work life How Tech Industry Layoffs Are Redefining Career Success The current economy is changing how many people view their own identities. How Tech Industry Layoffs Are Redefining Career Success Photo by Erik S. Lesser/Newsmakers
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It wasn’t that long ago that many of the most prestigious jobs in America were found in Big Tech. The best and brightest recruits flocked to Silicon Valley to score high-paying, high-profile jobs with huge companies like Google and Meta or get in on the ground floor of a promising upstart firm.

Since the industry has been rocked by widespread job cuts, however, the current climate has forced many of those employees to rethink their definition of success. And for many of them, the answer involves leaving the tech world behind.

Dealing with reality

Whether by using their expertise as a consultant for a company far away from Silicon Valley or learning an entirely new trade to launch an entirely different career trajectory, there’s a clear trend impacting those who were once die-hard tech loyalists.

In its heyday, Big Tech could offer talented employees years of work without the threat of layoffs. According to Chris Rice, who works with a firm that helps find executive talent for tech-related firms, that era is now in the past.

“The majority of folks that have been laid off from big tech companies, they’ve been disillusioned,” he said.

Forging a new path

Take 43-year-old John Kew, for example. He worked with a Seattlle-based tech firm that was acquired by Salesforce and decided to leave earlier this year as the parent company announced impending layoffs. He’s since accepted a job at a non-tech and says peace of mind is worth the pay cut.

He said that many of those who lost their jobs “were high performers, people who I certainly respected and were doing amazing work.”

The tech industry might have trouble replacing these workers when the market rebounds — but it appears that employers everywhere else are reaping the benefits.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee April 11th, 2023
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