Layoff diary

Documenting my process of looking for new jobs after the layoff. Or maybe doing something fun. Good luck to me!

On this page

Post-Layoff Diary

And I got an offer 🎉

Oh Yeah. I got an offer.

After almost 3 months of unemployment and many rejections, I got an offer. I consider it a good one.

I like the company. The company is a streaming platform; a portal for people to watch movies and series, focusing on Asian content, especially Korean.

I like Korean movies and series. Not all of them, but some series like The Kingdom, Reply, and many other movies.

Comparing Hollywood and Korean, of course, Hollywood will be preferred more. But in Asia, Korean is the best one.

Another interesting thing about the team is I will design for TV also. From Apple TV to Android TV, from LG, and other brands. More than 5 TVOS that I need to design for.

I like to design on big screens like TV and the web.

I remember Aadil, my ex-Carousell colleague, designed for TV also when he worked at Starhub. I would love to talk to him to understand more about designing for TVOS.

What else did I miss?

Of course, the difficulty when searching for a job and happiness when getting one offer.

As someone mentioned, rejection is common, but an offer is rare. We will get hundreds of rejections, but we need only one offer. That's all we need.

And my friend said, we usually get rejected by 10 places before getting an offer.

Talking about my job search, I think it's not that bad. Compared to stories I heard from authors who tried to publish their book for the first time, they got almost a thousand rejections before getting an acceptance from a publisher. And then the book became a bestseller.

There are so many inspirational stories like that.

I realized that in a difficult time, we have to stay positive. And better yet, enjoy the process. Things will be better.

About the compensation, if we count by the month, I got less than the previous company. But if we count by the year, I got more than the previous one. They have a 15% bonus each year and public stock (real money) rewarded for each year of working.

It's a good amount during this time when I'm unemployed, and the economy is bad.

Now when joining any company, we all need to care about their finance. Because when things happen, we are the most vulnerable ones.

I hope the company will do well this year, and no layoffs will happen. If it does happen, it will be very bad. But Tina, my design friend there, said the company is stable and they didn't over-hire in the past.

As you can see, I didn't share much from January because I was busy with Lunar New Year in Vietnam, preparing for job interviews, and settling my emotions (when being unemployed).

I felt like the time was forever. I only got one interview in one week, and the waiting time was so long, especially the waiting time after the last round with Viki. It's 2 weeks of waiting.

Those two weeks were the longest ones because it was the only company I was interviewing with. If I failed, I would need to start all over again, and it would take more than 2 months to proceed.

I was not confident while waiting. Because I didn't feel like I did a good job, even though I tried my best. And there are many other good candidates out there that they are interviewing.

It's competitive now because of the layoff. Many talented designers are unemployed. I'm just average, and many people are better than me.

That thinking made me feel anxious. But in the end, I got good news!

Another reason is that I realize many recruiters will read my sharing, and they will know that I'm interviewing in many places and my thoughts about each company, including their own.

It's both good and bad, as we can't please everyone. However, it's safer not to share it or keep it a secret for yourself only. I'll write about it when things have settled.

Many of my friends who were affected by layoffs are still interviewing, but the process is slow. They are still at the beginning stage.

I hope they get a job soon, and that their mental health remains positive during these difficult times because it's the most important thing.

And I got an offer 🎉

Post-Layoff Diary

📗 A company I'm interviewing at has conducted a layoff

Do you believe that?

Yeah, it's the truth. Anything can happen, mah.

I was in the middle of an interview process with a company and was waiting for confirmation to proceed to the next round.

I had a good feeling after the second interview, but when a week passed without any updates, I started to feel uneasy. This was unusual since the company usually responded within two days.

I decided to look up the person who sent me the initial information email on LinkedIn and was surprised to see that their profile photo had a badge #OpenToWork

Note: I decided to look up the person who sent me the initial information email on LinkedIn and was surprised to see that their profile photo had a badge


I went to the company's LinkedIn page, but I didn't see any updates about it. So, I decided to Google the company name with the keyword "layoff" and it led me to a post on Blind (an anonymous professional platform) about the company's layoffs.

They had silently laid off people.

