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Ordinary people under layoffs in Silicon Valley: Goodbye, golden age of technology industry? | TechNews Technology News

At 1:45 in the morning, Chen Yu (pseudonym) raised his wrist and looked at his watch again, but he was not sleepy. After graduating early this year, she finally passed the interviews at Meta and entered the headquarters of Meta Silicon Valley. On the day she got the offer, she happily posted on Moments, excited about becoming a Metamate.

But shortly after starting work, the atmosphere in Silicon Valley took a turn for the worse, and Meta’s stock price plummeted until a few days ago when she saw on the news that Meta was about to lay off employees. The words “may affect thousands of people” made Chen Xuan uneasy, and the group of colleagues also exploded. They were forwarding news from various media and forums, eager to ask whether it was true or not. However, until the day before the media said that Meta was about to send out the notice, the company remained silent.

According to the news, Meta will send a notice of layoffs at 3:00 am Silicon Valley time, will there be yourself? Chen Yu was uneasy. At 5:25 in the morning, Chen Yu woke up from a light sleep. The first thing I did when I opened my eyes was to open my phone and check my mailbox. Sure enough, there was a letter from Zuckerberg to all employees lying in the unread mail: Meta laid off 11,000 people. Starting from 7:00 in the morning, every employee will receive a notification.

After reading the letter, Chen Xuan didn’t feel sleepy at all. Lie on the bed and scroll through the recruitment information of other companies, previewing what to do next if you are laid off. At 7:02, the mobile phone notified that she had received a letter from the company. She took a deep breath and opened it: “Your Role is Not Affected by Meta’s Layoff” was printed in large characters, and Chen Jue instantly felt relieved. But she also knows that 11,000 colleagues will leave the company at the same time on the same day.

Since 2022, 1,138 companies around the world have announced layoffs, affecting nearly 210,000 people. The Christmas holiday is about to start. This year, Silicon Valley will not have the joyful and relaxed atmosphere of the past. The wave of layoffs has cast a shadow over major technology companies.

(Source:layoffstracker)

Some people say that this is the torrent of the times. When you zoom in, you will see people calling for help in the torrent, some struggling to survive, and some riding the wind and waves, all the way forward against the wind. Behind every cold layoff figure, there are various stories.

When the tide goes out, I’m the one swimming naked

Like Chen Yu, Ian (pseudonym) was also a member of Meta, but he failed to “survive”. In 25 days, Ian will be on the job for a year. The team members also said to have a dinner together to celebrate, but unexpectedly, the goodbye came early. Ian’s team has 9 people and 5 people have been laid off, and the remaining 4 people may also be transferred to other departments.

“I still can’t believe it. Last week, everyone went to work together, talking and laughing, and now the whole group has dispersed.” The most stressful thing for Ian is the issue of identity. He holds an H1B work visa and was fired on behalf of 60 years after resignation. Find a new job within days. And 4 months of severance pay, one more year of work plus two weeks of salary, 6 months of medical insurance, and resignation will take effect on January 13. Although Meta’s compensation plan is more generous than many companies, it also helped Ian retain about 3 more Months of job hunting time, but the gloomy job market makes Ian feel uncertain.

On the one hand, there are too many American technology companies that have laid off employees recently, and many companies have frozen their personnel. A large number of experienced technical talents have flooded into the market, and competition has suddenly intensified. On the other hand, holidays are coming soon, and as usual, major companies are slower to recruit talents and have administrative efficiency at the end of the year, which is even more unfavorable to foreign job seekers who have residence permits and are “locked up” for 60 days.

“In 60 days, we not only need to get the offer, but also complete all the visa conversion and employment procedures. Excluding holidays and administrative time on weekdays, our time to find a job is actually very short.” Ian said. After learning that he was laid off, it was too late to be sad, and he would start scrolling on his phone non-stop, but most of the companies he wanted to work for had their personnel frozen, so he had to ask someone to introduce him, or see if there was a chance for a new venture, “My goal now is the Christmas holiday It’s safer to go ashore beforehand.”

Recently, the giants are having a hard time. After Meta layoffs, Amazon also kicked off the layoffs of 10,000 people, and announced that it will continue until next year. The first batch of layoffs targeted smart home equipment departments such as Alexa and Echo, and Daniel (pseudonym), who had been in the company for more than half a year, was the first to be affected.

Although there is no issue of Ian’s status, it still has a huge impact on Daniel’s life. After getting Amazon’s big package a few months ago, Daniel quickly proposed to his girlfriend. The two bought an apartment with a loan and bought a Tesla Model Y to replace the old car. If they work normally, the couple still have some savings after deducting the mortgage, car loan and daily expenses, and they can get by, but the sudden layoffs make them feel overwhelmed. Amazon gives the laid-off employees 60 days to change jobs internally, and the salary will be paid as usual, but if no vacancy is found after 60 days, they will be laid off. At that time, the two will have to face the problem of a broken capital chain.

