Twitter layoffs are likely to have an emotional impact

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The tweet were tinged with sadness, gratitude and pride as the hashtag #lovewhereyouworked was shared by hundreds of Twitter employees who had just received their pink slips.

They included a product marketer who is eight months pregnant, a creative director who has spent more than a decade in the business and the former vice-president engineer who promised to help others who need help.

“More a tweep,” a former employee tweeted Friday. “What an amazing time it was! #lovewhereyouwork was absolutely true and more. To all the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure of working with, I wish you the best, no matter which side you’re on. Twitter, you’ve been so good to me.

#TwitterLayoffs quickly became the top trending hashtag in the United States on Friday after the social media company launched mass layoffs Thursday night, cutting the company’s 7,500 employees by about half.

Behind the headlines and speculation about the future of a Twitter controlled by new chief executive Elon Musk, many people are living the stress and sadness of losing their jobs, experts say.

“Losing a job, for most people, is one of the most traumatic experiences they will have in life,” said Carl E. Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Hand Development. -work from Rutgers University. “It’s a very serious problem for people.”

Several studies show that when people find themselves unemployed, they are more likely to experience poorer health and increased stress. Depression and anxiety are common. In some cases, losing a job can lead to substance use and suicidal thoughts.

Even the stress of impending layoffs can take its toll. In a study, mass layoffs were associated with lower birth weights in babies. The effect was strongest when layoffs occurred later in a woman’s pregnancy. The effect was also seen one to four months before the layoffs were announced, apparently because people knew the job cuts were coming.

People who stay with a company after their colleagues are fired are also hurt, to research shows. The fear of being fired next and how it would affect their finances and their social and family life increases their stress. Many suffer from survivor’s guilt or a sense of failure, according to research. In addition, their workload tends to increase and they feel less independent.

A current Twitter employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, described the past day as “absolutely shocking”. They spent the night refreshing their Twitter feed to see who was fired. The employee said his workload has increased since Musk took over a week ago. The person said she was already applying for other jobs.

“I really feel for all of my co-workers who were fired, and I’m really, really sad for them,” the person said. “But I was really hoping that I was going to be part of that layoff group.”

Twitter employees might have expected the layoffs to happen, Van Horn said. (Musk has hinted at massive layoffs since taking over the company.) But, even so, layoffs often come as a shock.

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Van Horn said he would advise people not to wait too long to start looking for work. Landing the next job can often take six months or more. You want to try to take the baby steps to a new job as quickly as possible. Apply for unemployment assistance, cut unnecessary expenses (if possible), and start updating your resume once you’ve accepted the mental burden of being laid off.

“Getting the next job is a job in itself,” he said. “Some people might get lucky and get a job right away, but the job market right now is good, not great.”

While some people may see a layoff as an opportunity for a fresh start, research shows that many people who have lost their jobs struggle to find a position that matches their last salary and seniority, said Fran McKee Ryan, professor of management at the University of Nevada in Reno.

“They may end up applying for jobs for which they are overqualified, and hiring managers often view overqualified workers as a flight risk,” she said.

Our jobs are tied to our ability to survive, said David L. Blustein, a professor in the department of counseling, developmental and educational psychology at Boston College.

“If people do not have access to a safety net, whether through savings, income from family members, or government support, the period of unemployment can lead to intense anxiety about one’s ability pay his bills and maintain his standard of living,” Blustein said. .

After being laid off, ask yourself: what can I apply for? What makes me unique? And where can these skills best be applied? The unfortunate problem is that your former colleagues and teammates are also looking for the same jobs, Van Horn said.

The good news is that former Twitter employees are highly educated workers with in-demand skills, he said. It’s not like shutting down the only steel mill in a small town. Twitter has employees across the country, “and the job market is still okay,” Van Horn said.

Experts say it’s important to stress that not every layoff is a reflection of your work — especially a massive layoff like Twitter’s, which potentially halved its workforce. Future employers won’t mind.

“There is nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s not your fault,” Van Horn said. “You lost your job because the management of the company decided to go in a different direction.”

Eileen Abbott contributed to this report.

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