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Here comes the boot!

8 signs you’re about to get laid off

Early warnings I’ve learned to look out for after 15 whole years in tech

Dec 22, 2015 · 3 min read

I’ve weathered 2 bubble-and-burst tech tides (in 2000 and in 2008) and I’ve seen many a friend get their pink slip over the years. I’ve also personally been laid off twice. So I know how sharp the ax can be in the every-shifting plate tectonics of tech.

Of course, a layoff isn’t always bad news. Growing up, my dad made a happily balanced on-again-off-again career of working for awhile and then purposefully getting laid off so he could go paint, and repeat. And both times I got let go, it for sure opened the window to much better things. The first time (from Webmonkey a Wired Digital property a Lycos property), I got a nicely beefy severance of 6-month’s pay, which allowed me to take a much lower-paying job in the fine print world. The second time (from Friendster, remember Friendster?), my unemployment checks helped me stay afloat while I wrote a weird little book.

But still, it’s always nice to get a little warning before your worklife detonates. Here are just a few things you might want to look out for:

  1. Fresh CEO blood. At Friendster the board replaced the veteran CEO with a 20-something who rolled in driving a white Porsche SUV so new, it didn’t even have plates yet. On his first day, he used the word “ask” as a noun and bragged about how he still DJed by night. He himself didn’t last long—just long enough to cut loose a good quarter of the staff.

So there you have it. May you yourself never bear witness to any of these signs! Unless that’s exactly what you’re hoping for, in which case I wish you many happy severances!

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