It’s an anxious time to work in tech. According to one count, more than 280,000 people were laid off from tech jobs in 2022 and the first two months of 2023.
This is scary. People have lost their livelihoods. Thousands of people in the United States on H-1B work visas, along with their families, face deportation unless they can find another job within 60 days. Diversity gains in tech have been dealt a serious blow. These layoffs have spotlighted the tenuous and unsustainable situation the US immigration system creates for foreign-born workers; the disproportionate impact of tech layoffs on women, people of color, and parents; and the still-shifting landscape of the post-pandemic economy.
Many of us have been through layoffs before, sometimes several times. My career at tech companies began in 2014, and in that time I’ve been laid off once. My colleague Ryan Donovan recently wrote about his experiences with tech startups and how to handle industry-wide layoffs, whether you recently lost your job or you’re just afraid you might.
As the discouraging headlines and meta-narrative about what the layoffs really mean continue, we thought it was worth revisiting how our core community of developers has been experiencing and coping with this ongoing reality—and exploring what sets this economic situation apart from previous dips and busts.