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Tech Lay-offs and Putting Your Eggs in Different Baskets

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

Has anyone else been feeling discouraged by the tech lay-offs as of late? It feels like every time I glance at my LinkedIn Feed, I see that yet another friend has lost a job and that another company is announcing a round of layoffs due to the inevitable, foreseeable recession.

While, thankfully, I've never been laid off, I've worked at two companies during company-wide lay-offs, once in 2008 and later in 2020. It sucks—for everyone.

The lay-off news hits harder if you’ve been told that you’re a “family.” According to Frederic Laloux, the green model of organizations has claimed the last ten years, focused on empowerment, culture, and values. The metaphor is literally “the family.”

Unfortunately, companies tend to only buy into the family model when it works for the bottom line, asking employees to work longer, harder, and make sacrifices. It is traumatic when a company reverts to a business-only mindset during dire times (when you need to support the most). It can devastate the affected employee’s sense of identity, community, and overall wellness.

This is why we believe it’s important to get your needs met outside of work and for companies to live up to their values during the good and hard times. There is nothing wrong with being a business as long as you are transparent about what that means from the get-go.

In short, layoffs are sad, messy, and complicated. But you can have more agency to protect yourself during downtimes.

As the saying goes, if someone puts "all their eggs in one basket," they put all their effort into one thing so that, if it fails, they have no alternatives left. And while most of us do not purposefully put all our eggs in one basket, we often make "Faustian" bargains with the companies we work for. We trade most of our time, energy, and creativity in exchange for the company meeting our needs (e.g., a paycheck, belonging, purpose).

But when we hit hard times, this bargain often cracks. Companies pull back, leaving us with hurt feelings and a precarious work situation. Thankfully, with remote work, we believe you can start deconstructing where you get your needs met. Maybe you start a small side business to create a secondary income stream. Or, you start looking for ways to get involved with your local community to ensure you have friends and a sense of purpose and belonging outside work.

By putting your "eggs" in different baskets, you can protect yourself from the whims of the economy and the decisions of the c-suite around lay-offs and budget cuts. Diversifying how you get your needs met can make you more resilient to change and help you self-actualize on your own path.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Have lay-offs impacted you during your career?

  2. If so, how did you feel? How did you cope?

  3. What are ways you can be more resilient to change and economic downturns?


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