Byju’s Delhi office as a retention manager and mentor (customer support Salesforce) slept well that night, little knowing that the meeting would change the trajectory of his life. In the meeting from 10 am to 12 pm at Byju’s Delhi office, Singh was informed that “the company isn’t doing well and has to part ways.”
It took Singh at least 15 days to come to terms with the loss of employment at the company where he had worked for 14 months. “I was in total disbelief when I learned that I had to part ways with the company. I worked for nearly 13-16 hours a day. I was confident that I would not be laid off because of my performance,” said Singh, who is applying for other jobs and also preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil services examinations.
“I served my notice period from May 16 until June 22. In the meantime, I completely zoned out from normal life. I did not disclose my termination to my parents, because my father has health issues and this news would have further affected his health,” Singh said.
As mass layoffs unfold at the company which had positioned itself as a leading edtech startup, former employees like Singh are sharing their experiences in public. Singh also shared his travails on LinkedIn, writing that he lost the job despite giving it his all.
The former Byju’s employee from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, belongs to a family which is no stranger to the education sector. Singh’s father is a retired teacher while his 18-year old brother is a tutor. Singh himself taught for five years at government, private schools and coaching centres, before moving to Byju’s for the higher salary and on the back of his teaching experience.
Now, Singh is left with meagre savings and has shifted out from his rented accommodation to a friend’s place in Delhi because of financial uncertainty. While working for Byju’s, Singh brought in a major share of the family’s income since his brother earned very little through tutoring. Each month, Singh would send home Rs 20,000 for household expenses. Following the layoffs, Singh managed to send only Rs 15,000 in June.
As his finances become strained, Singh is desperately seeking work on social media networks like LinkedIn and Instagram. He has appeared for at least 30 interviews for technical and managerial positions in different companies working in education and other sectors but hasn’t found appropriate employment as yet.
“I have applied to more than 1,000 jobs since June and attended around 30 interviews. However, nothing has clicked yet since the salary did not meet my expectations,” Singh said.
Interestingly, Singh is a UPSC aspirant and appeared for the UPSC exams last year which he could not crack. “While I am seeking a new job, I am also passionate about securing a government job and taking another attempt at the UPSC examinations,” Singh said.
In the most recent wave of layoffs, in early July, about 1000 employees have reportedly lost their jobs. This is believed to be the fifth round of layoffs by Byju’s with the first round beginning in September last year. While the company has not released official figures, at least 1,000-2,000 people are said to have been laid off in each round of layoffs, across departments in brand, marketing, business, product and tech.