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  • Alex Hattaway

Layoffs Are Starting To Hit The Overemployed. Is The Movement Coming To An End?

Layoffs are the absolute worst. More than 66,000 US-based tech company workers have been laid off so far in 2023. That's 66,000 individuals and families losing an income source unexpectedly.

Job stability has become a thing of the past. It's also become the reason for many to start side hustles and businesses. In the event they were laid off from their day job, they'd be covered by that backup income stream.


That’s the same idea folks in the overemployed community have by working multiple remote jobs at the same time. They’re reclaiming control over their income.

Honestly, I get why they’re doing it. Why NOT do whatever we can to reclaim the power over our lives? And in the good ole’ US of A — money is power.


Overemployment is a controversial style of working where folks work multiple jobs at the same time in complete secrecy.

This is not the same thing as moonlighting when someone works a second job later in the day after their main job or side hustling when someone works on their own business after hours.


Overemployed folks often work two or more remote jobs during the same business hours every day.

These are often full-time tech jobs that pay multiple six-figure salaries like software engineering or development. The idea for many within the overemployed community is that the more jobs they work now, the more cash they can stash away in savings to retire in half the time.


That was until layoffs started to hit the overemployed. Recently on Reddit, u/ItinerantEnby shared that after their own overemployment experiment, they’d been “laid off from job 2 at nine months."

"My little experiment with overemployment is regrettably coming to a close as I'm laid off from my job 2. Company is downsizing and eliminating my role, and I'd have been sunk if I'd have left my job 1. This is why we do this. To sum up, I saved enough money to make a sizable emergency fund and be able to pay off all my student loans as well (holding off until the loan cancelation is resolved, though). I'll take some time to relax and enjoy having only one job before coming back and applying for new Js. I really appreciate all the advice and support I found in this group. Thank you."


They weren’t the only ones in the community affected by a slew of recent tech layoffs either. Immediately, folks started chiming in with their recent layoff stories.

"Recently went overemployed for the third time and was laid off from job 1 shortly after due to tech layoffs, same circumstance but reverse. Glad you’re still afloat, feels like being hit by a bullet with no damage caused."


Some people shared their layoff stories from before they were overemployed, which doubled as their origin story for being overemployed now.

"I got laid off in a similar situation while overseas, but I didn't even have a warning. So, I was on another continent with no job. Your two stories, and what I went through, are examples of why I am overemployed now."


They also shared how some of these tech companies are poorly mismanaged with little regard for the worker.

"They hired for this position, knowing a recession was incoming. The moral failure that is recruiting somebody to leave their stable position for something they can’t keep around a full year (because you know they weren’t recruiting from recent college grads or the unemployed)."


Some folks weren't as empathetic and shared opinions that this is nothing but a stepping stone to their next job.

"Good job graduating from job 2! Keep adding these milestones to your overemployed career!"

"Lol, graduating."


The layoff stories continued, with several of them happening only a few months after they were originally hired.

"Same at nine months, glad I saved every single paycheck. 😂"


They shared the same performative vibe from HR that many of us can relate to.

"Got laid off from job 3 after three months... tried not to laugh while getting the pitiful sympathy performance from the HR person."


Usually, with a short stay at a company, severance checks are slim to none.

"What’s your severance like?"

"Disgraceful. Not even a full paycheck."


Of course, they mentioned everyone's favorite employer red flag — the "work family."

"But you were part of the family...."

"Families typically don't offer any severance when they disown you, so this checks out!"

"A dysfunctional family"


These workers aren't blind to the flip-flopping they see companies and CEOs doing on the daily.

"I got two weeks plus reimbursement for unused vacation. Glad I got something, but darn... This was right after the CEO publicly promised no more layoffs."


They can't help but defend being overemployed as they trauma-bond with each other in the comments.

"'You worked for us for the better part of a year, but now we're going to let you go. Here's less than two weeks pay for your troubles. Hope you have a great rest of the year! Shut the door on your way out!' And they say we're the wrong ones for being overemployed. They WONDER why we do it. The answers are right there in everyone's face."

"I got laid off after three months once. The whole team was let go. Two weeks severance. What a sh** show. My antihero origin story."


Is professional loyalty dead? They seem to think so, and they might be on to something.

"Professional loyalty is dead. Been dead for a long time. Not because employees aren't loyal but because employers aren't. Working for a company long-term used to mean something. I know a number of retired boomers who worked for the same company their entire careers and retired as millionaires with generous pensions. Now, you see people who've worked for Google for almost 20 years getting unceremoniously and disrespectfully laid off. If companies want to fix the loyalty problem, they need to hold up their end of the bargain."


If having even multiple full-time jobs can't save us from a layoff, I don't think the blame is on the worker...but, I digress.

"This saved me from job 1 being eliminated. I had job 2 lined up already. Now to find a new job 1."


Some say overemployment is a state of mind.

"Overemployment only comes to an end when you decide overemployment comes to an end. It is a state of mind of infidelity to the owners of the means of production. Keep searching OP!"


As exhausting as being overemployed sounds, it's nice to see some workers take advantage of their layoff to catch up on some much needed rest.

"Same boat. I’m taking a few weeks off, then getting back on the horse to get a job 2. Enjoy this downtime and relax!"


Seeing the several threads popping up in r/overemployed lately had me thinking. Are employers catching on, and could that be playing into a few of the recent tech layoffs?

I sat down with Isaac, the creator of Overemployed, a website for folks looking to work multiple remote jobs at once, to get his thoughts on the recent layoffs within the community.


"There's too much noise. It's either coincidence, or their performance has suffered," Isaac said as he described that there could be various reasons folks in the overemployed community are facing layoffs.

He explained the recent tech layoffs as "overemployed darwinism."

"Either you slipped up, or the system picked you out of the blue," Isaac describes.

He doesn't have any knowledge of a growing number of overemployed workers being laid off due to their employers finding out about their other jobs.

However, in the past, he's seen folks get fired because one of their employers found out, but they were made aware of the reason.


"Layoffs are inhumane," Isaac said. "The cycle can be mentally taxing."

"There's a hidden cost in our society," Isaac continued.


Where does that leave us in the future of work?

With the cycle of layoffs being quite common at tech companies and the rise of overemployment to combat this cycle, I had to ask Isaac this question.

"The future of work is remote," Isaac answered as he described the future of work being remote-first, asynchronous, and allowing you to work from anywhere.


When I brought up in our conversation that CEOs and founders often run multiple companies at the same time, why shouldn't workers be able to? He agreed and expanded that the human race determines the future of work.


Overemployed or not, layoffs are never cool. If you've recently gone through a layoff, hang in there. And remember, your employer is not your family.


What do you think? Do you think remote work or overemployment has any place in the future of work?

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