The word positive has always been a synonym for hope until COVID-19 entered our lives. This pandemic has impacted almost everyone. Here’s my short experience with it.

It was in March 2020, when I had been selected to join a reputed school as a school manager. Even my wife had been called by her school to rejoin after her maternity leave. While I had submitted my resignation to my previous company and my wife was busy getting new dresses and makeovers for her rejoining, the news of COVID-19 spread. Schools were shut and our country had an initial lockdown for a day on March 22, 2020, which was then extended till mid-April 2020.

Soon after the one-day lockdown, my wife and I received calls from our respective schools that we would be called to join only when the schools were functioning regularly, on which there was no certainty until April mid-month. Some of our relatives are doctors and they told us that this was not an ordinary situation and might continue for at least the next six months till August or September 2020. So we both decided to spend time with our newborn, and I was lucky that my previous boss didn’t approve my resignation and even offered me a raise.

Well, we relaxed in April and May 2020, amidst sad news from here and there, until late May when most of the people had adapted to the new normal of working from home, and I received a call from my company saying that “they are shutting their operations with immediate effect, and there was no surety on the salary of March, April, and May.” Till this time, we had spent most of our savings on medical and other expenses. We had a bad habit of not saving money, and most of our salaries went into Easy Monthly Installments (EMIs), credit card bills, and so on.

To be very clear, we had zero savings, nothing to pay for EMIs in June 2020, and most of the part of my parents’ savings had been used for our expenses of building our new home and other things. I had job offers, but leaving my place and family in such difficult times sounded like a risky affair. Somehow I paid my EMIs in June 2020, borrowing from here and there, and after exploring all options for earning money, I was left with freelancing, about which I had heard but never tried.

Finally, I set up a freelancer account and tried submitting proposals for work. Being into academics and social service, there was little scope for me to get new clients. I tried for around 15 days and became frustrated. Having lived a lavish lifestyle, we weren’t in the position to afford diapers for my newborn baby. I continued and learned a few skills, and I ultimately succeeded with getting work; that was on the 20th day of continuously trying. A client offered me some work, and at a very low hourly price, I started working for around 10-12 hours for him. By August 2020, I had developed new skills and got enough work to pay my bills. I turned myself into a full-time freelancer.

Since then, I have been working full-time for around 10-12 hours a day, and now as of the present day, I have gained more skills and am still learning. I’ve built a decent client base, have a good freelancer profile standing, and good long-term remote job offers.

In March 2021, COVID-19 again impacted India when we were expecting things to start returning to normal. It’s a really hard time keeping your family safe, both from viruses and mental stress. What worked for me is hope, self-belief, adaptability to a situation, willingness to learn as it is never too late to start afresh, and above all, support from family and friends. I’ve now learned the importance of “saving money.”

In these difficult times, I have decided to help other people in the best possible way I can. My wife is also a full-time freelancer now and we have been outsourcing work to some of our jobless friends. I also now guide people on developing new skills and building their freelancing careers. But any news related to COVID-19 is always stressful and a reason to lose concentration. I wish the normal days could come back and I would love to go on a long workation.

At last, I would like to ask anyone who reads my story to be mentally strong and help others in the time of need, especially in these unprecedented times. “If the happy times didn’t last long, then these sad times also won’t!”