- Mariana Kobayashi was laid off from LinkedIn in May 2023.
- After traveling for six months, she landed a higher-paying job at Google.
- Kobayashi said being laid off was heartbreaking, but it taught her not to make work so personal.
This is an as-told-to essay based on a conversation with Mariana Kobayashi. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I found out I was being laid off from LinkedIn in May 2023.
It was a company I’d always wanted to join, and it felt like my dream job.
Before landing my grad scheme in July 2022, I was rejected from several other roles at LinkedIn. I had other jobs in the meantime, but it all felt like my journey was leading to the tech world. I think I’d built up an image of LinkedIn as the ultimate, god-like place in the industry.
I was extremely happy there so when the layoffs came, I was shocked. I don’t watch the news, so I wasn’t up to date with the gossip; the email just landed in my inbox out of the blue.
In that one day it felt like everything changed.
At first, I was just shocked and confused as I felt like I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was doing my job properly and was really happy at the company. It felt like a part of my identity was ripped away from me because, even unconsciously, I’d built up this job as a dream, and now that was fading away.
Living in a bubble
I realized later that I’d lived in a bubble while working at LinkedIn.
I went to the gym there, I went into the office every day, my friends were all working there, and even my partner worked there at some point. It made me question who I was without my job and what success really meant. When my friends would check in on me, it felt like I had nothing to add to the conversation because I wasn’t doing this thing that made me worth it anymore.
The experience taught me not to tie my self-worth to my job like that again or get so attached to a company.
It felt like LinkedIn could have prevented the layoffs by making better hiring choices. It definitely felt like they had hired too many people after the COVID-19 pandemic and weren’t prepared for difficult economic times.
Layoffs really affect the culture of the company. Many of my friends who worked at LinkedIn and Google have also quit their jobs in the last eight months because of the low mood.
Layoffs can be an opportunity
My best advice for those who get laid off is to take it as an opportunity. Something more aligned with you will come your way eventually.
I look at myself now and am proud of everything that happened. I’ve grown two levels in my career — which wouldn’t have been possible if I had stayed at LinkedIn — my salary has almost doubled, and I’m in a company that is much more suited to me.
I decided to travel after being laid off and eventually secured a role in Google’s Dublin office.