On Monday, the company I have been working at for about 2.5 years had a layoff. Ten percent of my colleagues got let go. This company, in its entire 13-year history of existence, had never had a reduction in force before. And it was pretty obvious one was coming: we didn’t hit our Q4 numbers, spend has been pulled way back, especially on work travel. I was just waiting for when it was going to happen… and wondering if I would be impacted. Our CEO gave a cryptic nod to it on Sunday night, and then on Monday morning, he announced on Slack that there would be a layoff later in the day: if you were impacted, you’d get an email within 10 minutes of the all-hands meeting ending. If you were not impacted, you would get a calendar invitation to the all-hands meeting the next day. So after the meeting ended and we all got off Zoom, we sat there for ten minutes, wondering if we’d get cut. As a defense mechanism, once I saw the Slack message in the morning, I had just assumed I would get laid off. Because… if I assume the worst, then I couldn’t possibly get too upset, right?
I guess that’s how I deal with layoffs now. Because I’ve gotten laid off twice before, fired once (yep), and every single company I’ve ever worked at has had endless layoffs where was unlucky and “lucky,” I always just assume the worst. I cannot even count how many layoffs I’ve seen happen across the last 15 years I’ve spent working full-time; I’ve lost track. I feel sorry for the people who think that their individual contributions are so great that they couldn’t possibly get selected. That type of naivete should only exist if you’re super inexperienced and in your early 20s; after that, that type of thinking is just flat out stupid and ignorant. We’re all disposable. Even the CEO of a company is at the hands of their board or shareholders. At the end of the day, we are all just a number.
Was I happy I wasn’t affected? Obviously. Who wants to look for a new job in this miserable environment where pretty much every company is reducing its staff and cutting everywhere? But I honestly just felt numb in general. There’s really no such thing as “job security” anymore, anywhere.