I emailed back to the HR contact that I had been communicating with and asked my friends who had referred me there. I got the confirmation that the company had just had a round of layoffs and had changed their "hiring strategy" - they were not hiring a product designer anymore. Luckily, my friend wasn't affected.

In short, the company I was interviewing with had stopped hiring for the role I was interested in, and I now need to search for other opportunities.

Wish me luck!

📗 A company I'm interviewing at has conducted a layoff


🌱 📗 Whiteboard challenge Step-by-Step & Tips

Some companies will have a whiteboard design challenge. I will have one session next week. It will be a case studies presentation and whiteboard challenge.

So I need to prepare and practice the whiteboard challenge to master it. I've never done it before. I need to do some research. Here are what I learned.

This is a step by step guide to help you run a whiteboard challenge smoothly.

The goals of the whiteboard challenge

The whiteboard challenge's primary goal is how you approach a problem and how the candidate works with others as a designer.

What are interviewers looking for?

First, we need to know what interviewers are looking for when doing this exercise.

  • They want to see if the candidate asks questions to clarify the goal of the project or not.
  • They want to see if the candidate focuses on users and their context. Because designing an experience is always about people. The design will only be valid if we focus on the user.
  • They also want to hear your solutions' weaknesses and improvements.

Step by Step doing a whiteboard challenge

Context about the company & project

  1. How big the team
  2. Platforms
  3. What's the goal of the project?
  4. What is the hypothesis behind this project?
  5. What's benefits can we provide, or how we're different from other apps ← This is the essential question for this step

About the user

  1. Who are the different types of users? ← So we can choose one persona to do from it
  2. How are they solving their problem now without the app?
  3. With which other products will customers compare what we're creating?
  4. Is there any insights or existing research about it?

Create user flow in a story format

  1. Draw a step-by-step flow that the user takes in the app in a story format to make it easier to follow
  2. Example: "a business traveler, let's name him Mike, wants to dine at the restaurant before his flight. He looks at the menu, orders, and pays by credit card. While looking at the food status, he's checking his flight status and checking out the entertainment system."

Draw key screen wireframes

  1. Idea time.
  2. P/s: I will change the camera view to show my paper sketch. This will be how I make a difference. Because doing it on Figma is very common. But if I see someone draw on physical paper, I feel they are a pro! Because it's rare now. And I admire someone who is still doing it. BTW, I should do the same for my day-to-day activities.

Summarize the story and alternatives, improvement

  1. Presenting ideas and talking about improvement and alternative
  2. Good to talk about constraints and limitation


  • Don't work in silence. Speak out loud. The interviewers want to know your thought process; if you don't say them out loud, they won't know.
  • Write down what you talked. While asking questions, note down the main point on the board. It will give you a clearer view after the conversation. But it also shows interviewers that you're listening.
  • Don't start on the solution immediately. They are not looking for ideas. They are looking for your work process. So the ideas aren't important during this exercise.
  • Ask for a time check. It's ok if you ask an interviewer to be a time checker. Because when you're working, you usually won't pay attention to the time. But for this exercise, we work under a time constraint, so it's good to have a time checker.

Good luck!

🌱 📗 Whiteboard challenge Step-by-Step & Tips

Post-Layoff Diary
Evergreen Notes

📗 Interviewing & Rejection

Yesterday I had only one interview with a designer from a big crypto company.

The interviewer is very nice, kind, and calm. Feels like Keith, my ex-head of design. I think most designers are like that. :D

I think the interview went smoothly. It’s just that I may not be a good fit for them. They are looking for someone good at visuals. Someone willing to draw illustrations for many marketing campaigns and landing pages.

My visual sense is good. But I don’t think that job will fit me well because I want to improve my product thinking.

I told her I didn’t draw anything in the last four years at Carousell. But I forgot to mention that I drew in the past.

This is my playground, with many visual works.

I didn’t show her that to show my skills.

During the interview, she mentioned that she read my layoff diary. She’s very interested in it. And she asked why I wrote it.

When knowing someone is reading my stuff so I’m very happy, and I share my honest thoughts. I feel good. Then she said that she was sure that I would write another one after the interview, and she hoped I could write something nice about the company.

