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This is the weekly Careers newsletter.

Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

Historically, when someone is laid off it’s something they keep to themselves, or share privately with family and close connections who may be able to help them find another opportunity.

It makes sense. Being laid off can be an emotional experience, leading to feelings of anger, sadness, fear and shame. Some people even experience physical symptoms like fatigue, weight loss or gain, and muscle pain.

However, over the past few years, the feeds of social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter have been filled with professionals sharing news that they have been laid off, and how it has personally affected them.

The past few years have normalized announcing layoffs

Evangeline Berube, vice-president of strategic accounts at employment agency Robert Half, said she spends a lot of time on LinkedIn in her role and has observed this spike in announcements.

“I think some of this is aligned to how even organizations are being very transparent about layoffs,” she said.

Just recently, Amazon announced that they would be laying off about 10,000 staff around the world, with Canadians on the list.

This came shortly after news that Facebook parent company Meta would be laying off 13 per cent of its workforce, or about 11,000 employees, and Twitter laid off roughly half of its 7,500 workers.

Ms. Berube said the pandemic also affected this trend in transparency.

“Because of all the lockdowns, people weren’t able to utilize the normal in-person networking avenues that they might have used in the past to socialize that they were looking for work, so a lot of them ended up utilizing LinkedIn,” she said. “During the pandemic, because so many people were getting laid off, it almost normalized it a little bit and so that stigma was reduced.”

Ms. Berube also said announcing a layoff publicly can present more opportunities, especially if the company you were laid off from was in the media.

People are “leveraging some of the attraction that the organization’s acknowledgment of the layoffs have given them so that they’re able to get their name out there even quicker,” she said.

LinkedIn a breeding ground for support and opportunity

On LinkedIn, people are using features like “Open to Work” – a profile badge that shows you are looking for your next opportunity – and making public posts about being laid off.

LinkedIn user, Stav Salomon, was recently laid off from Meta. She shared her family would need to leave the U.S. within a few months unless they found another visa sponsorship.

The comments were littered with support, with hundreds of people offering visa application advice and referrals for open positions, and hiring managers trying to connect.

Another LinkedIn user, Kyle Ranally, was also laid off from Meta. He shared an emotional post that serves as a reminder that behind every number of layoffs, there are real people with lives that span far beyond work.

His child was born the same day of the layoffs and was admitted to the NICU.

“I’m hoping nothing but the best for the amazing community that has formed among tragic circumstances. Keep your heads up high, and good things will come,” he wrote.

People responded with an outpouring of support, sharing similar stories and urging him to reach out to talk about job opportunities when he was ready.

This shift in the way we collectively handle layoffs could be key to helping people cope now and during the layoffs that may come during the impending recession.

What I’m reading around the web

  • What if getting your kids to school could be safe, fun and sustainable? In Barcelona, students can hop on the ‘bicibús,’ a group biking route that allows students to join in and hop off at different stops, just like a bus.
  • The RCMP recently laid charges against Yuesheng Wang, a former researcher at Hydro-Québec who has been accused of sharing trade secrets with China. It’s no surprise they’re taking action ––Canada is looking to get in on the $3-billion electric battery market.
  • If you’ve had more employees coming to you with mental-health challenges, you’re not alone. This article in the Harvard Business Review outlines how you can prepare for these conversations, set boundaries and show up in a supportive way.
  • People have been leaving Twitter and creating accounts on Mastodon, a free and open-source software for running self-hosted social networking services. Wired takes a deeper look at founder Eugen Rochko’s journey as the platform has taken off.

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