Jerry Berg decided that the best way to deal with a layoff was to make a 20 minute video ( http://bit.ly/1oouacX ) lamenting how terrible it is to be laid off after 15 years at Microsoft. I personally feel for him as I’ve been laid off twice since the 2008 financial crisis. While his emotions are understandable, putting them out there in a public video was a bad choice.
This is what I think he should have done.
- Thank Microsoft for 15 years of work. Jerry acknowledges that it was a great run but can’t resist accusing Microsoft of not placing him somewhere else or appreciating his talent. Saying “thank you but” erases the thank you.
- Thank Microsoft for severance. Many people find themselves laid off with no severance. Going on about how he will try to monetize his blogging won’t get a lot of sympathy from those who can’t afford to indulge themselves.
- Thank Microsoft for the insurance. Jerry has a special needs child, and the insurance Microsoft provided paid for his therapy. Jerry spends time lamenting what will happen instead of reading his COBRA packet that would tell him he can continue the same insurance if he pays the COBRA premiums after his paid coverage ends.
- Let the world know that a fantastic QA professional is on the market. He should have used his video to mainly emphasize that he was looking forward to his next career opportunity. While he does do that, he negates it by using the video to criticize Microsoft. Most severance agreements have non-disparagement/non-defamation clauses. His comments are treading close. Does anyone really want to tangle with Microsoft lawyers over a severance agreement?
- Use the insurance to see a counselor. When people tell me they cannot find a job, the problem often is they are not over their last job loss. A PRIVATE counseling session is the appropriate place to deal with job loss frustrations.
- Take positive steps to get a job. Instead of building his network, Jerry is blogging. At the time of this writing, Jerry Berg’s LinkedIn account had 131 connections. I wonder how many are recruiters?
- Take ownership of your own career. Microsoft does not owe anyone a career or lifetime employment. It is up to you to manage it. He is moving in the right direction by exploring iOS, Android, and open source. Forget Microsoft and move on.
I wish all the former Microsoft people the best. You will find new employment and move on.