Layoffs.. What now

How it has affected me and what I am doing about it.

In January of 2023, I began working for a ActiveProspect (AP), an AdTech company based in Austin, TX. The team I joined was self-described as small, but mighty - and yes we were. The company itself was midsized, about 160 people, with 4 different engineering teams.

Prior to AP, I had been working for an extremely early stage startup with one tiny engineering team, so I was excited to join a company with more structure and process. I was also excited to join a company that was already profitable and had a product that was already being used by thousands customers.

Then, in May of 2023, the company announced that it was laying off ~20% of its workforce. I was one of many effected.

Though my time at was short, I learned a lot about myself, what I want in a company, and what I want in a team. You see, I went into the role without clear understanding of "best practices" of an engineering team. I had been so used to being off in my own island of work that I didn't know what it was like to work on a team that I could learn from or lean on to produce excellent work. Everything changed and I new perspective at AP.

From day one, my engineering manager and senior made sure to take the time and provide me with the resources and context to be effective in my role. They actively sought out my feedback and made sure to include me in all conversations. I was able to learn so much from them and I am so grateful for that. I learned that it doesn't have to be a lonely job, but rather a collaborative one.

What happened?

The company was doing well, or so everyone thought. One of they key talking points from AP's leadership was transparency. We had weekly company meetings, where the CEO addressed the company and shared the company's financials. We were told that we were still profitable and that we were growing, despite us not hitting ambitious numbers. We were told that we were doing fine, until we weren't.

The company wasn't a startup. It was a self funded operation that grew organically for over a decade - but since it was doing so well in the past few years, the company took on investors for the first time in preparation to sell. The investors wanted to see growth, so the company decided to take on more debt to grow faster. The company was growing, but not fast enough. The company was profitable, but not profitable enough. The company was doing well, but not well enough.

In my opinion, or just from what I've observed, the company leadership and the new investors were not aligned on the company's vision. The company leadership wanted to continue to build organically, while the investors wanted to grow fast and sell (This was apparent in product meetings). This is not certain, but it is what I observed. When they missed Q1 numbers, the investors decided to pull the plug and cut costs. The company was not prepared for this and had to make abrupt decisions. No one from my team knew. Not my manager, not my senior, not my team. We were all caught off guard.

Looking Ahead

I am forever grateful to my team at AP and still hold great relationships with them. It is unfortunate that I am not working with them anymore, but I now have learned things that has helped me prioritize for my next role. I am looking for a company that is:

  1. Collaborative. People matter and I want to work with people who care about each other and the work they do. When goals are aligned, great things happen.

  2. Humble.

    “Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.” ― Bill Bullard

  3. Kind. Not much to say here, other than kindness is super underrated, especially these days in the tech industry.

  4. Driven. Working for a company with high pay can be great and all, but also an extreme waste of time if the people you work with are not driven to do great work. Drive requires vision, tenacity, and grit. Without it, you are paying with your time.

  5. Growth. Apart from the companies own growth trajectory, I want to work for a company that is interested in the growth of it's people as well. As the teams grow in both size and knowledge, the greater the impact it will have in it's industry. In my experience, slow and steady has always trumped fast and furious.


Being unemployed is a tough eye-opening experience. It is truly humbling to be in this position, but I am grateful for the time I had at AP and the people I met. I am grateful for the time I have now to reflect and learn. I've taken a big step back to reflect on what I want in my career and what I want in my life. I am excited for what's to come and I am excited to share my journey with you all.