Yeah, I think so because I enjoy the conversation and know more about the company and how big it is.

After the call, the HR who talked to me asked me if I was free for a quick call.

Then she called me and asked if I could remove the company name that I mentioned in a post that I wrote.

What did I write to make a person call me and ask me to remove it? I wrote about the call with her and how weird I felt because it’s very different from other companies.

She said it’s ok to write anything about her but not the company. The company has 500M users, so things on the internet should be nice.

Did I do something wrong when writing the company's name on my website?

I’m not sure. But I respect them. So I removed it from my post as her demand. I should do that if it’s better for her and the company.

Writing the diary is just a way for me to document the process. It’s like a therapy session for me during this hard time. And I have something to tell friends in the future.

After the call, I’m sure 99% that I won’t go to the next round, because of the need for the role and what I wrote in a post about the recruiter.

OK, I will miss the chance to work on a beautiful product and work with many other designers. But it’s fine. Let’s find another chance.

Yesterday I also got an invitation for an interview. But it will be in the next 2 weeks. Quite far. People are still on holiday.

8:45 pm

Finally, I got a response from the big crypto company. Yeah, they rejected me. I ask them the reason. And they want to find someone strong in UI design.

Another rejection. Wel. It’s normal. But this status on LinkedIn helps me feel better. Just keep applying.

And I will continue documenting my job hunting in public. Some recruiters or interviewers may read my diary, and they may not be happy with it. But it’s not my problem.

Keep going!

Post-Layoff Diary

📗 Two more chats with HR, and it was good

But today, I got two chats with HR from two new companies.

Both are crypto companies, one is a startup, and one is big.

The first one is a payment and crypto startup founded in 2019. He only has one designer now, but she’s part-time. But she did everything for the product. How come? I’m wondering how she can do that. I want to talk to her.

They are a small team of around 12 engineers and one product manager. It reminds me of Leflair. The recruiter wanted to ask me for more detail on Leflair. She asked me how I felt about working at Leflair.

Their interview process is only two rounds. One round with the part-time designer. One round with the CTO. But the designer is on leave now, and she will only come back on 16 Jan 2022. The recruiter said she didn’t want to keep me on hold for long. So she will try to push me to have a talk with the CTO first.

I was shocked to know that the interview would only have two rounds.

I’m not sure it will work. Let’s see how.

On the note side, I didn’t apply for the role. The recruiter messaged me on LinkedIn, and I didn’t reply to her until she reminded me with a message yesterday.

When reading the reminder, I thought they were interested in me. That’s why I decide to have a chat.

But she shared about the opportunities, and I’m interested in them. The person they want to hire will be the only designer on the team. And they want to build up a team of designers from that. So that person will build the team from the ground up. That’s a good direction for me (If they can do that :D)

In the beginning, I thought the first one was a big company. But I was wrong, and I confused it with another company.

I like a company with a solid aesthetic standard like that. I can do it.

All I need to do now is prepare my Portfolio presentation.

Post-Layoff Diary

📗 Chat with Viki Recruiter

I had a Chat with a recruiter from Rakuten this morning. He's very nice and warm. Talking with him is very relaxing, and being listened. Unlikely other HR I talked to, they are very criticizing.

Since my ex-colleague referred me, I think I will go to the next round soon. It's just that Tina is the hiring manager, so that I won't talk to her at the next round. They will find someone else.

Oop! I wish that someone else referred me instead. But it's fine, I'll have a chance to talk to other people and can understand more about the company and culture from different perspectives.

The interview will have 4 rounds. It's long. The most challenging one is Whiteboard. I’ve never done it before. And I'm scared of it. Let's see how.

Chat with Neal is the last interview this week. There are no more interviews so far. And the companies I have chatted with haven't replied to me. Maybe tomorrow. They usually send a failed email to applicants on Friday ☺️☺️☺️

OK. It's ok. I will do better next time. I can prepare better.

Ah, I need to do an annual personal review also. To reflect on what I did and how I felt about it. Lessons are more about reflecting on experience than experiencing it.

Who said that? Feel wise!

To be more correct, the full quote is from Sahil Bloom's newsletter.

