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Layoffs & Survivor's Guilt

Shopify just laid off approximately 20% of its staff. A lot of fantastic people were let go.

(If you're hiring, let me know, I can put you in touch with some amazing engineers, managers, and designers!)

For those of us left behind, there's a bit of a sense of "what now?", "why wasn't I laid off too?", or "why did X get laid off instead of me (or Y)?""

One of Shopify's values is: "Thrive on Change". We famously cancelled a ton of meetings at the beginning this year.

I like to think of these events as shaking up my snow globe.

It's natural to develop a model of how our world works, and then to stop thinking about most things except the tasks at hand. We can't be re-evaluating everything from first principles all the time; models help us simplify so that we can be effective in day-to-day activities.

But sometimes our snow globe gets shaken up. Something happens that makes us re-examine some of out assumptions about our environment. Chaos Monkeys and layoffs are some events that shake up our snow globe.

If you've "survived" a layoff: you may be feeling guilty about still having a job. Survivor's guilt is real!

If you've been laid off: know that this says nothing about you as a person. You are still amazing, talented, and can make an incredible impact on the world.

I've been on both sides of this table throughout my career. There are almost never any simple answers to the "why?" questions.

All I know is that the best path forward isn't to wait first for the snow to settle. The snow never settles.

The best path forward is to enjoy a good snowfall.