What I learned from getting fired at Facebook (with Q&A).


Hey, TechLead here, and welcome back to another episode of the ex-Google, ex-Facebook TechLead. We are in New York today. And I wanted to talk today about some of my learnings in getting fired from Facebook, kind of follow up on my last video and first of all, also, I want to thank everybody for all of your kind words, you know, I have never been fired in my life before and I’ve seen people get fired, throughout my career, I’ve seen people just disappear. And I never quite thought that that would happen to me. So I wanted to kind of explain that if this does ever happen to you, and it may, what some of my learnings were and my takeaways from that. You know, first of all, I think that getting fired is more of a mental state. It is a disgrace, it is shameful. In reality, it may not actually be that bad, right? It’s kind of like in the military, the difference between just leaving it and a dishonorable discharge. It’s all the same in the end, really, like the result’s about the same. I could have easily just as well left the company of my own voluntary accord, and the result would pretty much be the same. It’s just that when you get fired, there’s a lot of mental shame and guilt, the way your former coworkers may treat you, the way you leave – you don’t get to say goodbye to anybody, you just vanish. That part may kind of be disturbing. So why am I talking about this? Because I want to bring some light to this topic, something we don’t talk about much in the tech industry, but it happens all the time. You constantly see people disappearing around you. And, you know, it could be for a variety of reasons – it could just be low performance, it could be for the stupidest smallest reasons like running a YouTube show, in my case. And also, I’m just trying to monetize my getting fired. Hey, guys, I know that you guys are enjoying this video, but I just wanted to mention quickly here that this video is brought to you by our friendly sponsor, SkillShare. SkillShare is an online learning community with thousands of classes on creative and entrepreneurial skills. Explore everything from web development, to entrepreneurship, marketing, productivity, and more. Because SkillShare is sponsoring this video, I’m getting you all a free two month trial to SkillShare. Check them out, link in the description below. You know, it’s funny that I always had this fantasy. And maybe many of you do, too, that if you were to ever get fired, all of your coworkers, your friends would just rally around you and support you and say that if you’re being terminated, then they’re going to quit too voluntarily. It just doesn’t happen like that. And you like to think that you’ve got their backs and they’ve got your back and you’re all in this together – it just doesn’t quite work like that. Everybody is, in reality, just scrambling to save their own jobs. And the truth is that people value their own jobs over their humanity. And that’s why firing works. That’s why people can just rip relationships and friendships apart at workplaces. And nobody says a thing about it. Nobody questions that. It’s sad, really, right. You know, your coworkers who maybe you saw everyday, you had morning conversations with your manager, who always said that they were supporting you, that they seemed to care about you, was all fake, was just a pretend show for these people to keep their jobs and maintain their appearances. And you know, who knows, but my general recommendation has always been to disengage from your coworkers. It’s a place of exchange of your time for money, it can be as simple as that and if you were to look for anything deeper than that, then just be aware that it could be built on a pretty weak foundation there. Nothing wrong with having some light conversations, but to believe that these people would be your family and that they’ve got your back? I remember I was once working in a company with my brother, and we didn’t like the environment. So when I quit, he quit at the same time. That’s family, that’s people who have your back. Now another tip is data management. If you feel that you may be losing your job soon, maybe you’re getting picked on that performance improvement plan, then you want to be careful about your data. Make sure that you’ve downloaded your personal data, that you have backups of that, and that if you do happen to get called into HR, before you go to that meeting, just make a quick backup of all of your data and information. Because they can take away your laptop at any moment, like they did for me and to this day, I still have not gotten back any of the photos that I have left on my work laptop. You know all of that property is company property so having a clear separation of your personal stuff and your work stuff would be great advice. Health insurance is actually another good one to start thinking about. When I got terminated, I had a few days left to use up my health insurance. So I went ahead and did all of my medical exams and got glasses made, I actually decided to continue my health insurance on Cobra, which is $700 to $800 per month. Pretty expensive. I wasn’t originally going to do that but you know, I just thought Fine, I’ll do it. And I think what this overall does is it helps bring some perspective into your life. Don’t depend on your paycheck, the social status, or the workplace friendships you may have had there. Because depending on these things will just make your getting fired all the more terrible for you. You know, for me, it’s not like I was living some upscale life spending 90% of my paycheck every single month, having a bunch of friends and parties with my coworkers because if I were doing that, it would be pretty bad if I were to suddenly lose all of that. My entire lifestyle would change in that scenario. For me, losing a job has almost no impact on my actual day to day life. Even the social stigma that you