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Christina Gorton
Christina Gorton

Posted on • Originally published at

The Impact of Tech Layoffs: A Personal Story

According to Lisa Cron, the writer of Wired for Story, our brains relate more to specific stories than generalizations. Saying, "Over 200,000 tech workers have been laid off", doesn't leave much of an impression.

This series aims to make recent layoffs more relatable and give people a space to share their experiences.

In this interview, I had the privilege of speaking with a design professional. They shared their experiences during recent tech industry layoffs.

To protect their privacy, the interviewee has chosen to remain anonymous.


Christina: Can you introduce yourself and describe the role you had before the layoffs?

Anonymous: I worked as a designer at a big agency, overseeing design and strategy.

Initial Impact:

Christina: Can you describe the moment you found out about the layoffs? What was the news communicated to you and were there any signs or warnings leading up to it?

Anonymous: The news came during a Zoom meeting with one of our leaders and an HR representative. It was brief, with minimal information.

There were vague concerns about finances so folks did feel uncertain - but in retrospect, it seems things were much more dire than we anticipated and they could have let us know. Instead, it was always "things are getting better" - and I see that as a lie.

Professional Impact:

Non-disclosure agreement

Christina: I can imagine the impact has been significant. Can you elaborate on how the layoff has influenced your professional journey and the hurdles you've encountered in the job market?

Anonymous: The layoff has prompted me to consider leaving my field for good. One challenge I've encountered is not being able to share work details due to NDAs. It makes it hard to prove my value. I've experienced harmful work environments, so I've looked at jobs in various industries. I am exploring a transition to different roles and industries.

In my career, I've been misunderstood, faced challenges, and felt undervalued at times. While there have been frustrating experiences, I am now focused on finding a work environment that aligns better with my values.

Personal Impact:

Christina: Shifting our focus to the personal side of things, could you share how the layoff has resonated with you on a deeper, more personal level?

Anonymous: The experience has been challenging. Realizing the misalignment of values within the company was disheartening. Although I know I am skilled in my field, getting laid off can be tough. It has made me feel unappreciated and unwanted. As an older job seeker, I face anxieties when dealing with ageism and systemic inequalities.

Company Culture:

Squid games

Christina: Before we explore the broader impacts, could you paint a picture of the company culture before the layoffs and how it influenced the overall work environment?

Anonymous: The culture was somber because they could see us not having clients coming in. Our daily work continued as best as it could but the atmosphere of not knowing which of your teammates would be there the next day meant everyone was stressed out. It felt more like Hunger Games than a stable place to work. There was just a cloud over everything.

I’ve described it to friends and they thought I was describing a plot from Squid Games.

Reflection on Industry Trends:

Christina: Shifting our perspective to the industry at large, what are your thoughts on how the recent layoffs might shape the future of the tech industry?

Anonymous: The tech industry is in a significant transition, both coping economically and with the effects of AI. The industry will likely shrink and may not fully recover. The layoffs will likely make existing employees have to bear more responsibilities.

Support Systems:

Support systems

Christina: Navigating through challenging times often involves a support system. Can you share the kinds of support you've received from friends, family, or your professional network?

Anonymous: I've found support through professional associations and Slack channels tailored to minorities. Also in affinity groups that align with my experiences. Emotional support plays a crucial role during such a devastating time.

Advice for Others:

Christina: What advice would you give to others fearing layoffs in the tech industry?

Anonymous: Trust your instincts and take proactive steps if you sense potential layoffs. Emphasizing value and building internal networks is valuable. But it's also crucial to develop a plan to start interviewing as soon as concerns arise, gradually increasing your efforts.

Reflecting on this experience, it underscores the importance of advocating for more employee protections like:

  • unions
  • enhanced employee support structures
  • a reevaluation of legislation such as At-Will employment

Currently, laws lean more toward protecting companies than the workforce. These changes would contribute to a more supportive and equitable work environment.

Future Outlook:

Future outlook

Christina: Looking ahead, how do you currently envision your future within the tech industry given the recent challenges you've faced?

