I'm one of 11,000 people Meta just laid off. It was an incredibly emotional experience, but I felt Mark Zuckerberg handled it with humanity.
- On Wednesday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to lay off 13% of the company's workforce.
- One recruiter whose team was "decimated" said it's been difficult to walk away from their dream job.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with a Meta recruiter who was laid off Wednesday and spoke anonymously to protect their privacy. Their identity and employment have been verified by Insider, and their words have been edited for length and clarity.
Meta has been my dream company for a long time. I'd interviewed twice before and didn't get the job, so when they reached out late last year, I was really excited to join. To come from a family of immigrants and to work for a company that everyone knows and uses — and to get paid what we get paid — was a dream come true.
I worked as a recruiter on the business side for about a year
My team hired for the business side of all the global operations — so for Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, Oculus VR. It was one of the most organized, efficient recruiting functions I've ever worked for. The teams I supported were phenomenal; the management leadership and organization were phenomenal. It was truly a company that I wanted to stay at for a long time.
Because I work in recruiting, my job started getting impacted back in September when they basically canceled all my positions I was hiring for. My team all knew what that meant, but I think we were just waiting to see how long this was gonna last.
I'd been expecting that layoffs would come, so I had some time to emotionally prepare
A couple of weeks ago, I'd heard through the grapevine that layoffs were going to happen on Wednesday. The conversations were still really high-level at that point, but I knew someone who worked in HR who'd heard the talks. I was still hoping I wouldn't be impacted, because they obviously can't lay off everyone. But it did give me a few weeks to kind of prepare for the possibility — time to process it and kind of redo my résumé and start preparing just in case.
Every Thursday, we have an all-hands meeting with Mark Zuckerberg, and he's very transparent. He'd recently been talking about cost-cutting measures. We were told we were going to be more mission critical when it comes to hiring, and more mindful when it comes to growing and building and headcount. A lot of teams were probably too big.
He said three months ago that layoffs were a last resort, and I truly believed then — and still believe now — that he did exhaust all options to avoid layoffs.
This felt different than other layoffs I'd been through
Mark announced the layoffs in a memo this morning on our internal employee page. At 6:01 a.m. ET, I got an email to my work address.
I think tenure had a lot to do with who stayed, because the people who got to stay on my team have been there for two-plus years. Everyone on my team had exceeded their goals, so it wasn't performance-based for anyone on my specific team — that's why I'd been hoping that all of us would get to stay. But it definitely seems like it's more of a tenuous situation.
In our virtual team meeting yesterday, we all kind of said our goodbyes to each other, just in case anything happened
I work remotely but do go into the New York office sometimes. I didn't go in yesterday, but my friends who did go in said that the energy was really weird. Everyone felt like it felt like the last day; people said it was very depressing.
There's an Excel sheet that was sent over yesterday to everyone who'd worked in recruiting to add their names to stay connected and help with future job prospects. It's really nice to have that support. I've had so many people reach out already; people are reaching out to their networks. It's a loss for everyone: You're a really tight-knit group, and then half the team was decimated.
I'd been laid off before. That time, getting laid off felt completely random. I felt like there was no regard for community in a sense; there was no empathy.
At Meta, I felt like it was done really delicately and intentionally, with humanity intact and with respect for everyone. Mark has been very honest about how he kind of messed up, and I can respect someone taking accountability.
At my other company, we had a one-on-one meeting with, like, a VP of HR and a director who I didn't even know, and I was just annoyed. I actually prefer the email; I just appreciate the efficiency and transparency.
It sucks to be laid off, but I think they did everything in their power to make it as amicable as they could
I've had some people in my network reach out already and say "Send me your résumé," and I already have some interviews lined up. It's been a good lesson to always represent yourself well so that when things happen like this, people want to help you. The community around me has been phenomenal, and I'm very grateful. I've been blown away by the support from my peers.
We got a great severance package from Meta, and they're also giving laid off employees three months' access to career resources — things like résumé help, access to job boards, coaches. They really wanted to make sure everyone had support, which is nice. I know we'll stay connected — these are like lifelong friends.
My message to tech companies: Stop over-hiring
It's emotional to lose my job. It had been a very flexible job, with great pay, great medical and vision — and free therapy, which is beautiful. I was happy with the benefits but also the culture. It's a company that's obviously built around keeping people connected, but internally, it's also great at keeping employees internally connected with each other. Every system we use was well curated and built for us, by us.
The only frustration is with the layoffs. I've been recruiting for seven years and have so many friends who've been impacted in the past two years. I just wish companies would stop over-hiring, and try to take care of the people.
As a recruiter, I feel used. I get hired when there's hyper-growth, but as soon as we stop hiring, you're fired. That's emotional because it makes me really scared to recruit again, just because I don't want to give my all to a company just for the moment.
We hired some really great positions, and to just get fired as soon as things don't work out is pretty emotional, you know? Like, I just want to be valued the same way I value a company.
Editor's note: Meta did not respond to a request for comment.
Are you a current or former Meta employee with a story? Contact Grace Kay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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