Layoffs: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

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Layoffs. It’s a word we are all becoming very acquainted with here in the tech world—more for some than for others. Whether you survive a round of layoffs or become another one of the thousands of people laid off, they affect everyone. In my short 3.5 years in the tech industry, I have gone through 4 rounds of layoffs. I survived the first 3 and was unfortunately laid off in the most recent round.

There are many feelings to be spoken about on both sides: surviving a layoff and being laid off. One can lose their sense of safety and, depending upon how the company handled the layoffs, there could be a lot of anger, resentment, mistrust, etc. When you survive a layoff there could also be a layer of survivor’s guilt that can strike many people. It hit me very hard the 3rd round of layoffs I had experienced. I had only been at the company for a week and a half. I thought for sure I’d be an easy target to lay off, but no, two of my teammates who had been at the company for a while were laid off. The big thought in my mind for weeks following was “Why not me?”.

Fast forward about 8 months and my company announced another round of layoffs and unfortunately, I was one of those affected. The first thing that crossed my mind was needing to pass along all of my knowledge on the current projects to my teammates, which I did. Then I cried and I cried A TON.

I cried because I was losing the best team I had ever worked on. I cried because I was losing the best lead engineer I had ever worked with. I cried because I was losing some of the best senior and staff engineers I’d worked with because they taught me SO MUCH with tons of patience. I cried because I was losing my mentor. I cried because I was losing the first manager who ever showed interest in helping me progress my career to the next level. I lost more than just a job, a paycheck. I cried because I had lost all of those things I have just mentioned.

This post does not truly have a purpose other than for me to express my thoughts/grief and to let everyone else who has been laid off know that what they are feeling is completely okay and normal. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t search for those “why’s” because you’ll likely never get closure. Try to accept your new reality and work through the grieving process. You got this.

Note: The cover image for this blog post is brought to you from a hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in July 2022.


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