Being laid off sucks. I have gone through it, and it definitely sucks.
You are being laid off even if you have successfully reached your goals.
I still remember every minute of that day as if it were today.
I remember the people around me not being able to look into my eyes as I walked away. The removal process had already begun in their minds.
I remember driving home with my card boxes, trying to figure out how to tell my significant one I no longer had a job.
At least it was a human being telling me I was fired. If you consider a General Counsel a human being, he was a human.
I did not sleep that night, but I remember that I got out of bed thinking: “Well, your loss. I know what I am worth. Fuck you.”
It was tough.
The news spread fast. After a couple of days, I started receiving offers from other companies. I decided to take six months off before thinking about my next move.
I understand how thousands of people feel when they are fired from big tech companies. The numbers are impressive. It is estimated that more than 107.000 people lost their job between 2022 and 2023. 12000 by Alphabet, 18.000 by Amazon, 3740 by Twitter, 9090 by Salesforce, 4100 by Cisco, 11000 by Meta, 10000 by Microsoft, and 3900 by IBM, to name a few. If you are strong enough, you can read the numbers here.
It is interesting to look at how these big tech companies laid off people. Some of them disabled physical access to the workplace, others just fired an e-mail, others held an all-hands meeting, and others locked out people from their work accounts or locked their company’s personal computer.
If you are going to fire thousands of people, is there a “correct” and “fair” way to do it? Every company I cited before has critical assets they need to protect when an employee is fired. Think about it multiplied by thousands.
No, there is no good way to do it.
It is also interesting to notice that while you are firing thousands of people, you are running an event with a concert from a celebrity, or you just announced a 10 billion dollar investment in another company.
So, do companies have to have a soul? That is not the case. The distance between how companies represent themselves and how they really are is still abysmal. This is true for every company size.
There must be hundreds of managers that had to make a decision on who and when. Did it hurt? I don’t know. I have been there, and it is the most challenging thing I have ever managed. As I remember the day I was fired, I remember the day I fired someone.
Being laid off sucks.
What I can say to those people is to look ahead. I went through it, and it was not easy, but it was the only way.
If I can help any contacts, even with a friendly chat, do not hesitate to get in touch.