About layoffs 🌶️

Guillaume Hansali
Guillaume Hansali
About layoffs 🌶️
The trolley problem of layoffs.

Lately, my LinkedIn feed has been dominated by announces of layoffs in the gaming industry. We hear about job losses.


Jobs are not lost. They are cut. Made redundant.

Layoffs impact people. Employees and their families.
They are sad.

However, as hurtful and disruptive as they may be, they shouldn't come as a surprise.

Organizations have either too many employees or not enough. Never the right number.
Rapid expansions are always followed by contractions.
Hiring sprees are always followed by layoffs.

Is this all planned? Maybe. But that would be assuming that companies know what they're doing.

Many believe that their success and growth are the result of good strategy. A sustainable strategy. When often, it's the byproduct of industry growth and not screwing up.

As an employee, I think it's irresponsible to entrust your career to an organization.
People we call "management" are as fallible as you and I.
They make mistakes even when they're well intended.
No one wishes for the demise of their company. Only psychopaths enjoy firing staff.

The truth is that we're mostly clueless. We have no idea what we're doing.
Success is luck. Hot hands are a fallacy.
Don’t fall prey to it.


Amid so much layoff news, many people have remembered how late Satoru Iwata took a pay cut to make up for Nintendo's losses and avoid layoffs.

I don’t want to undermine the amount of leadership needed to do that and how heroic it can be perceived.

But I believe there’s something that sets Nintendo apart.

Nintendo doesn't develop games. They develop a culture. Games are a byproduct of their culture. And cultures are made of people, not numbers. Companies that really believe their culture is their biggest asset will avoid layoffs at all costs.

In contrast, companies that develop products first and foremost will always put products before people. Which category is yours?

The kingdom fights for its people. Or the people fight for their kingdom. Rarely both.

If your company is growing its headcount faster than the economy's growth, don't assume that's because it somehow found the secret sauce. Assume that there could be layoffs someday.

Are layoffs morally right? That's an ethical conundrum I'm not equipped to get into. But as long as we play the game of capitalism (and we all are when we get our paychecks), they will be a part of our reality.

Layoffs happen. Whether they result from ruthless profit maximizing or well-intended incompetence, the outcome is the same. Jobs are cut.

At the end of the day, we're accountable for our own careers.

Trust, but don't entrust.

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