Are tech layoffs unethical?

Layoffs by Meta and Twitter: Are They Unethical?

Layoffs are companies protecting themselves from bankruptcy. Overemployment is employees protecting themselves from financial ruins. There’s nothing illegal or unethical about either – it’s just business. The future of work is all about delivering results, whether you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Joe and Jane Family Inc. Get your connections and empathy elsewhere, such as joining a community like ours.

Why Tech Companies Can’t Avoid Layoffs

Southwest Airlines has done zero layoffs in 50 years. Mind you, this is the airline industry – low margins, high fixed costs, and highly cyclical and competitive. It’s nowhere near the high-margins, low fixed costs business like tech. In fact, the biggest cost for tech is hiring and retaining talent – a variable cost. 

Tech does layoffs to save money and re-invest them in the future to fuel more growth just before the good times start again. Wall Street and investors in turn rewards CEOs and CFOs for executing this playbook. Full stop. 

Southwest’s CEO knows its reputation for not doing layoffs is a competitive advantage. They’re not doing it out of altruism. Tech CEOs know growth begets more growth – and they can always hire the best and brightest by offering more money and prestige. Being open to remote first doesn’t hurt either. 

For every person laid off at Meta or Twitter, there’s at least 20 or more outsiders willing to backfill their role at a later time.

Tech is a winner-takes-all culture

For instance, there’s Uber and Lyft at a distant second; there’s a Salesforce with HubSpot and others left for the scraps. The intense competition drives many tech CEOs to view people as replaceable – just offer them more money and RSUs – not that much different than working on Wall Street. If you’re second, you’re last. 

The truth is cash-rich companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Meta don’t need to lay people off. They do it during a bad economy to clear out overcompensated and unproductive workers, and prepare for future growth. Nothing wrong or unethical – just don’t count on your boss or co-workers to tell you a layoff is coming.

Some employers may even hand out generous severances and exit packages to protect their reputation and employee morale. They already know the cycle will repeat itself – Joe and Jane lose jobs, get interviews, land jobs, and lose jobs all over again. Maybe it’s not that bad to get laid off after all.

The Bottom Line: Layoffs are simply market forces at work. Sadly, it’s all just business. If you’re curious how layoffs are planned and executed, check out an insider’s perspective on “How Corporate Layoffs Work.”

What You Can Do About Tech Layoffs

Now you must be asking, how can a regular Joe or Jane like me get ahead of layoffs, especially when Family Inc. has fixed costs like a home mortgage, car loans, and healthcare costs.

As my college professor once said, if you can’t cut costs, then generate more revenue.” Introducing our ‘OE’ layoff protection plan, now commonly known as Overemployment. ‘OE’ is market forces at play, a counter-weight to layoffs. Again, nothing wrong or unethical – and completely legal with “at-will” employment.

 In fact, you don’t need an online course to teach you about ‘OE.’ With a little common sense, you can follow these steps and achieve financial security:

Step 1: Interview and secure remote jobs

During an economic boom, secure the highest number of remote Js (our lingo for jobs) you can tolerate. Congrats if you’ve won the race for remote jobs. If you’re just starting, where have you been? Hustle up before it’s too late. 

Step 2: Forget to quit J1 (your old job)

It’s really none of your employer’s business what you do with your time outside of getting work done and delivering on expectations..Once you’ve landed J2, just forget to quit J1. It’s that simple. If you’re concerned about background checks, read our primer on it. TLDR is no issue. 

Step 3: Keep stacking Js 

Keep adding jobs and follow the OE FIRE method to financial freedom in three to five years. Also, watch out for lifestyle creep and the lottery winner’s mindset, aka easy come, easy go with your money. 

Step 4 : Exit to financial freedom 

It’s that simple folks – just a matter of time. Be sure to read the 12 rules and 10 commandments to avoid that awkward conversation with bosses and HR. The risks of getting caught is part an ‘OE’ Family Inc. – no more riskier than relying on a single source of income to pay for your household expenses. You can be fired at any time from either scenario.

Layoffs and Overemployment: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Overemployment is a taboo – no doubt about it – but no more than layoffs when families are hurt. People who choose ‘OE’ can take back control, circumventing the one-sided moonlighting or second job policies in secret. These “rules” were put in place so you’ve to take a risk to “ask” for permission. What if you were told no? What then?

Of course, for talented workers they’ll have options. These folks will quit their employer and look for another job. Perhaps this time around, they’ll choose ‘OE’ instead of repeating the same mistake again.

In fact, super talented people have always been ‘OE’ long before the cat was let out of the bag. The mythical and highly desired 10X engineer will always have a job or two waiting in the wings. You know these people – freelancers, consultants, investors, founders, etc. 

Now the average talent (25-75th percentile – yours truly included) will have options too.  And guess what, breaking one-sided “rules” is not unethical. It does challenge some of our moral reasoning on subverting ‘authority’ and betrayal or lack of loyalty. But at-will employment is a two-way street.

If you’d like to learn more about the six factors in our moral reasoning, it’s covered in the book The Righteous Mind. TLDR: we make moral judgment emotionally, and then back it up with higher moral thinking.

Did you just got laid off from Meta or Twitter? Ready to the ‘OE’ layoff protection plan? Check out our FAQ or hire us as your personal OE journey sherpa and coach. We’re here to help.

2 comments

  1. I was impacted by the Meta layoffs yesterday; it was just my 6th month at the company. I’m still shocked from the whole thing. I have a family to take care of.

    1. I’m sorry to hear. We all have been there at one point or another. Time to OE and not let this happen to your Family Inc. again. Mark, Elon, or any other CEOs won’t care a bit.

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