Reduction in Force (RIF)

Pet care startup Rover lays off 41% of workforce due to COVID-19 impact

Tuesday, March 31 2020. A last minute meeting invite to a large group of people. There was no chatter I had heard of to this point that was helpful in knowing what the meeting would be about. One of our C-levels was on, looking like they had been crying recently, telling us that there was an immediate Reduction in Force and that if we were on this call, we were not part of the group that was impacted.

Not impacted. I know what they meant by that phrase but everyone at Rover was impacted. We immediately lost coworkers, teammates, friends. The departments/groups that were lucky lost around 30% of their people, the ones worse off lost nearly 100%. Being part of the IT group I was better situated that most to know the full extent of the cuts and could see the automations being run to turn down hundreds of Gsuite accounts. Posts in Slack about people having trouble accessing some system or another only to a minute later show as deactivated in Slack, a casualty of the account turn down automations.

Initially I felt shock and an immediate loss of confidence in my job during this global pandemic. I felt immediately vulnerable both personally but also for my family. What if I lost my job, maybe not today, but down the road, depending on when the economy was able to try to recover from all of this? Were my emergency funds enough that we would be okay for a while? When was the last time my wife and I sat down to discuss finances and how much we could trim back if we needed to? What about my daughter, how would this change her life, with her just turning 3 earlier this month?

Already this pandemic is being compared to The Great Depression in how it is impacting the economy and people’s lives. I can only hope there are some lasting lessons to be learned from all of this and we are wise enough to embrace them.

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