Celebrating 10 years of Pink SlipRashi Bhargava
For SBS FIN, it all began with a pink slip, which I received on October 3, 2012. Without the layoff, SBS FIN would have remained a side hustle.
We could all feel that something was brewing within the company. While layoffs were certainly a possibility, they were not a primary concern when the North Head scheduled an away-from-the-office trip for the Delhi team. North Head, despite being aware of the grand plans of mass lay-offs in the pipeline, planned a trip to Jim Corbett for two days before the head office called us to give the bad news. All this led to a lot of pain and resentment. The entire episode served as a cautionary tale about the games people play and how academic training and qualification don’t prepare us for the real world and its challenges.
I was a hard worker, a person who thought outside the box (Once I gave senior management a low-budget marketing idea that created a buzz in the market without my organization having to spend lacs of money on advertising), and someone who was dependable and organized, and within the constraints managed to get retail numbers. I was able to demonstrate my leadership and mentoring abilities by transforming a low-performer into a high-performer. Yet, I was given the pink slip. This was my second lay-off. The first time I lost my job, I was able to find another one within a month.
But this time was different; it was as if a huge burden had been removed from my shoulders. After nine years of working in an unfair and poorly led industry, I was exhausted. As far as development and acknowledgment go, I never got my just deserts after waiting for nine years. I was not happy at work, and it was not helping my career. My health was suffering as a result of the poisonous environment in which I was forced to work. I was unable to make a choice because like everyone I needed the stability of a steady paycheck. When I was at a loss as to what to do, God used his divine legerdemain to determine my next move and ensure it was the best possible one for me.
The three values of beauty, benefit, and good were cited by SGI mentor Josei Toda as criteria for choosing a job. Everyone wants to work somewhere they enjoy (the “beauty”), where they can make a living (the “benefit”), and where they can make a positive impact (the “benefit”) on the world (good). My job lacked all of these things (beauty, benefit, good), but in hindsight, I can see that the layoff was a blessing in disguise.
Though they never let on, my parents’ worries were palpable. And for the very first time in my life, they let me be alone. They showed their support for me without saying anything overt in a preachy way. They made it so that I didn’t have to worry about paying for basics like food and shelter, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
When I told my faith senior, Shubhi, that I had been laid off, she was concerned. I told her in my own humourous style that I would finally have plenty of time to study Nichiren Buddhism. When I was working in the corporate world, I gave her a hard time. I had no time to breathe :). My 9 years in the corporate world were excruciatingly stressful and draining on my body and mind. Both my private and professional life was a mess, leaving me with nothing noteworthy to share.
What did I do in such a trying time of my professional journey? I was about to turn 35 and had a middling career in business, with only a few scattered accomplishments to my name. Instead of frantically updating my resume and applying for new jobs, I took a deep breath and dialled down the noise. I stepped back from the fray to get in touch with my inner self.
When you start listening to yourself, doors start opening… Get in tune with who you really are.
Life can feel out of whack when we don’t take the time to tune in to our own individual needs on a physical, mental, and emotional level. The body constantly communicates its needs, but do we listen? We have all the information we need, but we either refuse to change it or are too busy to pay attention to it.
How does one tune to self?
- Check in with yourself regularly.
- Find silence.
- Feel all the feelings.
- Try journaling.
- Create a morning ritual.
- Become aware of your thoughts.
- Move your body.
- Go off the grid
- Meet new people
- Try new things
- Cut noises and shun toxic people.
- Surround yourself with your supporters.
2013 was the only year in my adult life I did things that made me happy without any stress/baggage. I hiked and trekked around the Delhi NCR area with like-minded people, attended fun workshops, honed my knowledge of wines, and went on heritage and food walks. My lifelong dream came true when I became a Greenpeace volunteer. I slowed down to appreciate beauty, spent more time with my music of choice, rocked out in hair bands, and generally became more interesting as a social companion (hence the name Rockstar given to me by my faith senior Tannu).
There was no way I could keep a frown on my face because my mind was racing with possibilities, and I was beaming with excitement. It was time for me to break free of my past self, Rashi Version 1, and become the new and improved Rashi Version 2.
Post-lay-off, I dedicated a lot of time to learning about Buddhism and practicing its teachings. Once relegated to the back row at Buddhist gatherings, I started taking part in Buddhist activities and meetings.
I started actively engaging in a wide range of pursuits meant to bring out my fullest potential and enhance my life in every way. My Brother-in-law once remarked that job loss affects a lot of people in a negative way, but he was impressed by how I had used it as a catalyst for personal growth and improvement in every area of my life despite having received no outside help.
I made a connection with my inner self. With time, I was able to see things more clearly, and eventually, I conceived SBS FIN in its present avatar. The experience of raising my baby SBS FIN has been the most rewarding thing I have had in my life. Nothing compares to the labour pain of starting from scratch and building my solopreneur practice in difficult conditions and obstacles.
The people least likely to notice the progress you have made in life are your parents 😉 My mother began to take note of the improvements she saw in me. Initially devastated by the fact that I had stopped going out for my weekly movie outings after I lost my job, she eventually became my biggest fan and cheerleader. And we celebrated each small victory of mine with treats from Chayos, Defence Bakery, Haldiram, and sarees from Nalli and Fab India over the years.
