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How to handle stress at work especially after a company layoff?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

I wanted to ask people to how to handle stress at work especially after a company layoff with fewer people around?

Is it a good idea to plan time-off around busy periods at work especially after a tech layoff when workloads may have increased for remaining employees?

Given all of the tech layoff, my company also conducted ~10% layoff earlier this month. I am not directly impacted by the layoff as a Senior SWE. But due to the layoff and reorganization, I found that I have become the official go-to person when it comes to Production system issue for the backend and point of contact when it comes to troubleshooting 3rd party API and production issue triage person.

I just finished my first on-call rotation for production support last week, and it's kind of exhausting when I reported Production Incident that categorized as P1 and P2 incident, which resulted an outage due to 3rd party API. I got a lot questions from Product and Business to get updates on business impacts from this 3rd party API outage issue for the past couple days. In light of this, I found myself really need a break from the exhaust of the work. Any thoughts or suggestions on this?

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(2 comments)
  • 8
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    Anonymous User [OP]
    Taro Community
    a year ago

    I got to think about some of the ways that I can take better care of myself.

    My company has unlimited PTO and I have not used it that frequently for the last year.

    So I plan to ask my manager for time off and take a break from work for at least 5-7 days next month.

    1. Consider my workload: I currently don't have significant project assigned to me because I have been the person who owns the backend system. I mostly do code review and monitor the system and set the standards for the code quality

    2. Coordinate with the team: I found out from my new manager, he is taking 1 month off to travel to Asia and surprised that his absence won't cause any major disruptions to the team's work.

    3. Consider the time of year: This time of year may be busier than others for my company or industry, so I take that into consideration when planning my time off.

    4. Consider my mental and physical health: Being on-call frequently for the past two months can be stressful, it is important to take time off when I need it to rest and recharge.

    5. Take a mini-vacations: If it's not possible for me to take a long vacation, I am considering take a few shorter time off throughout the year to break up my work schedule.

    Appreciate any thoughts or suggestion.

  • 12
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    Sorry to hear that you are exhausted -- I imagine morale is quite low, and you have even more work on your plate now.

    You came up with great ideas! One question to ask is what type of work you genuinely would enjoy. You mention "I currently don't have significant project assigned to me because I have been the person who owns the backend system." I know many engineers would not be happy with just on-call/maintenance work -- if that's you, you should say something to your manager / skip manager.

    • You can ask that the team hire someone ASAP to share the oncall burden with you.
    • You can ask to allocate time to project exploration for something that you're interested in, and gives you promotion-ability (if you care about that).

    The silver lining of the layoff is that you do have some additional leverage with the company, since they are clearly relying on you. You should absolutely take vacation when it's mutually convenient for you and your team.

    Finally, I like your idea of forecasting busy periods. Sometimes it's ok for us to be exhausted if we know that there's a lighter period coming, e.g. things will be busy until Valentine's day, but then become much lighter. Identifying the lighter periods with your manager will probably help a lot.