Break Glass In Case Of Layoff

Why contingency, not prevention, is the answer to preserve employability during the worst layoff season since 2008.

Zach Quinn

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In 2020 my then-girlfriend found herself and 30,000 other theme park workers to be a victim of a silent COVID side effect: job loss. She didn’t learn of her fate through email and she wasn’t blindsided over Zoom.

She found out from CNN.

One of the most disturbing but quite real listicles I’ve read is published now on what seems like an annual basis: “Every Company Doing Layoffs This Month.” I’m not super familiar with the finer points of the end stages of capitalism, but layoff round up pieces are probably as good a sign as any that a capitalist society is in trouble, especially given January 2024 saw a 136% increase in layoffs across industries, one of the worst layoff seasons since the 2008 recession.

For technical roles, especially at big tech firms, 2023 was a bad year; it was the first time, post-pandemic, companies were adjusting for inflated head counts they justified with post-pandemic consumer and client buying trends. Q1 of 2024 seems to be more of the same. And, like the 2023 cuts, the trends seem poised to be just as indiscriminate when it comes to how “downsizing” goes. Although the buzzier headlines are happening in an industry I have a vested interest in, publishing (being a former journalist and engineer at a publisher), with The Los Angeles times cutting 1/5th (20% for the mathematically challenged folks like myself) of editorial staff.

At least they’re retaining staff. Sports Illustrated seems to be sparing employees with the possibility of individual layoff embarrassment by exploring the possibility of shuttering operations entirely.

Button with “SOS” written.
Photo by Marcel Eberle on Unsplash

In the same breath publications and content creators are using to cover the first corporate bloodletting of the new year, corporate pundits have also been talking about what can be done to prevent layoffs. Most notably, there Alphabet (Google’s holding company)’s union has used the tech layoffs, like the nearly 2000 jobs slashed at Microsoft-owned Rockstar Games, to tout the benefits of unions for technical employees.

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Zach Quinn

Journalist—>Sr. Data Engineer; helping you target, land and excel in data-driven roles.