I was just laid off from Meta. We knew more cuts were coming before Mark Zuckerberg even told us, and the way the layoffs were handled was very cold.
- Mary Prescott was just laid off from Meta after the company announced it's cutting 10,000 more jobs.
- She wasn't surprised, given Meta's "year of efficiency," but she wishes leadership had handled it differently.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Mary Prescott, a Meta recruiter affected by the company's latest layoffs. It has been edited for length and clarity.
After the first wave of layoffs in November, I was very nervous. It was shocking to see how many people were impacted. I fully assumed I'd be laid off because I'd only been at Meta since the summer. We've been in a hiring freeze, which meant I couldn't do a lot of what I was hired to do as a recruiter.
After that, I definitely had survivor's guilt. I felt horrible for everyone who was laid off after investing a lot of their time and expertise into Meta. I kept asking myself: Why am I still here? Why wasn't it me? I felt very much on edge because it seemed likely there'd be more layoffs, but we just didn't know when. It was like being in limbo for months, waiting to see what happens.
Morale has definitely been low; it's hard to dedicate yourself, especially to long-term projects, and to be all-in if you're fearful you could lose your job without much notice. Earlier in the year, when Mark Zuckerberg announced this will be the "year of efficiency," we knew there would be more layoffs, so it wasn't a total shock, but the way it was done felt very cold and corporate. We've been on the edge of our seats since that announcement, particularly in recruiting.
With this week's layoff announcement, we'd seen news articles a week ago with leaked information about layoffs coming, but internally, employees' questions about that weren't answered for days until Zuckerberg's announcement. I was pretty disappointed and frustrated with how long it took leadership to address that.
My teammates and I knew the layoffs were happening — and that they'd probably impact recruiting — but we didn't know who exactly would be affected and when, so we met in the last week to preemptively say our goodbyes.
On Tuesday night, I was texting with a lot of my colleagues about the looming layoffs. I couldn't sleep because I knew we'd start hearing about them in the early morning in my time zone, so I was up at 4 a.m. talking with folks and trying to see what was going on.
I got an email the next morning confirming I was laid off.
The severance is pretty good, honestly, and there was a lot of helpful information in the email, but clearly it was a very impersonal, automated email. I understand you can't make it that personal in such a big company with so many workers being affected, but I would have appreciated an email from my manager if he had had that information. Unfortunately, he wasn't given any information about these layoffs either — and he actually got laid off today as well.
I'm very nervous about the job search now, and I really don't know how it'll go. If I were looking for a recruitment job in tech a couple of years ago, I could probably have my pick. But now, I'd be excited to even get an interview. There's a lot of competition for open recruitment jobs now because there are not many with all of the hiring freezes, and so many of us have been laid off in the past year. For now, I'm trying to play it smart, save money, be frugal, and apply for unemployment in the meantime just in case.
I've been looking online already today to apply for positions, and in a lot of cases there's a position that's been posted within a day and there are already more than 100 applications, which is not typical.
I do think Meta overhired within the last couple of years because tech was booming, and we probably overhired recruiters as a result of that. But I think there are also larger macroeconomic factors at play beyond our control. And of course, it's no secret that Zuckerberg and leadership are very focused on investing in the metaverse, but it really doesn't make much revenue, so it's a gamble they're taking, and it seems other areas will take a hit as a result.
In some ways, it's a relief to finally know what our fate is because we've been on the edge of our seats in limbo, knowing that this is coming for a while, but at the same time, the finality of it is really sad and disappointing.
My colleagues at Meta are some of the brightest, most creative thinkers I've ever worked with. Working here was a good experience, but I'm pretty bummed with how it ended and how leadership communicated the layoffs to us.
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