Personal story of a Big Tech layoff

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Last November, Jordan Gibbs came into the office for what he thought would be just a typical day at work. In a nutshell: There are meetings to go to, emails to answer, and coworkers to talk to.

Then the world stopped. Gibbs received an email telling him to let him go, effective immediately. He had four hours before he lost access to his work computer.

“I was just sitting there in shock for the first hour,” Gibbs, 31, said luck. “It’s true.”

Gibbs worked in human resources at Lyft in just four years. He was part of what he considered one of the first waves of tech layoffs last year, when the Lyft cut 13% of its staff.

Although it didn’t seem like it at the time, Gibbs now considers being fired in early November a blessing. He was allowed to start looking for a new job before the current “bloodbath” began, he said. Since the beginning of the year, more than 210 technology companies have laid off 68,000 employees (as of Friday, Jan. 27), according to Delete.fyiwhich tracks job cuts in the industry.

Not that the search process to find a new role is easy. Being fired from the job had damaged Gibbs’ self-esteem and made him feel like a failure. He is still working on those feelings.

“I have never felt more defeated in my life,” he said. “It’s embarrassing, but I define myself by what I can do for myself. When you lose that tenant of your personality, it’s like, who am I without this job?”

Layoffs are traumatic. Those affected may suffer from anxiety and depressionand theirs Self-confidence and self-esteem can plummet. Feelings of shame and worthlessness are common. And that’s before the financial stress hits. All told, this it can take years for a person to recover from job loss.

By all accounts, Gibbs exceeded his job performance metrics. He didn’t know why he was the only person on his team to be let go and grew resentful. At the same time, friends at other companies who were also laid off received more generous severance packages—Gibbs received 10 weeks’ pay and an accelerated vesting of his equity—making matters worse. to his disappointment.

Dwelling on pain and anger, he said, is easier than maintaining a positive attitude, especially when there is no specific reason why something happened to you that you can control. He also sees job losses piling up across the tech industry, complicating his search process; she lost weight because of all the stress.

“You go down a dark, disgusting rabbit hole of, ‘Why me?'” he said. “It’s death by a thousand cuts, the analogy. It became overwhelming. You really let the negative things in. “

But Gibbs says he’s a practical man with bills to pay, so he primarily recruits for a tech firm. Although he allowed himself to cry and indulge Real Housewives the day he lost his job, he started calling and filling out applications for the next one.

Over the next few days, Gibbs applied for 173 jobs. He had 42 interviews—some with multiple people—and received several rejections from positions he was interested in. she Vlogged about her process of finding a job on TikTok, raised a small community that encouraged him and held him accountable. Since he was filming his job search, he had to get up every day and work one thing.

On day 69, before his 10-week technical layoff, Gibbs received a job offer that made a comparable salary (but less in equity compensation than his previous paper) which he accepts. He no longer works for a tech company, which is fine for him.

“I am very grateful for this teaching me humility and strength,” he said in a tiktok videos about the search process.

‘Finding a job is a full-time job’

Gibbs declined to share exact numbers, but said he made well over six figures in his previous role, between his base salary and equity compensation. He knew the huge salary was a blessing, but it also limited what kind of jobs he was willing to apply for. He wants to make at least the same basic salary, because of his expenses.

“It’s very stressful to build your life on that salary and then lose that money,” he said.

Fortunately, Gibbs prioritized building his emergency savings before the layoff. He also received the severance as a lump sum, so he knew how much he was going to spend. The financial stress is not as severe for him as it is for many who face unemployment.

Still, he experienced a lot of anger familiar to anyone who loses a job. Dealing with the unemployment system in New York and COBRA health insurance made Gibbs a kinder person, he said.

“Finding a job is a full-time job. Making sure you have your health care, filing for unemployment and doing it every other week… “It’s a very scary thing. government cannot easily understand or obtain these resources.”

She also cut almost all unnecessary expenses, including her coffees, dinners, trips to the nail salon, and gym memberships, and moved back with her parents to California so she could sublet her apartment in New York. He recognized the privileged position he was in.

Gibbs’ best advice for those currently facing a layoff is to get help from family, friends, and even strangers, if you can. His parents let him live free of charge. Friends sent her $5 for coffee and a spa gift card; others took him out for dinner. A stranger on TikTok offered to send her work clothes for her interviews.

But help comes in all different forms, not just financial help. Gibbs credits some of his success in finding a new job so quickly to the words of encouragement he received from people who followed his journey.

“You know it feels like shit right now, but it’s going to be okay,” she said of a support network. “Having that little peace of mind even for a second will help you get through the next four hours of hell.”

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