When Rob Fishman, a former account government at a tech startup, was laid off in January, he wasn’t positive methods to discuss it.
Despite the fact that tens of hundreds of tech staff at startups like his — and at major tech companies like Google, Meta, and Microsoft (which owns LinkedIn) — have been being laid off, there was nonetheless, he mentioned, a stigma hooked up to speaking about it.
However he needed folks to know he was out there for a brand new job, so he determined to put up on LinkedIn.
Fishman wrote a lighthearted, self-deprecating post itemizing out the whole lot he did on the day he was let go (As an example, learn the e-mail that he was laid off, name his fiancé, wallow in self-pity for some time, drink a big margarita, drink one other massive margarita, edit his résumé).
The put up ended up getting greater than 40,000 views, practically 500 likes, and, most surprisingly, a bunch of affords of help from folks he’d by no means met.
“It was full and whole LinkedIn strangers. Simply fully altruistic folks. Not hiring managers,” mentioned Fishman, who mentioned he had six job interviews within the two weeks after being laid off — and all of these alternatives got here from LinkedIn.
Prior to now a number of months, as altering financial circumstances, overhiring, and inventory market drops have led to mass layoffs in tech, media, and different industries, vulnerability is having a second on LinkedIn. It’s true that, early within the pandemic, many individuals turned to LinkedIn to share tales about how lockdown was negatively impacting their jobs. For probably the most half, although, the skilled social networking website has lengthy had a repute for being a spot the place folks go to boast about their profession accomplishments, posting “hustle porn” and inspirational platitudes. Now, the tone has shifted. Persons are sharing their private layoff tales extra prominently on LinkedIn, particularly in the event that they’re tech employees.
Recode spoke with over half a dozen tech professionals who by no means repeatedly used the platform however are all of the sudden discovering it extra related for his or her skilled and even private lives. They’re utilizing LinkedIn to announce they’ve been laid off, discover out who amongst their former colleagues was additionally let go, and join with trade friends who’re sharing job leads. Importantly, they’re making use of to jobs immediately on the location.
Instantly, LinkedIn has turn into a very talked-about social media platform for tech employees throughout this financial stoop, and that’s mirrored within the numbers. Internet analytics agency SimilarWeb discovered that month-to-month site visitors to LinkedIn grew greater than 60 p.c from January 2020 to January 2023, and from December 2022 to January it went up 17 p.c. LinkedIn noticed report person engagement final quarter, and a 10 percent increase in revenue 12 months over 12 months. As of early February, 18.6 million folks have added an “open to work” inexperienced picture body to their LinkedIn profile images, up from 6 million in February final 12 months (customers first bought the choice in 2020), in keeping with LinkedIn.
“It was an unwritten assumption earlier than that job-seeking must be as personal as attainable,” mentioned Rohan Rajiv, director of product administration for careers at LinkedIn, reflecting on the temper at first of the pandemic in 2020 when a wave of Covid-related layoffs hit numerous industries. “I feel what has modified is that this has turn into extra the norm now. There’s a full destigmatization.”
The current development in layoff speak can also be a part of a seismic shift for a complete era of tech staff who’ve solely recognized abundance, perks, and seemingly limitless development of their sector. Instantly, lots of them are out of a job and realizing they need to pivot — maybe even away from tech. And for a lot of, LinkedIn is a place to begin to make that change.
Why folks need to discuss being laid off on LinkedIn
For a lot of tech professionals who as soon as not often used LinkedIn, the platform has turn into a useful place to share about their scenario, particularly after they’ve been lower off from inside work communication channels like Slack or office listservs. They’re additionally turning to the platform at a time when some trade individuals who used to construct an expert presence on Twitter appear to be using that network less.
Earlier than the present tech stoop, should you labored at a Large Tech firm or scorching startup the place job safety was excessive and money was free-flowing, you most likely didn’t really feel the necessity to put up repeatedly on LinkedIn to spice up your profession. Every little thing modified after this current wave of layoffs.
Neha Krishna labored for eight years at Google, hiring graduating PhD college students for the corporate. She mentioned she was all the time a high performer on her crew who felt well-rewarded for her work. She cherished working at Google.
“I used to be completely dwelling a dream,” Krishna instructed Recode.
Then, in late January, she was laid off together with 12,000 of her colleagues — through e mail. She was rapidly lower off from Google’s many inside communication instruments, like e mail teams and meme-sharing websites the place she may speak to her coworkers.
With out entry to these channels, Krishna didn’t have an excellent sense of who was let go and which groups have been most affected. So she went on LinkedIn, the place she noticed put up after put up of former colleagues sharing that they too had been laid off. She was stunned by the breadth of the cuts and the truth that even well-respected firm leaders had additionally misplaced their jobs.
“It’s comforting to know that you simply’re not alone, and it has nothing to do with you. It’s extra the corporate,” mentioned Krishna. “Whenever you get into that mentality, I really feel prefer it’s simpler to go and publicly announce that, ‘hey, I used to be laid off too.’”
Whereas different social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are additionally common with tech employees, Krishna and a number of other different trade professionals who not too long ago misplaced their jobs mentioned that LinkedIn gave the impression to be the place they may really community.
Many mentioned that Twitter — which famously leans snarky — didn’t really feel supportive or like a spot the place many individuals would earnestly assist one another discover jobs. On TikTok, some tech employees have been posting movies documenting their life earlier than versus after being laid off — however these movies aren’t resulting in conventional networking alternatives the way in which LinkedIn posts usually do. Krishna mentioned she makes use of TikTok and Instagram so much however sees them extra as locations for socializing with associates and leisure fairly than searching for skilled help.
