man speaking finger up caption 'Give us more of the manager perspective, sounds educational' 'Manager's Perspective During A Layoff Part 1' (l) Employer handing resignation letter to employee consider in order to contract for quit or layoff of job leaving from work on white table (c) man speaking finger pointing left caption 'Give us more of the manager perspective, sounds educational' 'Manager's Perspective During A Layoff Part 1' (r)

SuperOhMo/Shutterstock @phong.thieu/TikTok (Licensed)

‘If people don’t see the signs, it’s like screaming into the void’: Former middle manager warns of early signs of layoffs amid recession fears

‘By the time it gets to you, there’s not much you can do.’

 

Dan Latu

IRL

Fears of a recession abound, even as officials say the economic decline is not inevitable

One TikTok creator, leaning on his experience as a middle manager, warned others about the early signs of layoffs should a recession come to pass. His tips have attracted over 250,000 views.

In the first video, Phong Tieu (@phong.tieu) is blunt with his followers. “By the time it gets to you, there’s not much you can do,” he says.

@phong.thieu Reply to @mat_mto Manager’s Perspective During A Layoff – Part 1 #manager #middlemanagement #softwareengineer #techtok #layoffs #career ♬ original sound – Phong | Tech, Code, Leadership

Thieu identifies himself as an engineering manager with a background working in tech. Thieu says he’s personally managed teams through two waves of layoffs. He warns that the signs of a layoff are subtle and come early. 

Executive leaders will have a plan developed for layoffs months, even a year, in advance, he says. The first signs will be check-ins with managers with softball questions about who’s happy and who’s performing well on the team. 

From there, a manager is in a tough position, he says. They might recognize layoffs are being set into motion, trying to whip their team into shape and boost performance. But without confirmation, Thieu notes that they can’t directly tell their team that a layoff might be coming. 

So, managers will gently push people and reorganize projects, Thieu says, hoping they’ll get the hint. But that’s not always successful. 

“If people don’t see the signs, it’s like screaming into the void,” he says in the video. 

Thieu also shared three additional videos describing the process of layoffs in his experience from there on.

Many commenters on TikTok agreed with Thieu’s perspective. 

“As a VP in tech for 10 ish years now, this is 100% spot on,” one viewer wrote.

“Absolute gold,” another added.

Some lamented the position middle managers are put in during layoffs. 

“We have the worst jobs when its comes to corporate layoffs. We have little input. It’s happening with or without you,” one user said. 

The Daily Dot reached out to @phong.tieu via TikTok comment. 


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