“When I was looking for a job, I was hesitating between Amazon and another start-up company. Later, I felt that a big company was more stable and safer, so I chose Amazon. I didn’t expect to be laid off so soon. Now each team has to protect itself. It is not easy to find a vacancy. The pressure It’s so big.” Daniel said helplessly.

No one is safe in winter

The wave of layoffs in Silicon Valley is not only affected by employees with short qualifications or poor performance. Many company layoffs are more like indiscriminate massacres. It doesn’t matter how well you perform, no one is immune. “Our company’s layoffs are impressive or surprising. I think many people who shouldn’t be laid off are also on the list.” Leo (pseudonym), who experienced Snap’s 20% layoffs two months ago, said. “The few old employees who have been laid off have contributed a lot to the company’s business and their abilities are also very good. It should not be their turn to be laid off.”

But looking back, Leo feels that it has nothing to do with individuals. When large-scale layoffs occur, many companies do not have much energy to study the capabilities of each person, but decide whether to leave the department from the perspective of optimal efficiency. If it happens that this business is not very important to the company, it is likely to be affected. Snap cut off Leo’s entire department, from technicians to product managers, almost wiped out. Looking back on the day of layoffs, Leo’s description is: calm, quick and even cruel.

“I still remember that it was Wednesday. When I got up in the morning and saw a one-on-one call at 15 minutes, I had a bad feeling. The process was very standard. HR left me a personal mailbox to inform me of the severance plan. After reading some legal provisions, it was over. Yes. Although I have prepared for it, I still feel disappointed when the moment comes.” After the call ended, Leo received farewell letters from his colleagues one after another. He also wrote one. Just 2 minutes after he clicked to send, his mailbox account displayed locked up. Just like Thanos snapped his fingers, one by one people disappeared from the company group, and the atmosphere of “no survivors” became stronger in the Twitter layoffs later.

Since Musk announced his takeover, Twitter’s layoffs have attracted much attention. It was rumored that 75% of employees would lose their jobs. “Although 50% was announced in the end, with the automatic resignation after layoffs, it is indeed almost 75%.” Alex (pseudonym), a surviving mid-level technical manager, said, “However, many details are not exaggerated. For example, Musk called Everyone prints the code and sees the number of lines to decide whether to keep it or not.”

The actual situation is that about two weeks before layoffs, Musk transferred a group of engineers from Tesla to Twitter to randomly select people for interviews, ranging from vice presidents to engineers, and eliminated a group of people based on performance and temporarily retained a group of people. After that, the leftovers will recommend them, and the management personnel of each department and each group will be ranked according to their importance, and a list will be drawn up.

“Actually, Twitter’s layoffs did not start suddenly, but the scope was very wide, and the news was not delivered completely. About 90% of the department managers were laid off.” Alex said. Although he knew that he would not be affected, he still felt a huge impact when the layoffs started. When the tall building is about to fall, each individual is too small to resist. On Thursday afternoon, when Twitter employees received layoff notices one after another, they began to say goodbye to colleagues or friends in various Slack channels. For a while, the salute and love symbols were wiped out, but the number of people on the channel gradually decreased.

“Everyone has their own story, some who learned they were pregnant, those who are still on maternity leave, those who just bought a house with a huge mortgage, and those who just got married and wanted to invite relatives and friends to the wedding… Although we stayed, we did not have any right to make decisions, nor Not being able to fight for anything more for those who left, this feeling of powerlessness can only be understood after experiencing it.”

not only sad stories

Although many people are ups and downs, there are still some people who are not too afraid, but look forward to it, because they regard layoffs as an opportunity for a long vacation, and some people jump out of their comfort zone and find a better company. After receiving the layoff notice from Meta, Luo Yizhou (pseudonym) booked a flight ticket for his family back to China during the Spring Festival. It has been three years since the outbreak of the epidemic, and my youngest daughter is almost 2 years old. I just took this opportunity to go back to my hometown to see my parents.

When working at Meta, Luo Yizhou’s team was under a lot of pressure, and it was normal to work overtime until 9 or 10 in the evening. After being laid off, he was able to adjust his status for a while, and started again after returning to the United States after the Spring Festival. Of course, Luo Yizhou can be so easily because he has obtained a green card and has no status issues. On the other hand, he has worked for more than ten years and has enough savings for at least one or two years.

“As far as I know, many of the laid-off colleagues have been contacted by headhunters. Although the economy is not good, there are still a large number of technology companies in Silicon Valley recruiting people, and there are still many opportunities. And maybe after I finish my vacation, the economy will be over after the winter. Got better?” Luo Yizhou said with a smile. Many people who were laid off before have successfully landed. Not only is the layoff not scary, but it is like getting an extra bonus. The wave of layoffs at Snap started earlier. The laid-off employees once felt that they were unlucky. Other companies are still expanding with high salaries. Why did they lose their jobs? But looking back now, I feel that being laid off at that time was a blessing in disguise.

