“It was a gift,” Mr Pulliam said. “I don’t think the story was ever told. It’s always doom and gloom.”
But for tech workers living through their first recession, the layoffs were eye-opening. Chang had studied product design in college and had set his sights on joining a tech industry that seemed to be in recession. Being fired from Lyft has shaken that belief.
Erin Sumner, a software recruiter at Facebook’s parent company Meta, used to brag to potential employees that the company was the fastest company ever to reach a $1 trillion valuation. She said she would boost the company’s strengths, even as its shares plummeted last year and its core business, digital advertising, struggled.
When rumors of layoffs began to circulate last year, she assured colleagues that their jobs were safe, noting that the company had more than $40 billion in cash in the bank. But in November, she was one of 11,000 workers who were laid off.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Ms. Sumner, 32, who managed to land a new job as chief recruiter for a startup called DeleteMe, which aims to remove customers’ emails from search results. information. But she says she cringes every time she reads about more tech layoffs.
“I’m concerned it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Ms Sumner said. “No guarantees. I was fired from the safest company in the world.”
A similar reversal of fortune poses challenges for businesses that sell software services. Shares of industry leader Salesforce fell nearly 50% last year as sales growth slowed. The company splurged during the pandemic, buying Slack Technologies for $28 billion. It ballooned from 49,000 employees to 80,000 in two years.
In an all-hands meeting last week discussing the company’s decision to lay off 10% of its workforce, CEO Marc Benioff tried to empathize with his disgruntled employees by putting the layoffs in context.