“We do not learn from experience...we learn from reflecting on experience.” ― John Dewey

Post-Layoff Diary

📗 Chat with a crypto company and ex-colleagues

I’ve had a chat with HR from a crypto company. He set up a 1-hour interview, but it only lasts 30 min.

When seeing the invite and knowing it was 1hr chat, I asked them what’s the purpose of the chat or the agenda so I could prepare for it. But they replied that it was just a casual chat, so I don’t need to prepare anything.

But during the interviewing, he asked me about my motivation for joining a crypto company and a project I worked on.

I didn’t have a good answer to those questions. I said to them that I wanted to try something different than eCommerce. But seems like it’s not convincing. He expected to see bigger motivation when joining a small team.

Well, I think I didn’t do a good job of doing homework. I’m not happy with my answer also. Because I don’t know much about the crypto industry.

I think I won’t pass this round. But it’s ok. I will find other opportunities and more experience in interviewing.

After the interview, I used ChatGPT and asked: “Why we should join the crypto industry?” The answer is surprisingly good. Here is my motivation if I want to join a crypto company:

  • Potential for high return: many people have made significant profits from it.
  • Innovation: many new ideas and new projects
  • Access to new technologies: opportunities to be at the forefront of their development

I think I have learned more from AI than from Google. ChatGPT is like my personal assistant and my mentor.

Jing Ting, one of my good friends at Carousell, sent me a job description and asked if I was interested. She has a friend and can refer me to the job.

The company name Workato. They are building automation tools for businesses like Zapier.

I’m interested in building tools. So I ask Jing to ask her friend to refer me. I hope I can get a call from HR and move to the interview process.

There are no more interviews today and tomorrow. On Thursday, I will have an interview with Viki Rakuten, the place where Tina is working.

I will have a good interview.

I will start to post more content on LinkedIn. There’s no reason not to do it now. I will get more attention from the internet. More opportunities will come.

Good luck to me, and learn from the experience. You will find a job soon.

Last night, Doreen, a researcher that got laid off, messaged me and asked me how I was doing. It’s good to talk to people who are in the same situation.

She’s applied for several jobs at Gov. Also, her position, Lead Researcher, is hard to find now. Because there are not many open positions. The higher the position, the fewer open position is, and the harder to find.

I hope she can find a job soon.

I also messaged Cheyenne, another designer who got affected. She’s still on holiday and updating her portfolio. I send me mind for references. I hope she can find it useful.

Yesterday, I also got an email from a designer that read my article. I put it here 🌱 Letter from Audience 01. She is curious about my site,

She wants to know how I can have both an article and a newsletter on the website. And she wants to refer to GovTech. But unfortunately, GovTech is only for PRs. I’m a foreigner, and not applicable.

But I’m very happy to get an email from her. Because I know someone is reading and knowing that my content is useful.

I always love to read emails from audiences like that. I hope my post will be helpful, and get more emails from strangers.

Post-Layoff Diary
Evergreen Notes

📗 Chat with a recruiter from a 3D AI Startup

Today I will have two chats with HR. I did one this morning with E. Their product is innovative. Building 3D environments with AI.

I don’t know how far they can go, but the idea and the foundation are incredible. I want to work on it. I hope they will give me a chance.

Later at 11 am, I will have another chat with Homage, a healthcare tech startup in SG. Their product is quite simple and similar to the ‘eCommerce’ style. I’m not so interested in the product idea, but I want to take all the chances.

The HR is from Australia. Do they open their business in Australia also? Maybe. But their team’s HQ is in Singapore.

As Eugene mentioned in the call, it’s the end of the year so it will take a bit long on the process. They will close the office next week and back in Jan. So the process will take longer than usual. We all know that. I shouldn’t be feeling too negative.

Post-Layoff Diary
Evergreen Notes

📗 An ex-colleague asked to refer me to a company

Today is Sunday. There’s no more reply from companies. But I have some chat next week. Around 4 chats so far. It’s good now.

Jenny, an engineer I worked with at Carousell, asked me if her husband could refer me to a company. They are hiring designers (Principals only). But they will be changing the hiring strategy. They don’t hire a senior designer now, but they’re thinking of hiring one next week.

I sent my CV to her, in case they hire, her husband will refer me!