For what purpose am I penning this?
- To commemorate the past decade, which has been filled with amazing moments and experiences.
- Remind myself that, I should be proud of the progress I have made in the last decade.
- Remind me of all the things I want and have accomplished so far, and how much further I can go if I just keep pushing. In a way fuel my spirit and keep going.
- At the moment, I am having a tough time dealing with my grief over my mother’s death, the abrupt end of my therapeutic relationship, and my own personal demons.
- Pandemic has caused widespread job losses, and I hope my story can serve as an inspiration to others going through what I did in 2012. Unemployment is not the end of the world. It can serve as a stepping stone to greater things. Trust God and his purposes for your life.
- While it’s true that no one enjoys being unemployed, we must acknowledge that it happens, and it is normal. Not every lay-off is because of non-performance. It’s okay to brood, cry, vent, feel your feelings, and tune into yourself if you have been fired. However, always, keep in mind that there is an opportunity in every crisis.
You may wonder, why am I rejoicing and what I am celebrating towards 10 years of my pink slip?
- Today I am responsible for 75+ clients and manage 50+ crores of assets in mutual funds.
- In addition to my professional website (www.sbsfin.com), I also maintain my personal website (www.rashibhargava.com) and a mobile app. My personal website is one of the coolest sites 😊 (saying this based on the feedback)
- Because of my efforts, being a solopreneur is now seen as hip in my community, and that makes me very happy. Big ideas, big numbers, big revenue, big branches; this is the world we live in. Little is said about the beauty and satisfaction to be found in the minutiae of life. Small can also be beautiful.
- While WFH saw a surge in popularity during the pandemic, I have been doing it since 2013. I never catered to walk-in clients. Working at home made perfect sense because it allowed me to save money on expensive office, I take great pride in being a location-independent solopreneur. In other words, I can get by with just my Dell XPS 13 and Sony noise-cancelling headphones. (Both gadgets are mean and drool-worthy machines and have proved to be a good investment for the business)
- I am at the point in my career where young people are seeking my advice via LinkedIn.
- I am currently taking the necessary steps to earn my credentials as a professional document organizer (Diversifying my revenue stream). (Organizing is part of my family DNA, so this comes naturally)
- I am making a name for myself in the realms of social media, doodling, and writing. Over the course of the last two years, I have penned over 75 blogs and fifty letters of encouragement to those who are experiencing difficult times. You haven’t heard the last of this:) This year, I was also recognized by Canva for having created over 1500+ social media posts in a little over 2 years. I have made over 500+ doodles, and close to 1,500 bookmarks as part of my personal projects.
- My high school, Delhi Public School R.K. Puram, was celebrating its 50th anniversary in August, and I was given the chance to coordinate the school’s social media accounts, make and manage the content.
- I have published two E-Books in the past 12 months. A third is in the works.
- As a solopreneur, I have had the freedom to express many facets of my character through my work and skill sets.
- One of the most important things about me is that I am always developing. To put it simply, I am prepared to learn, unlearn, and relearn. I long to expand my horizons.
- “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” ― Steve Jobs. I am at last able to connect the dots and understand my life, able to fit in the pieces of puzzles in the right place. Success now follows my struggles, missteps, and experiences of the past. Absolutely nothing was wasted. Those early setbacks and challenges were probably the best thing that could have happened to me. Struggle and preparation for life’s battles are best developed during one’s youth.
- “Be a positive energy trampoline-absorb what you need and rebound more back.”-Dave Carolan. I am not only tapping into my inner charger to stay positively charged but also reflecting the same back to the people in my environment who are struggling and need something to fire and fuel them up.
- I have developed a deeper understanding of others’ perspectives and this insight makes me feel at peace.
- Gained the nerve to say what I really thought.
- Learning to forgive and let go.
- Acquired the wisdom to know that everyone is going through something.
Celebrations will be incomplete without a shout-out to my team of supporters, without my support team, the growth of SBS FIN, Rashi versions 1 and 2, and Rashi version 3, which is still in development, would not have been possible.
- My family, most notably my mom and older sister. They have put their faith in me to handle their money wisely without any reservations. I have learned the ropes of personal finance by managing their money.
- My Aunt (Mausi) Indra Mehrotra. Bouncing off my problems with her always helps me see things from a different angle.
- Aditya Arora, Aditi Dave, and Sarika Prasad are three of my closest friends. The extent of their love support and encouragement has been boundless. They are the solid ground upon which I stand.
- Uma Banerji my school friend who like Aditi was wind beneath my wings. My two-month epic trip in 2019 wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of both my friends. She is the official supplier of chocolates for SBS FIN 😉
- My two brothers-in-law, Anil Mehta and Gautam Bhagat, as well as my friend Geenu Pawa, are the only people in my life who encouraged me to prioritize SBS FIN and conquer my mountains when I was given the pink slip.
- Anvita Krishna-she gave me the gift of Nichiren Buddhism by introducing me to this life-changing philosophy in 2011.No better gift a friend can give.
