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How to navigate tech company layoff (even when one is not laid off)?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

The CEO of my company announced a company wide layoff. This layoff also impacted the engineering org. How to navigate tech company layoff? How to stop panicking and navigate tech company layoff?

Right after the layoff announcement, I (L5, Senior SWE) reached out to my manager (L7) and Director (L8) about the impact of layoff. They told me that the impact is minimal to our team since we're a core service team that operates the company's flagship infrastructure and platform system.

While that's reassuring from my manager that my team is necessary for the company product, my worry is that I already find my current workload and responsibilities is overwhelming given my current team size is short staffed and not able to hire enough engineers to fill the head counts we need prior to the tech layoff. Overall, I'm feeling anxious about the impact of the layoff and how it can lead to more stress and tech burnout.

Can I get some perspective on how to stop panicking and navigate tech company layoff (even when one is not laid off)?



  • 5

    I presume tomorrow's https://www.linkedin.com/events/howtonavigatetechindustrylayoff7008960596712849408/comments/ will hopefully address a lot of your questions and concerns.

    Since you didn't get laid off (yay!), you likely have some time to prepare yourself and figure out a long term plan, so there's no need for you to go into a crisis mode. Post-layoffs, people left behind often struggle with surviver's guilt and in general tend to worry about their future job security. So if you are struggling with these, know that it's very normal, and you can address it. It's also true that the work load will generally increase due to same amount of work needing to get done but less people to do it with.

    It seems you are asking whether you should take some time off to examine your wellbeing and your relationship to work, given the stress you feel. I would say that if you should do this, even if there was no layoff. We as knowledge workers contribute via our intellectual output, but if you don't take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well being, your output will only diminish. In other words, since your company really needs you, they would be really dumb to not let you take the time to make sure you yourself is in a good spot. In my view, it's almost irresponsible for employees to NOT take time off to take care of themselves (it's really not that different from an ignoring a simmering production issue given how employees are arguably contribute more to a company's success than its systems)

    It's a tough time, but these times come regularly in our capitalist economy today. It will no doubt happen again in 10-ish years. Learning how to manage these situations will undoubtedly help you and everyone who relies on you down the road.

  • 3
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    a year ago

    How to stop panicking and navigate tech company layoff?

    This is ultimately an internal battle you must navigate, but my advice is to maintain a healthy work-life balance and pursue your interests a lot outside of work. The more you do non-work things, the less you will think about work. 😊

    Sorry to hear about your company's layoffs, but it seems like you (and others around you) have given you the answer: Take a well-deserved break. I worked at Meta, so I know a lot of over-achievers who are afraid to take time off because their team's product will struggle while they're out. While I do think it comes from a semi-good place of ownership, this mentality is not healthy. Your ultimate goal should be to live a good life; if work comes into conflict with that, just sacrifice work, at least temporarily.

    I recommend taking off at least 2 weeks, maybe even 3. These kinds of recharges take a long time. Chances are, this break will help you long-term as you will come back to the team with a clearer mind, one that's better equipped to figure out how your team can land all the impact it needs more efficiently and without burning people out.

    For when you come back to work, I recommend this discussion on how to handle pressure when stakes are high.

  • 2
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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    Update: the full session about "How To Survive Tech Industry Layoffs" is now live. https://link.jointaro.com/vW7adT5fKM4eKLsm9.

  • 1
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    Engineering Manager at Blend
    a year ago

    I understand what it feels like to still be at a company that's had multiple round of layoffs... 😅. Here's some things that I try to remind myself:

    1. Worrying doesn't do anything – we're all humans and encounter stressful and anxiety filled circumstances... but we get to choose how we react to those circumstances. When I find myself in a worry cycle, I try to devote my thinking towards things I can control and not things I cannot control; while reminding myself that choosing to worry/anxious does not change the outcome of the situation, hence not a valuable use of my energy/time.
    2. Position myself to be able to walk away – just like in negotiating job offers where I have the highest leverage when I have the ability to walk away, the same principle holds true while I'm still employed. If I'm in a financial position where I will be "okay" without a job for 12-24 months (living expenses), and I obtain high demand skillset in the job market then regardless of whether or not I have a job doesn't impact my life/lifestyle.
    3. What is the worst case scenario? – for me, thinking about the worst case scenario(s) puts my mind at ease because there's less surprises, and I realize they aren't that bad... e.g. my pay gets cut, I get laid off in the future, workload or expectations is unreasonable, major reorg, I quit - can't find high paying job – get lower paying job – move into smaller apt/eat cheaper food.