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


The meta logo.
Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

  • Mary Prescott was just fired from Meta after the company announced it would cut 10,000 more jobs.
  • She wasn’t surprised by Meta’s “year of efficiency,” but she wished the leadership had handled it differently.
  • “In a way, it’s a relief to finally know what our destiny is,” she says. “But at the same time, the finality is really sad.”

This essay is based on a conversation with Mary Prescott, a recruiter at Meta 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 that I would be fired because I’ve only been with Meta since the summer. We had a hiring freeze which meant I couldn’t do a lot of what I was hired to do as a recruiter.

After that, I definitely had surviving guilt. I felt terrible for everyone who was fired after investing a lot of time and expertise in meta. I kept asking myself: Why am I still here? Why wasn’t it me? I felt very nervous 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 was definitely low; It’s hard to devote yourself, especially to long-term projects, and to give your all when you’re afraid you might lose your job in the short term. When Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year 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 a lot cold and corporate on. Ever since that announcement, we’ve been nervous, especially with recruitment.

With the announcement of this week’s layoffs, we had seen news articles a week ago with leaked information about upcoming layoffs, but internally, employees’ questions about them went unanswered for days leading up to Zuckerberg’s announcement. I was quite disappointed and frustrated with how long it took the leadership to address this.

My teammates and I knew the layoffs were happening — and that they would likely affect hiring — but we didn’t know exactly who would be affected and when, so we met for the last week to say a precautionary goodbye.

On Tuesday evening, I texted many of my colleagues about the impending layoffs. I couldn’t sleep because I knew we would hear about it early in the morning in my time zone, so I got up at 4am and talked to people and tried to see what was going on.

The next morning I received an email confirming that I had been released.

The severance package is pretty good, to be honest, and there was a lot of helpful information in the email, but it was clearly a very impersonal, automated email. I understand that in such a large company with so many affected workers you can’t make it that personal, but I would have appreciated an email from my manager if he had this information. Unfortunately, he hasn’t received any information about these layoffs either – and he was in fact released today as well.

Mary Prescott says she and her teammates said a preemptive farewell to each other last week in anticipation of Meta’s recent layoffs.
Mary Prescott

I’m very nervous about looking for a job now and I really don’t know how it’s going to go. If I was looking for an engineering recruitment job a few years ago, I probably would have had my choice. But now I would be happy to get an interview at all. There’s a lot of competition for vacancies now because with all the hiring freezes there aren’t many and so many of us have been laid off over the past year. For now, I’m trying to be smart, save money, be frugal, and in the meantime, file for unemployment just in case.

I’m already looking for jobs online today and in many cases a job will be posted within a day and already have more than 100 applications, which is not typical.

I think Meta has been hiring over the last few years because technology was booming, and we probably hired recruiters as a result. But I think there are also larger macroeconomic factors at play that are beyond our control. And of course, it’s no secret that Zuckerberg and his leadership are very focused on investing in the metaverse, but it really doesn’t generate much revenue, so it’s a risk they’re taking and it seems other areas are taking a hit result.

In a way it’s a relief to finally know what our destiny is because we were in limbo and knew this was coming for a while, but at the same time the finality is really sad and disappointing.

My colleagues at Meta are some of the brightest and most creative minds I’ve ever worked with. Working here was a good experience, but I’m quite disappointed with how it ended and how the leadership communicated the layoffs to us.

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