With job cuts on the rise in tech, finance, and other industries, why wait to get laid off when you can go straight to hiring?
This decision, called “career amortization,” is to implement a plan B while being fully employed, especially when job cuts are imminent. This is usually done quietly – perhaps a networking call taken over lunch or taking the time to connect with old colleagues.
Some Amazon.com Inc. employees go one step further by publicly posting that they are #OpenToWork on LinkedIn while still employed by the company. It’s all there for everyone, including their bosses and the bosses’ bosses, to see.
One of these Amazonians is Kayla Look, recruitment coordinator. In an interview, Look said her anxiety was at its height when layoffs were announced in November: the holidays were approaching, she had just graduated from college the year before and was planning a wedding. Expenses and uncertainty were mounting.
The unease began when the Seattle-based company froze hiring a few weeks earlier. She thought she could relax when she survived the first round of job cuts, but when the company announced this month it would cut 18,000 jobs – instead of the 10,000 originally reported by Bloomberg and d other outlets – the sense of relief evaporated.
She knew it was time to be proactive. “It’s been two and a half months since the worry about being fired started,” she said. “I’m sick of being anxious.” Her managers don’t know any more than she does, so there’s no one to answer her questions, she said.
Amazon says it was a “difficult decision” to cut jobs.
“We do not take these decisions lightly or underestimate how they could affect the lives of those affected,” Amazon Chief Executive Andy Jassy wrote in the most recent memo. recent update on upcoming cuts, which will be particularly focused in its People Department, Experience and Technology. “We are working to support those affected and are offering packages including severance pay, transitional health insurance benefits and external job placement assistance.” Amazon declined to comment further.
When one of Look’s team managers posted that she was #OpenToWork on LinkedIn last week, it was like a green light. “She’s one of my leaders – I should follow her if she doesn’t seem confident in our chances,” she said. “Because I’m still new to the job market, I feel like if I do that, I’m not showing loyalty and therefore I’m going to get fired. But no, it reassured me on the fact that you can take care of yourself.
The banner, which LinkedIn introduced in 2020 after the Covid-19 hit, has become an increasingly common sight on the platform as layoffs ripple through the tech industry.
Although she ultimately wants to stay at Amazon, Look has sent out resumes.
Robin Ryan, who works as a career coach across the lake with the e-commerce giant and has advised many people wanting to join (or leave) the company, says she sees the posts as a kind of pushback – a way of saying “‘Hey, I can go somewhere else.’”
At Amazon, which has 1.5 million employees, the job of recruiter is demanding: “The churn there is incredible. Most of them quit, it’s a very stressful place to work,” Ryan said. Recruiters have many roles to fill, many of which are highly technical and involve extensive research and rigorous interviewing.
Those subjected to months of uncertainty are likely to feel some resentment, Ryan said. And like Look, many recruiters are entry-level professionals who don’t receive the huge salaries earned by experienced engineers. After the rent, car payment and other expenses, they often don’t have much left, which makes the prospect of losing their job all the more unnerving.
Look’s was one of more than half a dozen #OpenToWork posts from current Amazon employees viewed by Bloomberg News. Other employees, some of whom have agreed to voluntary buyouts, wrote similar messages last month.
“In this case, you’re trying to bring people into the organization, and they just kicked you out,” Ryan said.
Look hopes the waiting game will soon come to an end. “They’re supposed to start sending letters next week,” she said. “Honestly, I’m excited for this, because I’m ready to know if I’m here or not so I can move on.”
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