I’m thankful for that. Jenny is one of the first engineers I worked with on Carousell. I like to work with her. And she also likes to work with me (at least I feel)!

She’s the one I know using 🌱 Obsidian. That’s why I like her more.

For this time, I appreciate help from those people. The world is so kind.

All the best, Trong. You will find a job soon! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself time.

This morning, I learned that Luan’s wife hires people to work with her. She built themes for Android. And I think she’s doing good now and need more people to work with her.

Those simple jobs like that seem easy and not attractive. But when we work for a long time, we will get ‘combining’ effect. That’s the power of persistence. That’s the power of 1% better every day.

I should do the same thing! Doing boring things in years!

Post-Layoff Diary
Evergreen Notes

📗 One chat with HR and one more invite to chatting

Today is Friday, and there is no job that is in the interview yet. Most of the meetings are with HR to introduce and career background. It’s a good start then. Coz today is only the first week for job seeking.

It’s the end of the year, the process will take longer.

I will have a call with an HR from Airwallex soon at 10:00 am. I only applied for the job yesterday, but she asked if  I had time for today’s chat. I have time, so I accepted it.

Maybe she will be on leave next week and wants to finish his job. Or maybe, they don’t have many applications and saw my profile fit their requirements. Or maybe, I’m just really a good fit for the team.

Last night, I wrote a long cover letter to, a 3D tool. I’m very excited about it. It’s a startup, but the designing tool is always my favorite thing to do.

I rarely write a cover letter. But I need to write it for this position because I want to work on that. We won’t find many companies building tools like that in Singapore. Most of them are eCommerce, fintech, edtech,…

I hope the cover letter will convince them about my skill, and I’m looking for an email reply so I can chat to know them more and help them know more about my background.

Later, I will turn that letter into an [[🌱 Evergreen notes]]. A note should be concept orientated and can reuse for different jobs. I can feel I will reuse it many more times.

Also, I will create my system for interviewing. Preparing the point that I will share with recruiters. Because I’m doing mass interviews, better to have a system.

A system will include:

  • Self-intro
  • My design process
  • My career goal
  • My expectation
  • Behavioral questions
  • Questions to ask back
  • Notes for the interview process
  • And more...

I’ve just had a chat with Lin from Airwallex. The company is big. They have around 20+ designers globally. They focus on Fintech, Fiance, and Banking.

Their co-founders are Chinese-Austrailans. In a total of five, there’s one co-founder who is head of design.

It’s very big and quite feels like Carousell and bigger.

The HR is from China, but her English is very good. She talked fast with an American accent. She will share my profile with the hiring manager to see if he’s interested.

10:40 am
I got a reply from Bifrost. He’s the one who talked to me on LinkedIn! They’ve just finished their Townhall and are quite busy. So he said to read out to me next week!

Post-Layoff Diary
Evergreen Notes

📗 Getting some replies from companies that I applied

Today I got some replies from some places that I applied: Viki Rakuten, and Coinhako.

I also applied to some new places. One place is from an ex-carousel colleague, Vir, suggested to me by Aadil. Vir is now a product manager at CakeDefi, a crypto product. I sent my CV and portfolio to him last night and got the reply this morning. I didn’t know he was a Product Manager until I spotted the signature: Vir, Product Manager.

When seeing that, I feel like: “Wow, many friends went out and now got a better position.” The grass is greener on the other side lol. It’s good for them.

Tina also a Product Designer Manager at Viki Rakuten. I worked with her on my first project when joining Carousell. She left Carousell after one year I joined and became a manager at Viki.

Yeah, again, feel like people who often change jobs, highly get promoted to better positions. Yeah yeah, the grass on the other side is always greener. Good for them.

This morning, I also apply another company called Airwallet, another crypto tech product. For this season, only Crypto companies are hiring. That’s what I feel. But the goal is to find a job, not a perfect job anyway.

OK, I’ve just got the interview invitation at Coinhaco next Tue. It’s a one-hour-long interview with two other people. I emailed back to ask for detail and the agenda of the meeting so I can prepare better.

Seems like the interview will be coming soon; many interviews will happen next week. So far, I got two, but more are coming soon. I should prepare for it.

