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The Human Side of Meta's Flattening: Coping with Job Loss and Uncertainty

The Human Side of Meta's Flattening: Coping with Job Loss and Uncertainty

  Facebook parent Meta, Salesforce and Amazon are among the major tech firms undertaking "flattening." The idea behind it is to return to a more agile structure more commonly seen among startups. Uncertainty surrounding job loss or future prospects can be stressful and reduce immunity, leaving individuals more prone to illness. 1. Job Loss and Uncertainty Uncertainty is one of the few unavoidable realities of life; it will always be present, particularly at work. Some thrive on its challenge while others find it overwhelming and stressful. Uncertainty can create fear and anxiety for many individuals, negatively affecting work performance as well as personal wellbeing. However, it's essential to recognize that uncertainty will always be present and accept it rather than fight it; resisting uncertainty will only heighten anxiety levels further and leave you fighting against life instead of living it! Job loss and instability are an unfortunate reality of today's job market, making job loss and instability part of everyday life for most people. Although job loss can be hard to prepare for or accept when it occurs, remembering it will happen eventually is essential. Unemployment can lead to anxiety, depression and decreased life satisfaction while underemployment or unstable jobs also contribute. No matter the cause for an unstable job situation it's essential that coping mechanisms be put in place in order to protect one's mental health and maintain your mental health as best you can. Meta parent company Facebook recently announced plans to lay off 11,000 employees, mostly middle management staffers as part of an effort to change its leadership structure. This move follows on the heels of another round of layoffs last November when CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid off 13% of his workforce citing overly aggressive hiring practices and poor economic conditions as reasons. Employees informed Business Insider that the leadership of the company has taken steps to reduce its bloated management structure in order to save money and be more efficient. For example, they have eliminated some positions and requested managers be more involved with daily operations within their teams. Furthermore, some teams were restructured so as to prioritize and streamline core priorities, such as artificial intelligence research projects, advertising sales efforts or "increasingly generative AI" that may be required for its ambitious metaverse project. While some employees are relieved that they might not lose their jobs, others worry about what the consequences of being moved to different teams or having less responsibility may bring. They fear not achieving their goals or building trust within leadership positions, not to mention how this could potentially alter their financial security. 2. Anxiety Anxiety can be defined as a feeling of unease, nervousness and tension that arises for various reasons - be they health problems, stressors or being placed into an emotionally charged environment like their home or school. Understanding its signs is vital so you can seek professional assistance if required. Anxiety disorders can lead to depression, substance use issues and other mental health problems that negatively impact physical health and making it hard to focus at work or school. Anxiety also makes people withdraw and avoid friends and family. Therefore it is crucial that anxiety disorders be properly managed so that they don't worsen over time. On Wednesday, Facebook Inc, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, made a dramatic reduction of 13 percent to its work force - an action widely known as "the flattening". The reduction was mandated by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to streamline company structure and focus on developing a new business strategy; employees have since reported harsher performance review processes as well as decreased benefits. Tech companies that prospered during the pandemic have suffered since its end, from declining online advertising revenues and slowing growth in emerging markets to competition from newcomers like TikTok. Meta has been particularly hard hit by these challenges; both its market value and profits have experienced sharp decreases since 2017. Meta has attempted to expand into the "metaverse," an online virtual world accessible through virtual reality headsets, augmented-reality glasses and smartphone apps. Unfortunately, this costly endeavor has put undue strain on Meta's finances. The Greek term meta means "with" or "beyond," and is commonly used to signal ironic or self-referential content, though its application to more serious subjects such as metaphysics can also evoke sci-fi dread and corporate doom. 3. Depression Depression is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness that affects men and women of all ages, from infants to seniors. People living with depression have trouble with concentration, difficulty remembering things, low energy, difficulty remembering dates or appointments and may become depressed about the future. Depression can negatively impact work relationships, self esteem and be a risk factor for suicide; moreover it has increased since Covid-19 pandemic caused economic downturn; losing jobs was one of the main contributors to mental health problems including anxiety or depression as they may not afford essentials such as food or shelter. Losing your job can be especially painful; no one knows for certain when or if another position will open up again. Unemployment has negative repercussions for one's mental health as well as quality of life and social support networks - in a meta-analysis of 237 cross-sectional and longitudinal studies conducted (Journal of Vocational Behavior Vol 74 No 3 2009) it found unemployed were more likely to feel distressed and less satisfied than employed (Journal of Vocational Behavior Vol 74 No 3 2009). An inability to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity can cause stress, leading to depression and other mental health problems. Thus, it's vital to recognize and manage job insecurity and uncertainty effectively; one study from Italy after the global economic crisis revealed that an individual's intolerance for ambiguity moderated its relationship between job insecurity and distress. As Meta focuses on efficiency in 2023, staff have been let go and hiring and transfer freezes imposed for certain groups. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called 2023 "The Year of Flattening." Although some employees may have expressed displeasure about these changes, others have welcomed them with open arms. 4. Stress If your job is becoming stressful, it is important to recognize that any anxiety you are feeling stems from factors that are beyond your control. There are steps you can take to lessen this strain and manage it more easily. Meta, the Facebook parent company, announced in November its restructuring process would involve the layoff of 11,000 employees in response to its struggle for profitability due to an emphasis on virtual-reality platforms and reduced ad sales. According to reports, Meta's internal reorganization dubbed "flattening" included eliminating some middle managers while asking others to transition back into individual contributor roles instead of managing others. Meta's flattening also led to performance reviews that are purportedly more stringent than in years past, as well as moving to reduce office space and benefits for certain workers as part of its initiative. Furthermore, managers at Meta have been asked to submit lists of employees whose jobs could potentially be eliminated in an effort to cut expenses according to Bloomberg reports. Morale was said to be below average at this company due to all this uncertainty, with employees on edge and anxious about upcoming changes to their work, while jokes ran rampant and made focusing on being productive nearly impossible. As a result, many questioned Meta leadership's ability to handle the changes. One anonymous worker revealed to Insider that their organization structure was too big, with incentives focused on headcount instead of trustworthiness among leaders; they expressed fear that 'Great Flattening' might thwart their plans to make one million dollars by 2026. Reality is that uncertainty is part of life and the job market, so fighting it only deepens your fear and makes things worse. Acceptance and adapting to your new normal can help make you feel less anxious and secure about the future.

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