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)