Now, the priority is to update the slide to showcase my portfolio and experience. The website will come later.

Trong, you are a good designer. It’s just that you didn’t show off enough. Share more, you deserve a better position. You will get the job, and you will get a good offer soon!

Sometimes, an affirmation is what we need!

Post-Layoff Diary
Evergreen Notes

📗 The first official day to look for a job

Today is Wednesday. The first official day for me to look for a job.

Seems like not many companies are hiring now. It’s the end of the year, the hiring process is slower. Companies are still planning for next year. That’s why they closed some positions. For example, Grab, just last week, I was still seeing their Product Design job description on LinkedIn. But now, it closed and no longer accepts applications.

Another from Viki Rakutan. Tina said that she would send my profile to HR. But today is Wednesday, there’s no news.

Companies I talked to an HR, the one that I had a long chat about last week. He said that he would send the info and CV to their Product Lead, and it went well, he would send me the exercise on Wednesday (which is today) and arrange an interview on Friday. The assessment requires only 2 days to do. But until now, no reply from him.

Is the process slow, or am I not good enough?

No, I shouldn’t blame myself. Don’t make it bad and not useful for yourself. I’m a good designer, and I will find a job soon.

The process is just slow because it’s the end of the year. Many people are on leave, so the process is slower.

I also chatted with a Head Hunter, who wants to introduce me to a job from Viki Rakuten. Somehow, it’s the job that Tina mentioned. She asked me to ask Tina if she could represent my portfolio.

But I enjoyed the conversation with her. She shared details about the role and was quite interested in me. She also asked me if I knew anyone who was looking for a job now. I introduce her Gabriella, Nayanda, and An. They are my vertical friends who got affected by the layoff.

Ah, I also apply for some jobs on LinkedIn. Most of them are…crypto. They are hiring all the time. I didn’t have much experience with Fintech or Crypto, but I’m curious about it. So I should consider also.

One company replied just right after my submission. It’s from the Homepage. I replied with my available time. I will have a call tomorrow or Friday with HR to chat about the role.

I’ll take any opportunities anyway. Getting a job is now more important than getting a perfect job.

Post-Layoff Diary
Evergreen Notes

📗 Much support from friends and LinkedIn people

Keith, my ex-head of design, sent me a message yesterday. He sent me a Job description from Google and a job from Viki, which Tina had asked me on Instagram. Seeing Tina’s year-end party at Viki makes me feel very interested. Many companies didn’t have a Year End party this year, but Viki had. So they are quite OK in terms of finance?

I need to interview different places so that I will have choices. When I have choices, I can easily deal with people.

My post on LinkedIn got lots of attention and support from the community. I’m surprised with the post's impression on Linkedin, around 50K impressions until now. It even got the highest number of reactions of all the posts I posted on social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, IG,…)

So, I’m considering using LinkedIn as the primary platform to share my content. For both personal and Vidizai. With the content I have, I think LinkedIn will work well for me. It’s also the best time to start being more active on LinkedIn. Coz I’m unemployed anyway, none will care about why I’m so active on LinkedIn.

Post-Layoff Diary
Evergreen Notes

📗 A long one-hour call with a recruiter

This morning, I had a call with a recruiter from Neuron Mobility, it’s a company I didn’t know about until couple of days ago. That company is hiring Product Designers. They are open for 3 positions. They are expanding the Product Design and Product Management.

They only have one Product Designer now, and she will be the lead. It’s quite interesting that only she takes care of the whole product. And now she’s a lead. That is the reward of time and loyalty.

I didn’t know the detail but will find out soon.

The recruiter seems interested in me and will move forward soon. It’s just that I’m still on holiday now, and I don’t want to spend time interviewing or exercising. It’s a time for me to update my portfolio and self-reflection and take a rest. Job is secondary.

The recruiter, Raymond, is quite young and shared many things about the company. It was supposed to be 30 min only. But it lasted one hour. It’s a sign of an interesting conversation.

Tina, an ex-Carouseller, wants to refer me to Viki Rakuten also. It’s an entertainment product that Keith has worked on in the past. It’s a streaming service that focuses on Korean. Quite an interesting place to work on also.

