Staying Motivated in Trying Times

By Jamie Duncan 24 January 2023
Staying Motivated in Trying Times

According to Crunchbase, over 46,000 workers for tech companies have already lost (or will lose depending on local regulations) their jobs in the first 20 days of 2023. That number is only going to climb this year. It’s going to be a rough year for lots of our friends and peers.

At Google, we let go of approximately 12,000 people via their personal email at 530am Eastern last Friday. On Monday we had a Town Hall style meeting. This meeting has been leaked pretty much ver batim, so I’m not sharing anything new. A few of my notes from that meeting:

  • They closed the Dory (an internal tool we use to track questions and answers for meetings) at noon on Sunday. I understand this was to allow upper management time to get answers for hard questions. It also made the discussion decidely one way.
  • The premise they laid out (mostly) makes sense. We did make plans on the explosion of cloud providers in 2020 and early 2021. And hiring pipelines don’t change on a dime. As priorities had to change to fit the new reality, they realized attrition and natural selection wasn’t going to wholly solve the problem. I can’t get to 12,000 people losing their jobs with that logic. But I can get to changes that were going to be much more than standard operations.
  • The idea that payroll was a pressure on Q3 revenue was misleading at best. DUring the Q3 earnings call, they pointed out pressures on revenue as stock buybacks and aggressively paying off debt. Magically during the Town Hall, that list included payroll of 12,000 Googlers. Not buying that.

On the whole, I assume that “Corporate America” is going to bite everyone in the ass at some point in their careers. This move by Google saddened but didn’t surprise me.

So what am I doing to stay motivated as we begin 2023 with these massive headwinds?

  • Focusing on personal growth - At Google we have a generous benefit for personal development. I plan on maxing it out this year.
  • Focusing on my team & peers - In addition to the layoffs, we’re re-arranging our pre-sales teams extensively. I want to make sure my team is hitting as hard as it can as quickly as possible.
  • Getting it out in the open - This shit sucks, and I didn’t lose my job. Acknowledge the stress so you can process it. Holding on to it is never a good idea.
  • Prioritizing balance - Happily (maybe?) my personal life has a lot of stuff going on in 2023. 80 hour work weeks are going to be hard to come by for me.

I know these sounds simple. That’s because they are. It’s the stuff we should be doing in the good times and the bad times. In the bad times it’s easier to forget to do these sort of things. Living you life as a doomscroll is something we’ve all done before. I’ts not healthy on the internet or in your life. When I’m ripe to struggle, focusing on the fundamentals always helps. I can always tell when my stress is increasing when I start skipping the basics of life in favor of wrapping myself in stress to do nothing. I don’t plan on doing that in 2023.

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