It’s been a tough one, hasn’t it? The beginning of the month started with GoDaddy announcing that it would be laying off 8% of its global workforce. That ended up being around 530 employees! As GoDaddy is a big part of WordPress, that cut was felt by a lot of people in the community. StellarWP has also begun to let go of some of its workers as well. Sarah Gooding of WP Tavern wrote a few weeks ago about the massive layoffs and how big companies weren’t the only ones hit. Smaller ones had to lay off employees as well. (You can read Sarah’s full write up here)
This has of course been the source of worries around the community. Michelle Frechette of StellarWP and Post Status has been an amazing job resource for the community for ages. She brought the topic of layoffs up at WordCamp Asia this past week during the Ask Matt Anything (AMA) session.
With the waves of layoffs and hiring freezes that we’ve seen lately in the WordPress community, what do you think that we as a community can do to create more jobs in our ecosystem and stop the anxiety and fear that comes with the layoffs we’ve seen.Michelle Frechette
Matt’s answer was a refreshingly surprising one to me. He talked about how WordPress could benefit from the layoffs going on. His reasoning was that this is an opportunity for laid off developers or ones struggling to find work, to try their hand at entrepreneurship. Creating your own business and stream of income with your WordPress skills is an opportunity to help price sensitive customers and businesses. This was a great response to me because it gives developers a chance to make more income and at their own pace. (You can watch the entire AMA here.)
He went on to say that our community relationships are the best ways to get more work. We have heard time and time again that it’s not what you know but who you know. Networking will get your foot in the door quicker than anything else. Because open source projects like WordPress foster close working relationships, there’s no better place to try and shop yourself around. Also contributing to open source projects gives you more to put on your resume. So you’d have a foot in the door with your networking and also something to show them.
This was my favorite response throughout the entire AMA. A lot of people are feeling the effects of the economy right now. While WordPress could not avoid it forever, it is nice to know that we have leadership in the community that can not only acknowledge what’s going on but offer sound advice. Yes, Matt really wants people to contribute to the WordPress project and is firm in his decisions around that. But also, he let us know that we can take that and change our lives even more. Take advantage of what may seem like a trying time and come out of it using WordPress.
There are many other resources in the community to turn to right now such as Michelle’s weekly job postings on Twitter, WordPress Jobs, Post Status WordPress Jobs, and becoming a member of the Underrepresented in Tech database. And if you are someone who has not been affected, reaching out to those who have resources and even a kind word can go a long way. Let’s get through this together WordPress community.