Evergreen Notes

🌱 Goodbye letter to Carousell Product Designers

A note to send to my designer folks. We had too many good things together.

Hi guys,

It's time to say goodbye internally.

I had too many joys when working as a designer and knowing you guys. I still want to work with you more, but maybe at another place.

Thank @Keith, for giving me a second chance to get a job in SG. It was a hard time for me to find a job 4yr ago, but luckily you gave it to me.

Thank Jing for supporting me on projects at Vertical. I couldn't handle it if VX didn't have you. I think you're too kind to me also ☺

Thank Ha (and 🥦), my best Vietnamese friend here in Singapore. You helped me too much outside of work.

Thank Irene! We finally met. I hope I can meet you more. You're my traveling Influencer. You should consider doing it as your side-hustle 😊

Yo Belissa, you should share with us more secret news. Don't keep the happiness just for yourself. Share possible 😉.

Alvina, you're our treasure. I always find you whenever I doubt that with text. We can't work without you. You also have excellent persuasion skills. Perhaps you don't realize that, but you did so well to convince other people to use your copy. You're Influencer, not Peace Maker 😆

Yunzhen, I often wonder how I can be talkative like you. I can feel you can talk the whole day ☺️. Our team needs it; designers need it. We're quite shy, introvert designers. You're a perfect fit.

Thank Howie, we need more time to work together. But your advice on decision-making improves me. That's the best I have learned in the past couple months.

Thank Yuqing for all of your sharing on parenting. It's good that I have someone to talk to about parenting and kids. I would like to bring my boy to meet your daughter, Doreen's one also 👨‍👦👩‍👦

Hey Mich, thanks for passing me the phone cable 😆😆. I can't survive without it. I'm thankful that you joined Carousell and moved the aesthetic side of the app to a better version.

Ryan, and Zoe, I hope you guys found joy in the last few days. I'm thrilled to see you guys. And I realized that the Taiwanese are very tall. All of you guys can become fashion models 💃🕺

Cheyenne, and Doreen, I hope you guys are OK. It's a good time for us to rest and learn new things.

It's not the last time we see each other. I'll meet you guys soon for dinner or lunch.

Bye ✌️and see you soon!

A special thanks to Keith

Hey Keith,

I’m very sad. But I’m good now. Positively, I will have a good long break to rest first. It has been 4 years at Carousell, and it’s also a good time for me to change.

I can feel how hard it is for you to deliver the news. But don’t worry, I’m pretty optimistic. And I know you fought very hard for me.

I’ll never forget when you gave me a second chance to do the design homework during the interview with Carousell 4 years ago. It was hard to find a job in SG, but you gave me a chance. And I’m still thankful for that.

I like you, from your personality to your working style, everything. I think I have a model to aim for 😄

🌱 Goodbye letter to Carousell Product Designers


I was laid off, here are some thoughts

Well, I got laid off.

This is the first time I have left a company without intention, and it has helped me realize something.

1/ Anything can happen.

Tech seems safe and wealthy. Because it's in huge demand, and it pays well. Many of us don't think a company will lay off employees in tech.

In fact, the employee usually decides to leave, not the company. But this time is different, and none is safe.

2/ Don't feel guilty about leaving a company

I often feel guilty when looking for a new job while working. Because I think they give us many things: good benefits, salary, growth opportunities, flexibility,…

Whenever I get an offer from other companies, I feel bad about delivering the news to the manager or the team. I feel like I betray them.

But suddenly, the company laid off employees. And we have one day's notice to pack things and say goodbye to colleagues. I'm like, WTF!

Then I realized that I shouldn't feel guilty for looking for new opportunities while working. In fact, it's better to see what is outside. Just don't be attached to one company and think you're terrible if you leave them.

3/ We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react.

Getting laid off is miserable, and none wants it. And it's OK to be not OK. I can't pretend that it doesn't hurt me. It hurts.

It also hurts my ego, making me feel that I got laid off because we're not good enough.

I could choose to think that way. But I choose a different way to react to it in a way that's more useful for the current situation.

I was sad, and my ego was hurt. But I chose to think positively.