- Dr. Pieusha Malhotra-She never gets tired of my long shopping list, the things I ask her to get for me every year from the US. I owe my mean powerful machine Dell XPS 13 and loads of drool worthy running gear to her 😊
- Mudit Mehrotra, Karthik Kanan, Yogita Dand, and Kshitija Shete my sounding boards when it comes to discussing work. We are the perfect blend of North, West and South India friendship 🙂
- Tannu, Shubhi, and Vandana Ji, my most amazing warm-hearted seniors. They have stood by me and patiently raised me in faith.
- Dr. Shanu my senior in faith, a friend, Chief Encourager, and cheerleader who has been my sounding board for all my out-of-the-box ideas. She patiently answers all my incessant questions and WhatsApp bombs 😉
- Amrita, a comrade and senior in faith. The only person who can make me chant for 3.2 hours. My Mumbai trips are incomplete without meeting her. Her guidance w.r.t Work from Home has stayed with me all these years. To date, I follow the discipline and I am at my workstation by 9:30 am
- Ms. Fab India (Shraddha Kochar) for pushing and irritating me to the max 😊 Without her push all these years my 2 E-books would have been just a dream.
- Jigyasa Laroiya, for conceptualizing and enacting each one of my crazy ideas for SBS FIN, no matter how unrealistic they seemed at first. Between the two of us, we can give competition to stand-up comedians, when we are in our element 😊 If anyone needs a good dose of laughter and fun, spend some time with us and you will not regret it.
- Dr. Rajat Chauhan for instilling the basics of physical fitness and making the mind-body connection crystal clear. My first meeting with him in October 2016 was in a way my first step towards physical fitness and understanding that there can be no financial fitness if there is no physical and mental fitness. His emphasis on basics got me into running and under his guidance, I have managed to reach the 10k mark.
- Dr.X. The professional relationship did not end how either of us would have preferred. Our time together, however, was filled with insightful and introspective conversations. She equipped me with some amazing life tools to navigate life’s challenges. Reflection was just a word for me. She taught me to reflect and change the lens from which I look at things.
- My nutritionist, Deepta Nagpal. There’s still a long way to go, but with her by my side, I know we are making progress and I am in safe hands. She is nothing short of celebrity, have a wonderful sense of humour and her social media accounts reflect that 🙂
- My Strength trainer Vijay Karan. His gentle way of making me do exercises that I hate is slowly making me a more flexible, mobile, and efficient runner. Spider-man T rotation, Frog pose, Hip 90/90, Cat, and Camel looked impossible a year ago 😊
- Ms. F for assisting me in tightening my bolts and nuts. I am glad I gave therapy another chance. She is young budding therapist, brings fresh energy and perspectives to our conversations. She gives me confidence that I am in safe hands, and that I am no longer the prisoner of my own mind.
- Dr. Arvinder Kaur-my running comrade. Saturdays/Sundays are special because of this friend of mine. She gives me company and is a willing partner to all my crazy photo props and ideas. Starbucks, Khan Market, and Sagar, Ashok Hotel should give us lifelong membership and free food.
- My Greenpeace friends. Bunch of Millennials who came into my life as breath of fresh air. Volunteering with them and doing flash mobs, air pollution awareness activities and events taught me a lot which later on I used the learnings on work front.
Many people have had an indirect impact on my life and the development of SBS FIN over the past decade. A big shout out to them too 😊
- Inspiring husband-and-wife team Sadique and Preeti run NetworkFP. When it comes to personal finance professionals in India, there is no better resource than NetworkFP. My career in personal finance has been greatly influenced by their workshops, conferences, master classes, and QPFP course.
- Dhananjay and his wife Smita, my chartered accountant. We always seem to have a lot to talk about when we get together. The time and money I put into joining the TiE Delhi NCR chapter at his recommendation paid off handsomely.
- Abhishek Bondia and Kapil Mehta (Founders of Secure Now). I never could make head/tail of insurance. Thanks to them I can understand a bit 😉One of the best brains when it comes to Insurance.
- Rajan Singh- Because of a chance LinkedIn post, I found out about Rajan Singh and ended up attending two of his boot camps: one focused on developing a morning routine and implementing a digital detox, and the other on achieving a state of flow. I follow the learnings in my office and writing work. (Pomodoro technique and Focused 50-minute sprints both had a profound effect on me and work productivity).
- Shweta Ma’am-The lovely Shweta Ma’am was referred to me by a mutual friend. She is one of the few people I feel comfortable confiding in about the challenges I have faced at work and the emotional pain I have felt since my mother’s death. I take pleasure in chatting with her. When my mother was fighting for her life, she was by my side around the clock, just like a member of my own family.
- Sampark Sachdeva-For my own professional reputation, nothing has done more for me than taking Sampark Sachdeva’s LinkedIn bootcamp. His insights into LinkedIn’s algorithm and his inputs into my profile greatly aided my efforts to network and grow my connections organically.
Last but not least, I want to thank all my clients and customers who have helped me along my professional journey over the past 19 years and supported SBS FIN.