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Layoffs and life lessons

As I’m watching the tech layoffs situation unfold, I’m confirming random but related life lessons I gathered over the decades and for which I still carry scars as reminders:

  • People and environments change slowly over time, but the revelation that things have changed happens overnight.
  • Leadership is stress tested in situations of emergency and uncertainty. One word or action can make or break a leader.
  • Trust is hard to build and easy to lose. All accumulated trust can completely disappear in the next moment (related to the above statement).
  • A company won’t love you back, but many people in your immediate surrounding will. That’s the unfortunate outcome of how our brains work—being distant from people turns them into numbers or words on a page. So, fight against that tendency as much as possible and be kind to the people around you.
  • People work and live in systems; those systems have outsized effects on people’s behaviors. Good-intentioned people will make suboptimal decisions when they’re in systems incentivizing different outcomes, and they will later try to rationalize the decisions to themselves.
  • People love consistency and actions that match words. In other words, they love integrity. People experiencing integrity feel safe and can develop rapport and trust. The lack of integrity leads to a lack of psychological safety.

Previous blog post:
Mass layoffs at Google

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