What do you do during mass layoffs?

Hi everyone,

My Twitter feed in the last few days has been flooded with now-former Google devs being laid off. This is on top of all the layoffs that have happened in the last year. I’ve been on this self-taught journey for about 6 months now (mostly MERN, a little AR/VR and machine learning). As someone looking for their first position, all this news is a little destabilizing.

Experienced devs, have you ever been through layoffs at any of your companies? How did you respond? Do you have some practical / realistic advice for finding a new job at your level or at an entry level, based on your experiences?

Junior devs / those still searching, how are you processing this news? What steps are you taking if any to avoid being laid off?

I’m concerned about where all these jobs are going to be reabsorbed. Also how these layoffs are happening so close to developments in AI and automation … would love to have discuss with others how they’re moving through this!

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These are faceless shareholder driven decisions affecting masses of people, which are dictated by wider industry trends. They’re not based on individual employee performance. Failing companies and business models are the driver.

Unfortunately it’s not within your hands to determine whether you remain employed. I’ve seen extremely competent and valuable employees be made redundant en masse for no other reason than cost cutting.

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These things are cyclical. When the tech bubble burst a couple decades ago, I think something like 40% of the tech sector was out of a job. This current wave is a relatively small correction from over-hiring during covid. It can be a bit daunting, but I think software engineering still offers a very stable long term career. It does require one to remain sharp and attractive to other companies even after landing a job, but I personally think it’s less risk compared to other fields considering the payoff. I read an article somewhere that most of the people who got let go from Twitter have already landed jobs, and in many cases with a pay raise.

Another thing is that right now, mostly big tech companies are laying off coders, and frankly, you won’t be competing with ex-googlers for your entry level positions as they won’t be interested in those positions. Yes, there will be some trickle down effect and competition will be tougher than say 2 years ago, but I’ve found from tutoring that the difference is not vast. It’s also very possible that the market will trend up by the time you feel completely ready to start interviewing!

I will answer from Indian mind set.

During my father’s or grand father’s time, we didn’t have layoff culture here in India, majority try to join government jobs as they have job security ( even when you don’t work and do corruption ) and other were doing traditional small businesses.

Private sectors use to pay less salary but never fired someone until and unless company itself was shut down or employee does something really bad.

Now with IT sector everything changed ( in India ), it gave lots of money and money spending opportunities as well, with that it had brought hire and fire culture as well to India.

If you’re one of those show off person who takes loads of EMI for big house, big car without doing min. 50% saving then you’re in big trouble. It’s totally your fault.

I feel layoff are going to stay here forever ( because of various economical reasons ).
But I feel one shouldn’t take it personally and feel bad about him/her self.

If that person is good at coding there are literally thousands of new jobs across globe. Google “Y Combinator startup jobs”

Keep saving → keep learning → keep yourself relevant → read HOW TO STOP WORRYING AND START LIVING by Dale Carnegie

Check out below 2 articles about scientific studies of happiness

Money: The Real Truth About Money

Happiness Viewpoint: A Deeper Sense of Happiness

God bless us all.

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This is the tech bubble bursting once again after 20~ years… most companies over hired driven by a period of low rates/easy access to VC money and now need to restructure.

It was pretty common to hear on other mediums about how people are bragging about working 5-10 hours a week or working multiple jobs. It should be noted that faceless shareholders, executives, or board members are becoming increasingly aware of this (yes, they use social media too). These are the folks who ultimately decide to do layoffs or returns to the office.

I don’t think being laid off is the end of the world; most people will probably get let go at least once in a 30-40 year career (regardless of performance). The important thing is having a skill set that can allow you to rebound which means keeping up to date with technologies and continuous learning for software devs.

I do think this is just the beginning of companies trimming positions; most won’t recklessly cut a significant portion immediately but it will be done gradually in phases. The good news I hope is that this means the industry will be more resilient by the end of the year.

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This is a red herring. Have you personally experienced a mass layoff? I can tell you first hand that talented, hardworking and experienced engineers are being laid off, en masse, due to reasons connected with the company’s performance, not their own.

Quote taken out of context since I did mentioned that in the next paragraph

I don’t think being laid off is the end of the world; most people will probably get let go at least once in a 30-40 year career (regardless of performance)

thanks all. I think I was just shocked at how casually these layoffs have happened. It doesn’t feel ideal that we are in this position as workers, but the general advice of being prepared for similar curveballs in the future sounds realistic. we obviously can’t control shareholder decisions but we can focus on building our own knowledge of relevant tools and expanding our relationships / networks to be more resilient

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Yes. I was laid off from Hewlett Packard Enterprise about 3 years into my career.

Job-hunting became my full time job. Because my whole team was laid off, we created a support network for each other.

Yes. At the request of fellow campers (this was in the very beginning of the forum) I wrote this post.

The job market of the last few years could happily absorb tens of thousands of experienced developers. Many companies (including the one I work for) have been operating at a talent deficit for years. The significant thing about these public layoffs isn’t the number of people on the job market. It is an indication of an overall trend in how that market is going to change. As others have said, there has been a glut of hiring tech talent for many years due to the cheapness of debt. People have also mentioned previous cycles or a pendulum effect in tech jobs. That’s likely part of what we’re seeing here - after years of aggressive hiring companies are now (over)correcting to trim down. In this case, we’re not just talking about a change to the technical job market, but a massive economic recession. That being the case, we shouldn’t ascribe too much significance to the fact that these newsworthy layoffs are happening at technology-based companies. It is, overall, a bad time to need things like food, shelter, and medical care.

I’m not sure I understand the connection between layoffs and AI or automation.

I’m being more conscious of maintaining enough savings to support me through a potential months-long job search. I’m also adjusting my plans and expectations around changing jobs. I’ve been considering leaving my current job in the next few months, but I now expect that the interviewing process might be more frustrating and the offers less enticing. Part of that is that I expect companies to leverage the anxiety caused by these news stories to manipulate tech workers into accepting lower compensation and higher demands (such as off-hour availability and in-office requirements). I am not concerned about my ability to provide for my family, but I am concerned about the effects that this climate will have on the emotional wellbeing of myself and my friends.