If layoffs continue, will you be prepared? What are the recently released ones

People who experience layoffs work in a wide variety of positions, most of which are uncomfortable in one way or another.

Some people humbly accept help they never expected to need. Others who are financially secure fall into awkward conversations with recently unemployed friends and former colleagues who aren’t as well off. All must decide whether to jump on the first offer — avoiding the dreaded resume gap, even if it means settling for less money — or betting on the prospect of something better.

Whatever the circumstance, the loss of a job is painful and often difficult to talk about. Over the past few weeks, I have contacted over 50 people going through layoffs. Most declined to be interviewed, saying they weren’t ready to discuss something so daunting, even though they had already revealed they were #opentowork on LinkedIn.

Advertising your services to recruiters is one thing; open on a career setback is another. But several people agreed because they want others in the same place to feel like they’re in the same boat, and they argue that professional disappointments shouldn’t be ignored.

“I’m not at all ashamed to talk about it,” says Vicky Wang, 30, who was fired last month from her job as chief operating officer at a venture capital-backed tech startup. “It happens to a lot of people.”

Notable companies that have cut staff include Meta Platforms Inc., PepsiCo Inc., CNN and Morgan Stanley. The labor market remains strong by many metrics, including a 3.7% unemployment rate, and overall layoffs have not increased. Still, the wave of high-profile job cuts looks to many workers like the end of a mighty journey and a bad omen for 2023.

Employees who until recently could negotiate raises or offer competing offers may now feel lucky if they only have one job. The loss of leverage and bleak economic outlook are particularly shocking for those who have seen nothing but growth in their careers — many tech workers, for example, and the millennials who entered in the labor market after the recession of the 2000s.

Ms Wang, a member of both groups, says she accepts the possibility of her first pay cut, although several interviews with potential employers have renewed her hope for a lateral change. Living in Los Angeles, she says she will soon have to bring home a steady salary.

The high cost of living in Los Angeles is already straining Josh Simon. He says he had a base salary of $100,000, plus commission, as a sales manager at a cannabis company before he was fired in September. He says his wife, a beautician, works two part-time jobs while he looks for a new role, and his parents are contributing to help cover some of the childcare costs for his 17-month-old daughter.

For Mr. Simon, 36, the job loss marks a cruel turning point. He thought he was hitting his professional stride when he joined a new company earlier this year in a tighter job market and got a $30,000 raise.

“I locked it, man,” he says, shaking his head, in disbelief that the pay raise was so short-lived.

He learns, in the midst of a difficult job search, not to let pride keep him from having good opportunities.

“Even if you have a lot of management experience, like me, people will contact you and say, ‘Do you want to be a sales rep for me?’ I’m now at the point where I have to keep humbling myself,” he said.

Cathy Martinez is not there. She says her October layoff as a workforce development manager at a solar energy company came a year after her family moved from the Denver area to a less expensive community in the Missouri. The proceeds from their Colorado home were enough to make a large down payment—along with a 15-year mortgage—on a house near the Arkansas border. The funds also paid for the couple’s car, van and motorhome.

With little debt and manageable bills, Ms Martinez, 40, says she doesn’t necessarily have to settle for the first offer she receives. She says the downside of relocating, however, is that it might be hard to match her salary in a big city in a smaller market, and remote positions seem to be dwindling.

LinkedIn reports that 20% of U.S. job postings on its platform were remote in February, an all-time high, but that share has steadily declined to around 14%.

Ms Martinez says she and her husband, who remain employed, have a plan to cut spending further, if necessary. They could rent out their house and rent somewhere cheaper or even live in the RV.

“I hope it doesn’t happen there, but my daughter is already, like, ‘I can’t fit my Barbie dollhouse if we live in the RV,'” she says. Involving her two children, aged 10 and 7, in some financial discussions brings more comfort than anguish, she adds, as it reassures them that there is a safety net.

For Shardul Golwalkar, his safety net is more like one of those stunt airbags. At 29, he says he has no debt or dependents and, although he lives in San Francisco, he could survive unemployment for a few years. He has savings and severance pay from his former employer Patreon Inc., which helps musicians, artists and others accept money from fans. The company laid off 17% of its workforce in September.

A former marketing manager, he says he turned down two offers he thought were too low and is in the process of setting up an independent consultancy business which he would like to keep as a side business whenever the right full-time job comes along.

It’s an enviable position, he realizes, but adds that it’s important after a job loss to know your trail, no matter how long or short.

“I know my worth, and I also know that I’m not desperate for a job, so I’m not going to devalue myself,” he says.

Leave a Reply