I’m sad but relieved not to be in limbo anymore

Mary Prescott says she and her teammates preemptively said goodbye to each other last week in anticipation of Meta’s latest layoffs.
Mary Prescott

  • Mary Prescott has just been fired from Meta after the company announced it would cut 10,000 more jobs.
  • She wasn’t surprised given Meta’s “years of efficiency,” but she wished management had handled it differently.
  • “In some ways, it’s a relief to finally know what our fate is,” she says. “But at the same time, the finality of it is really sad.”

This essay as told is based on a conversation with Mary Prescott, a Meta recruiter affected by the company’s recent layoffs. It has been edited for length and clarity.

After the first wave of layoffs in November, I was very nervous. It was shocking to see how many people were affected. I fully assumed I would be fired because I had only been at Meta since the summer. We’ve been in a hiring freeze, which meant I couldn’t do much of what I was hired to do as a recruiter.

After that I definitely had survivor’s guilt. I felt terrible for everyone who got laid off after investing so much of their time and expertise into Meta. I kept asking myself: Why am I still here? Why wasn’t it me? I felt very much on edge because it seemed likely that there would be more layoffs, but we just didn’t know when. It was like being in limbo for months waiting to see what happens.

Morale has certainly been low; it’s hard to dedicate yourself, especially to long-term projects, and to be all-in if you’re afraid you might lose your job without much notice. Earlier this year, when Mark Zuckerberg announced that this would be the “year of efficiency,” we knew there would be more layoffs, so it wasn’t a total shock, but the way it was done felt very cold and corporate. We have been on the edge of our seats since that announcement, especially in terms of recruitment.

With this week’s announcement of layoffs, we had seen news articles a week ago with leaked information about upcoming layoffs, but internally, employees’ questions about it went unanswered for days until Zuckerberg’s announcement. I was pretty disappointed and frustrated with how long it took management to resolve it.

My teammates and I knew the layoffs were happening — and that they would likely affect recruiting — but we didn’t know exactly who would be affected and when, so we met this past week to say our goodbyes as a precaution.

On Tuesday evening, I texted a bunch of my colleagues about the impending layoffs. I couldn’t sleep because I knew we’d start hearing about them early in the morning in my time zone, so I was up at 4 and talked to people and tried to see what was going on.

I got an email the next morning confirming that I was fired.

The resignation is pretty good, honestly, and there was a lot of useful information in the email, but it was clearly a very impersonal, automated email. I understand you can’t make it so personal in such a large company where so many workers are affected, but I would have appreciated an email from my manager if he had this information. Unfortunately, he didn’t get any information about these layoffs either – and he was actually fired today as well.

I’m very nervous about the job search now and I really don’t know how it’s going to go. If I was looking for a recruiting job in tech a few years ago, I could probably choose. But now I would be excited to get an interview myself. There is a lot of competition for open recruitment jobs now because there aren’t many with all the hiring freezes and so many of us have been laid off in the past year. For now, I’m trying to play it smart, save money, be thrifty, and apply for unemployment in the meantime just in case.

I have already looked online today to apply for positions and in many cases there is a position posted within a day and there are already more than 100 applications, which is not typical.

I think Meta overhired within the last few years because technology boomed and we probably overhired recruiters as a result. But I think there are also larger macroeconomic factors at play beyond our control. And of course, it’s no secret that Zuckerberg and management are very focused on investing in the metaverse, but it really doesn’t bring in much revenue, so it’s a gamble they’re taking, and it looks like other areas will take a hit . result.

In some ways it’s a relief to finally know what our fate is because we’ve been on the edge of our seats in limbo knowing this is coming for a while, but at the same time it’s finally really sad . and disappointing.

My colleagues at Meta are some of the brightest, most creative thinkers I have ever worked with. Working here was a good experience, but I’m pretty happy with how it ended and how management communicated the layoffs to us.

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