I started working in 2015. It's more than 7 years of working and no gap year after graduation, and I went straight to work. Because I don't have the luxury of living without working: no money, and the only way is to work.

I used to watch a TED talk by Stefan Sagmeister about their way of working. Every 7 years, they will take a year to rest, and that year is for them to do anything to relax and recharge energy for the comeback.

When reading that, I'm like: "Wow, really? I want to do that. But I don't have the luxury".

I still don't know why I still remember that article. But this time, I know what I should do.

It's a good time for me to take a break. Maybe not one year, but couple of months are enough. I will return to Vietnam, eat good food, meet friends and family, go to beautiful places, read books, and write. And maybe, do something fun.

At least the company gives us at least 3 months of salary for the layoff, and work pass and insurance can extend to May of next year. So I don't have to worry much about getting a new job quickly.

4/ This may be a good time to consider changing careers or doing something new.

If you're not happy with the work you're doing. It's a good time to learn something new and switch to a new career.

I could be an animation movie maker if I'm not a designer. That's what I loved when I was in school and die-hard learning it.

The comfort of my current job makes me not feel like changing and asks me to stick with it. But somehow, in the deepest part of my gut, it says something isn't right, and I need to do something to fulfill it.

I still don't know yet what that thing is. But now, I have time to reflect, dive deeper into the feeling, and find that thing.

I'm a man who lives with the gut. Many things I'm doing now lead by my gut, and I believe in it.

Tech is still the best area to be in. What comes to my mind right now is maybe I should learn more about coding or building my own product.

I'm longing to find that out.

5/ Many opportunities out there

"One door close, a new door opens."

That's what a friend told me when I met him after receiving the news. It's a bit cheesy, but it's helpful now.

Many companies in Singapore are still hiring. During this time, they prefer more senior designers, and I'm confident that I will meet their requirements.

But Singapore should be one of many places I would look for jobs. Why not other countries? Like Europe, Canada, and Newzealand.

Singapore is expensive to live in for foreigners, especially when having kids. Moving to a new country is a good option.

Another option to consider is working remotely from Vietnam. Many companies are open to working remotely. If we work in Vietnam, it would be much easier for us. We have family there, the food is cheap and delicious, good coffee also.

So I have many options and many new opportunities.

6/ What I will miss is the people I have worked with

When getting laid off from the company, I don't have time to say a proper goodbye to the people I have worked with.

On one side, I didn't have the mood to talk. Suddenly receiving bad news shuts my heart and my brain. All the thing I can think of is: Why me?

On the other side, colleagues are also sad because of the news, and it shocked them.

For more than 4 years working at Carousell, I have worked with many people. The ones I like the most are designer folks and engineers.

The design team at Carousell always makes me feel good and joyful to work. It's that place where I can show what I am, the real me. That's the group I can make silly jokes, and they all laugh. The best sign of having good colleagues is you hang out with them outside of work, and I have met and talked to them so often outside of work.

All engineers at Carousell that I have worked with are excellent, intelligent, and kind. There some engineers criticize the designs very hard. Still, they are the ones who spend extra long hours fixing tiny details that only designers care. Some people are willing to change the code just because I asked for changes.

Those people make me think the world is filled with kindness.

7/ Carousell is generous

I even got laid off from Carousell, but this company is kind, generous, and cares about people.

Before Carousell's layoff news, Gojek also laid off people. One of my friends got affected. He got one month's severance and a laptop.

When I heard about that news, I thought that Gojek was generous and even gave employees laptops to support them find new jobs.

But when I got the news, I was both sad and good.

All of the above reflections are my sad side, but the good things are:

  • They give us at least 3 months of salary for all employees and one more month for one year of service. All the unused annual leaves will be encashed. I have worked for more than 4 years and got about a 4.5-month salary.
  • They give us a laptop. At least the one I'm using is new, and I just changed it 3 months ago. I don't have to buy a new one to use.
  • They support extending the Employment Pass. I can probably extend it until May next year. It's long enough for me to stay in Singapore and find a new job.

I'm thankful for all of that.

Now it's time for me to take a break, recharge, and find new opportunities and things to do.


Trong (Pretend to be Awesome)

I was laid off, here are some thoughts