When an email to my personal account arrived advising me I was being laid off, effective immediately, I thought it was a scam or a not-funny joke. I tried to access the company’s server and found myself locked out.

I’d known layoffs might be coming, but thought I was safe. I’ve worked for my company for six years and nearly every other employer was hired after me, I thought I was safe.

Isn’t it always last in, first out?

Don’t employers even call anymore?

What does an employee have to do to be secure?

woman with hands on her face in front of a laptop
Photo by Anna Shvets on


Many employers no longer feel bound by seniority factors when making layoff decisions. For the millions of employees that switched to new jobs in 2022, this news may give them comfort. For you, it comes as a slap in the face given your longevity with your current employer.

A depressing number of employers, including Amazon, Twitter, Meta, Vox and Google, now lay off employees by mass texts and emails. These employers view it as efficient. Employees understandably view it as cold and devaluing, particularly when they’ve worked for their employer for years. Recently Alphabet, Google’s parent company, laid off twelve thousand employees including some who’d worked for the company for twenty years, by email,

Employers retain the employees they most need to survive changing marketplace and economic conditions. Given this, employees protect themselves by:

  • high performance and productivity
  • possessing employer-needed skills
  • choosing high-integrity employers that treat employees well.  

Employers that value employees exist. I’ll work on a subsequent post on how to locate them.

© 2023 Lynne Curry

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9 thoughts on “Laid Off By Email

  1. One possible reason why many employers have stopped using longevity as a factor for layoffs may be the “quiet quitting” and disengagement of employees. Another factor may be that, fair or not, employers tend to have a positive bias for employees that work on-site, and a negative bias for remote employees. I think one thing all employees should do that are interested in not being laid off is be engaged and go above and beyond. Stand out from your peers. If working remote, make sure you engage in the Teams meets, camera on, looking at the camera. Engage with people in Teams or Slack chats, use the phone sometimes. Make sure your boss knows who you are and what you’re contributing.

    1. Great points, Dee. And when you see tomorrow’s post, you’ll see me urging employees to go above and beyond and come on-site if they want to avoid layoffs.

  2. This situation demonstrates just ONE of the most despicable facts of the current working world. Allegiance, hard work, nor tenure mean anything to greedy, corporate capitalists.
    You duly mention:
    HIGH PERFORMANCE AND PRODUCTIVITY – but what you really meant was ‘giving your all, and then some, and then some more.’ Going well beyond what any other person is willing or capable of giving. All too many employers these days are not looking for ‘workers’, they’re demanding a commitment to them that exceeds any standards or norms of the past, and they want it for as cheap an investment as they can get it for. “Give me your ALL, and I won’t find someone who will give me even more than that.” is the theme of these days.
    POSSESSING EMPLOYER-NEEDED SKILLS – This stands to reason. But, again, corporate greed is such that they want more…for less. They want 100% dedicated, committed, prodigy’s who aren’t allowed to have a life because of the threat of anyone with a similar skill willing to heel to the first condition, above.
    CHOOSING HIGH-INTEGRITY EMPLOYERS THAT TREAT EMPLOYEES WELL – is like looking for that needle in the haystack. MOST employers are so wrapped in squeezing the highest profits for the lowest outlay, that integrity is a little considered concept.

    The fact is, that employees who make the effort for their employers are still often crapped on by the employers. The constant THREAT of ‘give me your best, give me ALL that I want, give me more’ – without reciprocal giving back of income, allegiance, respect and appreciation for a job consistently well done is all too prevalent in today’s working world. And the ‘mass’ and ‘(OMG) email layoffs’ are indiscriminate and are a huge part of the failure of corporations to earn the trust and respect of their employees.

    As a (now retired) former employee and employer, I shudder at the thought of the way things are being done now. I earned my way from the time I was about 15, and ‘paid my dues’ for over 55 years. I gave my all, and then some. And/but I’m glad I don’t have to be in the bitter fight for job survival of these days.

    1. Dan, I cherish your comments. These are so true to what I know from my experience, too. There just isn’t enough regard from employees and what they do.

      At the same time, another post about “quiet quitting” as a current trend also rings true. At the same time, it’s hard to stand out to an employer who mostly isn’t observant and mostly takes things for granted.

      1. We’re on the same page in most areas.
        I read about the ‘quiet quitting’ and took into consideration that many of the ‘quiet quitters’ I’ve been aware of were just reacting to the treatment they were(n’t) getting.
        Plants thrive on water, air and feeding. IMHO, there’s literally no difference between them and employees. If you don’t feed employees, or water them, or give them air, they’re going to wither. Or certainly not be willing or able to produce at properly nurtured employees will.
        It’s a simple fact that you have to be willing to pay for what you want, or you’ll get what you (didn’t) pay for.

    2. Hi, Dan, your comments will resonate with many. When I started work (at 17) I worked my heart out, and in my early 20’s moved into being the person at the top. I loved employees that gave 100% and I rewarded them. Not all employees gave one hundred percent, but I tried as an employer to take care of them as if they did. After I sold my business, I worked for an employer and realized how hard it was to be an employee. At this point, we seem to have a mess on both sides. And of course that’s part of why I write my column and these blog posts.

  3. This post shows how mass layoffs are progressing, and that employers no longer feel lots of worries about doing it by email. In these discussions of the new realities of workplace hiring and laying off, I think it should be remembered that a number of these employers USED TO BE considered great employers and great places to work–at least until whistleblower complaints about sexism and racism in the workplace started getting publicity. The message to me is that all kinds of things are changing, and that some of the things you read in the business press aren’t always quite so.

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