Anonymous: I don't see a future in tech after this experience. I'm exploring non-profits, teaching, and going back to school. I have been engaging in interviews researching alternative careers. I am stepping away from a field I once loved because I am frustrated with the toxic cultures.

It's sad to see a landscape where hard work, training, and education can be overshadowed by toxic people. These people contribute to an environment that sometimes values aggression more than collaboration. I am using my frustration to motivate me to find a job that matches my values and promotes a better work environment.

Christina: As we wrap up, is there any additional insight or perspective you'd like to share about your journey or the wider implications of layoffs in the tech sector?

Anonymous: Over the next few months, I want to do three things. First, I want to find volunteer opportunities. Second, I want to read more to improve my professional skills. And finally, I want to find companies that appreciate their employees.

I have a few hobbies I want to develop. It will keep me motivated during the job hunt. Employers assume we all have Etsy stores in our spare time!

Christina: What is your ideal next role?

Anonymous: For my ideal next role, I want to focus on finding a position where I can work with respectful coworkers. I want a job that aligns with my skills and doesn't cause stress or discomfort that could lead to PTSD. My mental well-being is a top priority.

Closing Thoughts:


Christina: Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experience or the broader impact of layoffs in the tech industry?

Anonymous: Advocate for humane layoff approaches. Layoffs are inevitable. But it's essential to deliver tough messages with empathy. Those involved in layoffs should undergo communications training.

Leadership should convey a simple, compassionate message:
"This is challenging, but today, we have to lay you off. We recognize this is traumatic. The team values your remarkable contributions, such as your work on 'Name of Product.' You have a bright future, and we appreciate your hard work across projects. Thank you for being part of the Company; we believe any company will be lucky to have you."

This isn't complicated but is crucial. Without improved layoff practices, companies risk being undesirable workplaces.

Christina: What message would you like to convey to your former colleagues or those facing similar situations?

Anonymous: You'll understand how brutal a layoff can be when it happens to you. I hope you'll be ready.


This interview focuses on the impact of tech layoffs with an emphasis on workplace dynamics and employee well-being. We need to work together to make positive changes and create work environments that focus on empathy, respect, and open communication.

If you've experienced a tech transition or a layoff and have a story to share, you can be part of the "Tech Transitions: Navigating Layoffs, Sharing Stories" blog series.

If you're interested in being part of this series, please comment below or send me a direct message.

Your voice is important, and together, we can bring a human touch to the broader narrative of tech industry transitions.

Top comments (2)

rikosintie profile image
Michael Hubbard

Getting rif'd is traumatic. Publicly traded companies are never going to be empathetic about it. Wall Street doesn't work that way.

The best plan is to network, network and network while you are employed. People in your network are always the best way to find a new position.

Create a github account and publish on a regular schedule, join and attend even if only virtually.

Attend conferences if you can afford it or the company will pay. The "Hallway track" is a good way to meet new people.

Read financial websites and pay attention to the analysis of you industry/company.

And finally, understand that you are a resource. The company is NOT your family and DOES NOT have your best interest in mind.

Use this to create your github profile.

emmascript profile image

Thank you for providing a platform to share experiences regarding the impact of layoffs in the tech sector.

I've always believed that layoffs are complicated. In fact, many of us struggle to cope with them effectively. However, the way layoffs are handled can significantly mitigate their negative impact.

From my perspective, layoffs should be approached with objectivity, respect, and consistency. Clearly articulating the reasons objectively is crucial but not sufficient on its own. Maintaining empathetic communication and active listening is also essential but not sufficient on its own, too. That's why your point about the importance of "communication training" is crucial, emphasizing the need to learn how to navigate difficult conversations, such as those related to dismissals.

In the dynamic world of technology, layoffs should not be seen as the end but rather as a transition to new horizons.

I hope that every professional finds their path and the right place at the appropriate moment in their lives. To all those who have gone through this process, I extend my best wishes for the future. Let's continue reading and sharing our experiences to build a more compassionate and resilient work environment together.