Now, Krishna repeatedly posts or feedback on different folks’s updates on LinkedIn. She hasn’t discovered a brand new job but however, like many others, Krishna mentioned it’s comforting to be on LinkedIn so she will swap notes with friends, get job referrals, and even give recommendation to different tech employees who’ve additionally not too long ago been laid off. She mentioned she was pleasantly stunned that folks nonetheless working at Google discovered her on LinkedIn and supplied to refer her to different positions.
“I really consider that human beings naturally need to assist others,” mentioned Krishna. “Folks now not assume, like, ‘oh, , I’ve my job and I ought to simply keep quiet or keep put.’” LinkedIn is an area the place folks really feel it’s socially acceptable — and even inspired — to help to former colleagues.
Not everybody desires to be professionally susceptible on LinkedIn
Despite the fact that LinkedIn has turn into a spot the place individuals are extra comfy sharing, there are limits to the vulnerability folks present and what sorts of posts are profitable. Not each layoff put up will get consideration, and a few lead nowhere. And for some, the stress to put up on LinkedIn can itself turn into a serious supply of stress.
After Rob Fishman posted his LinkedIn observe about consuming margaritas and wallowing in self-pity after dropping a job, he wrote a follow-up put up concerning the upsides of sharing his layoff scenario on LinkedIn and inspired others to do the identical. That put up went viral, too.
A not too long ago laid-off tech trade peer, software program architect Robb Miller, wasn’t having the identical expertise.
Miller’s posts about being laid off — which have been additionally susceptible however extra simple and fewer humorous — didn’t entice a lot consideration. They hadn’t related him to any job leads. So he determined to touch upon Fishman’s newest put up, saying as a lot.
“I used to be being a smartass. I used to be like, ‘Yeah, that’s candy that you simply [Fishman] are yelling from an ivory tower, however the remainder of us weren’t getting this sort of traction,’” he instructed Recode.
Satirically, Miller’s touch upon Fishman’s viral put up ended up catching the eye of LinkedIn strangers who did join Miller with some job leads — so in a manner, it was one other LinkedIn layoff success story (though Miller ended up accepting a job provide shortly after from a unique lead).
However it additionally exhibits how profitable networking on Linkedin after a layoff isn’t a given. It will probably depend upon the whims of the algorithm and the way properly your put up is primed for engagement, identical to many different social media platforms.
Kayla Lazenby began utilizing LinkedIn so much a number of years in the past when she needed to transition from being a trainer to working in training expertise. She efficiently used the platform to discover a job at a startup. When she was laid off from that job round Thanksgiving final 12 months, she mentioned her layoff put up landed on the LinkedIn feed of an government at one other tech firm. Despite the fact that she didn’t know that government, they have been impressed by her resumé and ended up hiring her.
Lazenby mentioned it helped that she already had a powerful presence on LinkedIn. She was greater than only a “informal client” however as an alternative an “energetic person” who shared her story and character on the location. Her expertise exhibits how, for a lot of, sharing about being laid off on LinkedIn isn’t nearly being genuine: There’s a technique to it.
“Not one of the people who find themselves doing this are silly about the truth that they’re doing this on a public discussion board that will probably be seen by future employers,” mentioned Emily Rose McRae, a director of analysis at Gartner who leads the agency’s future of labor analysis middle. McRae mentioned she seen that the majority laid-off tech staff are cautious to not publicly slam their former employer, despite the fact that tensions have been excessive across the mass layoffs. “It’s nonetheless LinkedIn; it’s nonetheless primarily an expert community.”
Gabi Weinberg, who works half time at tech enterprise agency Atento Capital, mentioned that despite the fact that there’s much less stigma hooked up to being open for work than earlier than, he prefers to make use of LinkedIn in a extra personal capability by sending direct messages to firms he’s curious about working with.
Weinberg mentioned that should you’re not working for a big-name firm like Google or Fb, your layoff could possibly be seen as much less publicly “marketable.” He additionally mentioned he personally didn’t really feel comfy sharing as a lot publicly on the platform as some others.
“It appears extra culturally acceptable to share should you have been laid off at a giant tech firm, whereas, should you’re at a mom-and-pop or smaller firm, it’s not the identical,” he mentioned.
Different folks Recode spoke to acknowledged that the sensation of getting to put up on LinkedIn is usually a burden throughout an already demanding time.
“I feel there’s a stress constructed round LinkedIn, that you simply say you’re open to a job and should you’re not scrolling 24/7, you may miss that one put up, and also you miss a chance to use,” mentioned Lazenby, who mentioned she gave herself a day to be unhappy and ignore social media after being laid off earlier than she posted about it.
A giant query, although, is what occurs when folks get uninterested in speaking about layoffs and cease providing assist — what Gartner’s McRae referred to as “compassion fatigue.” Already, some LinkedIn customers Recode talked to complained concerning the fixed stream of unhappy information about layoffs showing on their feed on a regular basis. Or what occurs when there’s now not an financial downturn and other people discover new jobs and have much less of an incentive to make use of LinkedIn?
Whereas LinkedIn is discovering extra methods to maintain folks on its website — displaying them extra information and investing in profession influencers — it’s nonetheless a social community framed squarely round careers.
“Our imaginative and prescient has been for financial alternative. We’re not right here for the additional clicks,” mentioned LinkedIn’s Rajiv. “The best mode of enlargement could be cat movies, proper? That’s not the objective. The objective is to assist folks develop, study, and discover their subsequent job.”
Thus far, that objective appears to be figuring out properly for LinkedIn — at the least throughout this era of nice financial uncertainty in tech.