I got laid off by Microsoft after 3 months of work. Now I'm scrambling for a new job to take care of my mom.

  • Tiana Watts-Porter is a 25-year-old tech recruiter who started at Microsoft in May. 
  • Watts-Porter was laid off this week, leaving her scrambling for a job so she can take care of her mom.
  • This is Watts-Porter’s story, as told to writer Fortesa Latifi. 

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Tiana Watts-Porter, a 25-year-old tech recruiter from Dallas who was laid off from Microsoft. Watts-Porter’s employment and layoff has been confirmed by Insider, and when asked for comment, Microsoft did not respond. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

I started working as a senior tech recruiter at Microsoft in May. But just four months later, I’ve already lost my job to the latest round of tech layoffs sweeping the industry

When I logged into work on Monday, I had several coworkers telling me there were layoffs and they had been affected. I immediately had a feeling that I was going to be impacted. Why would I be the exception?

As a contractor at Microsoft, I had an 18-month contract that was dependent on performance, but the layoff ended my contract more than a year early.

The thing about layoffs is that they can feel indiscriminate

You can be a great employee with exemplary performance and you can still be affected. I think companies are trying to prepare for the worst: a possible upcoming recession.

Courtesy of Tiana Watts-Porter

After the pandemic, many companies didn’t recover the way they wanted to, and one way to adjust for that is to perform layoffs. Just look at how many high-profile tech layoffs there have been this year: from Better to Tesla to Robinhood to Microsoft. It’s becoming common in our industry to get laid off. 

When I first realized that I may be laid off, I immediately called my mom and we prayed together. After an unfortunate health incident last year, I’m largely responsible for taking care of my mother and I wanted her to know that no matter what happened, she would be taken care of.

I don’t care if I have to become a delivery driver or start doing Lyft and Uber rides. I’m going to make sure my mom doesn’t go without. It helped for us to pray together. My faith in God gives me hope. I know that God is going to see me through. 

It was easier for me to find work as a Microsoft contractor than a full-time employee

It’s becoming more and more common for tech companies to rely on contractors, and as a person looking for a job, it’s often easier to find contract work than full-time work. But it’s also difficult, because you don’t have the stability and permanency of someone with a full-time position. 

I’ve even found that when I interview for full-time jobs, they see that I was a contractor in the past and are more inclined to hire me in that capacity. But it’s really difficult to be a contractor, because people don’t realize that contractors have just as much if not more experience than full-time employees.

I’m a senior tech recruiter with eight years of experience who specializes in C-suite and executive recruitment. But when layoffs come, contractors are often the first on the chopping block.

I wish people understood that no matter how many or how few people are affected by the layoffs, it changes their lives

Some people may find a new job within a week, but other people may be out of work for months. After my last few years of experience in the job market, I don’t believe in company loyalty. I stopped believing in it because I know I’m just a number to any company I work for.

In previous generations, people were told to graduate college and get a good job then work there until they retire and cash out their 401k accounts. But that’s just not how it works anymore. If companies don’t have loyalty to their employees, we shouldn’t have any loyalty to them.

I’m worried about my future, but I’m doing everything I can to make sure it’s secure

I want to get to the next opportunity as soon as possible so that my mom knows she’s taken care of. And even though I’m worried, I do find peace in knowing that God has already laid out what my future will be and He won’t lead me astray.

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