Harshil Agrawal's cartoonised headshot

Layoffs got me too - And how I am dealing with it 

I am back home, visiting my family. No, it is not for the holidays. Rather it is for some family emergency. I didn't take holidays from work and had permission to work from home. It was the third day of being back home. I got a calendar invite from the VP of Product Marketing. Yes, the DevRel team is a part of Product Marketing. I got chills. I had no prior information and no clue why the call was scheduled. Usually, it gets communicated beforehand. It was a hint.

I joined the call, and there was a third person. I knew. I knew I was getting laid off. I was right. They mentioned that it wasn't for my skills. Hell, I know that! I contributed to one of the company's goals. I helped the company reach thousands and thousands of developers. I knew it wasn't my skills or my performance. They gave me a "reason" for the layoff. They explained the agreement and the next steps. I knew saying anything on the call was futile. There was nothing that I could have done but listen to what they had to say and note it down.

My first step after the call was to ensure that there were no personal files on the company machine. There were none. I had a few more things to take care of but did not get enough time. I got locked out. I knew it was over.

I texted my friends, letting them know about the layoff. One of the main reasons was to get their guidance and understand the possibilities. I am grateful that I have such wonderful friends. They immediately replied and told me about my possible next steps. If you are employed in Germany or have a German contract, below are the things you can do. Please note that this is not legal advice, and I am not a lawyer. Don't sign any agreement immediately. You might be already overwhelmed. Take some time before making any decision. If there's a Workers Council in the organization, contact them. In certain cases, they might be able to help you. Register for the Arbeitslos (Unemployment Agency). Consult a lawyer. Prepare a list of questions beforehand, and don't shy from asking anything. Take your time to process everything. You don't have to reply to everyone immediately. You don't have to talk to everyone who reaches out. Do it once you're ready.

Getting laid off is never easy. Even if you know it's not your skills or performance, you might still take it upon yourself. You might self-doubt your skills and even your career choice. I would lie if I said it didn't happen to me. Among other depressing thoughts, I started to doubt myself a little. This is where my friends and the community helped me. They helped me realize that I have the skills and I should be easy on myself. With everyone's support, I was able to process the news and was already working on my next steps. Yes, I still can't sleep well at night. Amongst the personal reasons, the layoff is also a reason. But hey, I am not sad anymore. I don't doubt my skills anymore.

With all the work that I've done over the past couple of years, I have improved my skills and gained new experiences. I have met some fantastic people and made some amazing friends. With all these, I have actively started looking for new opportunities. Some of these I found through a company's career page, while the others are from my network.

I can't thank my network enough, especially my former managers, mentors, friends, colleagues, my family, and my girlfriend. They all have supported me throughout - always asking me how they can help.

So where am I with my job hunt? I have applied to tons of companies. I am interviewing with a few of them already! I have got rejections as well. But that is not going to stop me. If you or anyone you know is hiring for a DevRel practitioner, I would be happy to chat. Here's a quick overview of my experience:

  • This year itself, I delivered 20+ talks at developer conferences and events across the globe.
  • I organized in-person developer meetups in various cities in Europe.
  • I created technical starter guides, recorded video tutorials, and authored multiple blog posts.
  • I set up processes to run booths at conferences and built fun demos for the booth.
  • I also set up processes to host developer meetups.

You can view some of the work on my website. If you want to get in touch, feel free to drop a message on LinkedIn or X (Twitter).

Last Updated: Mon Nov 27 2023