may normally feel is not quite there. It’s not like I suddenly need to downgrade my lifestyle. It’s not like I have to justify what happened to a bunch of people who may be looking down on me. And you know, it’s funny, right? Maybe you thought that you were all on the same team. One team, one company, one dream. Maybe you actually believed in the company mission, shared that dream, put in those all nighters, gave up some of your personal life, your family life… Maybe you sacrificed your own health, didn’t go to the gym, let yourself get fat. So at times like this, it’s good to just remind yourself – a job is that exchange of your time for money. Nothing more. Don’t give anything more than that. I know a lot of people actually who have been laid off. Maybe they get fired, maybe they voluntarily quit. And you want to make sure that whatever you have left at the end of the day is still something worthwhile that was a fair trade. I think getting fired was sort of a social stigma that came up from the old days when people used to hold on to their jobs for 10, 20, 30 years. But these days in the tech industry, people are moving jobs like every two to three years anyway. And that’s largely because you still have your skills, that experience. And so thanks to everybody from the last video who reminded me that it’s true, I have not hit rock bottom. I still have all of my skills. Right, right. Yeah. I mean, that’s great and all but for an affordable premium membership at less than $10 per month, SkillShare gets you unlimited access to high quality classes from experts working in their fields, to teach you their knowledge and help you live your best life. You can explore classes in freelancing and entrepreneurship, web development, graphic design, UI, creative writing, and productivity. I would particularly recommend the JavaScript toolkit training by senior Microsoft developer Christian Hellman, in which he will teach you how to become a JavaScript expert with an in-depth guide. So check them out – SkillShare, link in the description below, get two months free. Okay, so it seems like I didn’t make it to 10 minutes so let’s do some quick Q&A just to fill up the time, and I will show you some scenes of New York City while I’m here. So someone asks if I was actually fired because of the prior video about women in the workplace? No, I was not. I knew actually, that video was probably a little bit risky and even though I had that concept in mind, I did not release it until after I was terminated. So I felt safe to just go ahead and push that one out. Some people actually wonder if this is related to the tech interview pro course that I run, which by the way, check it out if you’re interested in landing a job at Facebook, Google, any of these top tier tech companies. I will help fast track your career, level that playing field for you such that you have as much information as anybody else trying to get a job in these tech companies. And I think that if you know the skills, if you know your data structures and algorithms, if you can answer those questions, and you know the behavior tips, then you should be good. But that aside, HR actually asked me for a list of names of all the other tech YouTubers that I knew. I did not give that up. And that’s a very scary thing. But thereafter, anybody who is currently running a YouTube show, blog, podcast. You know, it’s just a classic case of HR being HR. And let me mention a little something here – I don’t believe that being a YouTuber is anything special. I believe it’s the future, I believe that, you know, I’m just a normal person. I’m just a normal software engineer. I don’t consider myself a YouTuber. I believe that in the future, in a few years, everybody will have a YouTube presence. Right? It’s just the direction of the digital space. Video is becoming more prevalent, just like how everybody may have a LinkedIn profile. It wouldn’t be weird, if everybody were to have a YouTube profile as well, where they just upload their thoughts and ideas on whatever they’re interested in. Having a company like Facebook fault you on that, I believe, is just backwards and outdated thinking. Some people wonder if my salary was actually 500K? And yeah, it was – it was even higher than that, actually. You know, you take a look at the base salary 220K, and then you add on all the other equity and bonuses, and you get to that level or even higher. And I know that it sounds very high. But this is why I recommend that everybody try to get into famous companies, because they can get your bills paid. The compensation in these top tier tech companies is just higher than what, say, like a startup may pay you. Primarily I think, because they have that equity portion, and also because they’re Silicon Valley based where talent is very competitive, right, you’re not going to get this sort of income if you’re in like the Midwest or something like that, which is why I recommend software engineers migrate to one of these tech hubs – Silicon Valley, New York, Seattle, any of these large cities, and then make it a long term goal to get into one of these top tier tech companies. It may not happen overnight, but you know, you can check out my program techinterviewpro.com Some people wonder if I was fired, actually, because my performance was no good. And I don’t think so, at least. My last half, I had the meets all for my level E6, which is pretty hard to do actually. The expectations are pretty high there. And you know, there’s been a lot of churn, at least in my organization. I moved teams at least like four times during the time I was there. So it hasn’t been the smoothest sailing. And, you know, if I was really like, a stellar performer, then I would have named myself the senior tech lead or the director, which I’m not. I’m just TechLead. Did we reach 10 minutes? I think we did. Alright, see you next time then. Bye.

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