“There is still pressure, but not too much anxiety. There was news about the company’s layoffs in early August. It started on a forum, and then the company’s management confirmed it.” Leo recalled. “Because my department is not making any money, I guessed it might be affected. In August, when everyone was free, they were preparing for interviews with other companies.”

After the official notification on September 1, Leo immediately started the interview, and soon got offers from four companies including Uber and TikTok. At present, more than 90% of the colleagues who have left have found new companies, and some even have better treatment than Snap. “At that time, we felt that Snap’s layoffs were an isolated case, not an industry issue. We didn’t expect the economy to be so bad. Now the unemployed people are under more pressure than us, but I think as long as there is no identity problem and work experience, it is only time to keep looking. Question.” Leo is waiting to change his visa, and during this vacant period, he also tries his best to help those affected by the layoffs find new jobs.

leave no one behind

From the second quarter to the present, the wave of layoffs of technology companies in Silicon Valley has not stopped. According to statistics from the website layoffs.fyi, 42,000 technology workers were laid off in November alone. How to find a new job before the end of the year holidays is extremely challenging. Beacons are being ignited in various fields of science and technology, and hopes and opportunities are passed on from generation to generation. When I open LinkedIn, the posts about being laid off and looking for a new job are always full of strangers caring, encouraging and recommending various job opportunities. Blind, an anonymous workplace forum, not only provides browsing rights for layoffs, but will soon launch a technology recruitment section.

The Chinese community in North America is also moving. On the night when he learned that Meta would lay off employees, Victor (pseudonym), who also works in the technology industry and is the person in charge of Google’s Google community, opened five job-seeking mutual aid groups, which were full in just 2 hours and gathered more than 1,000 Chinese. There are job seekers who are still looking for jobs, and there are also a large number of engineers from talent recruitment companies. Everyone throws talent recruitment information from various companies, but several groups move back and forth. Victor realizes that a larger platform and more efficient collection and delivery of information may be needed. . “Too many people need help, messaging software messages are too short-lived and power is too scattered.”

He used community resources to pull the heads of Chinese platforms into a group, including workplace mutual aid associations, alumni associations, media platforms, etc. To Victor’s surprise, the idea of ​​cross-community mutual assistance to tide over the difficulties was echoed by hundreds of people. Everyone stood up and was willing to provide warmth in the cold winter. The number of platforms changed from 4 to 8, and from 8 to 15. Up to now, 19 platforms have joined the mutual aid operation, and its influence covers the entire North America.

In just one week, the person in charge of the mutual aid platform has held several meetings on the cloud, with the same goal: to unite the strength of the Chinese and help as many people as possible.

The job hunting and talent recruitment information was messy. Volunteers quickly created the website and LinkedIn homepage to help communicate and organize information. Regarding the most imminent visa issues, immigration lawyers were also invited to give lectures to clarify doubts. The person in charge also plans a series of job hunting lectures and activities, such as Snap, a mock interview platform for senior Google engineers, etc.

▲ Linkedin page of cross-community joint mutual aid action.

after waking up

Behind the unity of American and Chinese looking for jobs, many people wonder why this wave of layoffs is so turbulent? The technology industry has experienced a period of rapid expansion within ten years. The myth of buying a house in three years and financial freedom in ten years seems to be everywhere in Silicon Valley. Get 100 people to take charge. The employees posted a bigger package, immersed in the dream of “more money, less work, better benefits”, thinking that this is what life will look like in the future.

“It’s not so much about going to the bubble, it’s better to say that technology companies are repaying the debt they owed for unlimited expansion two years ago. Unfortunately, ordinary employees are of course the first batch of cannon fodder.” Alex said. The interviewees all talked about how they felt about being laid off, and their advice to friends in the technology industry.

  • Obtaining information is very important, regardless of the industry, company, human resources or financial situation, the sooner you know, the better.
  • Never think that you are safe and “lie down” early. In the Internet age, technology is changing with each passing day. Stay humble, continue to learn and lay a solid foundation, and have the ability to go ashore at any time.
  • Do a good job in family financial risk control and investment management, and prepare cash savings for at least half a year to a year in the worst case.
  • Let go of the halo of self-righteousness and accept the reality that you are just an ordinary employee. Try to increase your influence, actively expand your network resources, and try not to become the earliest option to be eliminated.

In the end, whether they think the wave of layoffs represents the end of the golden age of Silicon Valley’s technology industry, the above-mentioned interviewees all deny it. The economy has cycles and the industry has ups and downs. Adjustments are inevitable. Only after experiencing the pain of halved valuations and large-scale layoffs can the industry return to calmness and rationality from blind fanaticism.

After experiencing this vigorous wave of layoffs, the last golden age of the American technology industry may come to an end, but everyone believes that the storm has passed and a new era is waiting ahead. Before that, what everyone can do is to “live” with energy And wait for the opportunity.

(This article is reproduced with authorization from Pinwan; source of the first picture: Unsplash)


The article is in Chinese

Tags: Ordinary people layoffs Silicon Valley Goodbye golden age technology industry TechNews Technology News

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