Note to Self, Week 3

This is not the post I expected to make as of week 3 of my experiment, but here we are.

This week, Verily laid off over 200 people—about 15% of the total workforce. I had to see some colleagues and close collaborators go. I’m not in a position to comment on the why or the how, but as I observed a generational divide in co-worker responses, I realized that I had learned some hard lessons from past layoff experiences, and thought I’d share.

*Now, a note/disclaimer/realization: I’m incredibly privileged to be in a position of not having been laid off myself, and I also realize that layoffs from high-paid tech companies, while still negatively impactful, are likely not as debilitating as layoffs from lower-wage jobs. I can’t, and don’t pretend to relate to or understand that situation, and I realize my place of privilege in that. All said, I still want to share these thoughts—they might help somebody through a hard time.

Folks who have been around the block a time or two were, like me, feeling sad for colleagues affected, thankful for our own jobs, perhaps a bit of survivor’s guilt.

What wasn’t there for me this time around was the extreme stress, guilt, and anxiety that I’ve experienced in the past.

The advice I’ve given to quite a few teammates this week is something like this:

  • It can be painful to realize, but this is part of business. Your employer, no matter whom, is at the end of the day a business and will respond to market demands. Whether or not that’s fair is totally beside the point—it’s the reality of the world we live in, so we should all realize that this can happen to any of us on any given day.
  • Take that perspective, and use it to your advantage. Be optimistic, but realistic and don’t let work become all-consuming. Remind yourself of this when you feel the need to carve out a better work-life balance.
  • Do the best job you can, and do right by the people you work with. Doing the best you can won’t always save you from a layoff, but doing right by the people you work with means that you’ll likely grow your network so that you’re more resilient when it happens.

Like I said in a Linkedin post—it’s a small world and careers are long.

Here’s a reminder to do good by people, because you never know when you’re going to work with them again, or be in a position to need help from them.

If you can, check out the post below and let me know if I can help.