Work doesn't love us

This week, Salesforce, Vimeo, and Amazon, among others, announced more layoffs (Salesforce, it’s worth noting, is still hiring despite slashing 8k roles). These are only the latest in what have been a series of back-to-back job cut announcements over the last several months.

Friends have been affected. Random LinkedIn connections have been affected. Maybe you were affected. I would honestly be surprised if a tech (or even tech-adjacent) worker told me they didn’t know someone who lost their job recently.

It’s been scary and sad and frustrating to see so many people lose their livelihoods and healthcare. And it’s pretty angering when you consider that the economic downturn isn’t even fully to blame, but rather the poor planning from execs we’ve made out to be geniuses who somehow understand the keys to success (by waking up at unreasonable hours every day or starting their mornings with 40 sips of water straight from their hand or whatever), when in actuality they too are just flawed humans who maybe made some good choices at one point but also got really lucky (and also were more likely to get funding and support in the first place because they were likely white cis het non-disabled dudes).

It’s even more angering when you think about the other options execs have to mass layoffs. Instead of upending so many peoples’ lives while rich execs keep their cushy situations, they could be doing things like: temporary pay cuts starting from the top, voluntary departures, and even furloughs that allow people to retain their health insurance coverage. I won’t pretend I know the inner workings of these companies or their financials, but I refuse to believe the least humane option is the best one.

The moral of the story is: Our jobs don’t and will never love us back.

I don’t care if your employer says the team is a “family” (actually, I do: run), or if the rhetoric right now is, “times are tough, so we all need to buckle down and work extra hard” (maintain your boundaries, honey)—your employer doesn’t have the same devotion to you that it expects you to have for it. You can “buckle down” and work more hours without extra pay, you can even like your job and find meaning in your work—but it still won’t change the fact that your employment essentially amounts to some numbers in a spreadsheet that could easily be removed at any time.

Work is work. Capitalism is going to capitalism. While most of us need jobs so we can have money and health insurance, work is only one aspect of life. And life is really fucking short.

So set your boundaries. Prioritize the parts of your life that bring you the greatest joy. Learn how to compartmentalize and manage work stress so you don’t have to live your job. Hustle culture has been tired for awhile. No more workaholics in 2023. Instead, let’s embrace hobbies, time with friends and family, and the things that round out our lives and remind us we’re not defined by our work. Let’s just be people. 🤷🏻