I rejected a job at Google — but then got laid off by Amazon. I don't regret my decisions.

  • Matan Gans is a former software development engineer at AWS.

  • He's been a victim of Big Tech's sweeping layoffs since graduating college.

  • Coinbase rescinded an offer days after his graduation. Months later, Gans was laid off from Amazon.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Matan Gans, a former software development engineer at AWS and startup founder. It has been edited for length and clarity.

When I graduated from Brown University in 2022, I was weighing up two exciting job offers — one from Google and one from Coinbase.

Google was kind of a dream job for me, but the job was in-person and meant uprooting my life in Boston and moving to California.

I also had a return offer from my previous summer internship with Amazon Web Services, which I choose not to accept because it was based in Seattle.

The Coinbase job was fully remote, so I was faced with this difficult decision of staying on the East Coast or moving to the West Coast.

I ended up deciding to stay in Boston and accept the Coinbase offer. I was a bit hesitant because although cryptocurrency was going through a big hype at the time, I was really excited about the idea of going into Big Tech and having a stable job.

It was difficult to say no to Google, but it just came down to the remote working opportunity.

But a week after graduation I got an email from Coinbase saying they were rescinding my offer amid a round of layoffs.

Flood of support

It was obviously disappointing and really shocking — I'd been excited about the Coinbase job.

It took a while to get over this initial shock. I decided to post on LinkedIn about it because I saw others were doing so.

The response was amazing — I had recruiters flooding my LinkedIn inbox and loads of support from people in the tech industry. I even got fast-tracked to the last round of interviews for one company looking to scoop up laid-off Coinbase employees.

My manager from a summer internship I did at Amazon also got in touch. He offered me a job on the same team I'd done my internship with. Although the team was based in Seattle, he said the company had a remote option that would allow me to work from Boston.

Although I had another offer on the table, I accepted the Amazon job.

It felt like a safer choice because it was a Big Tech company — and I already knew the team.

I started working as a software development engineer at Amazon Web Services (AWS) in August 2022. The job turned out to be fantastic and I learnt a lot.

Amazon layoffs

When Amazon started cutting jobs, it was a big shock.

The sweeping layoffs were obviously concerning given that I'd already been through a similar situation just months earlier.

There was a sense within the company that the layoffs wouldn't reach AWS because it was profitable. I survived the first two rounds of cuts in early 2023 and gradually started to feel secure in my job again.

But, in February 2023, Amazon announced a return-to-office policy.

This was alarming as the main reason I took the job was because of the remote option. I was living with my partner in Providence, Rhode Island, so the commute to the Boston office would have been long.

Not only that, but my team was still based in Seattle.

I could have made the commute to the Boston office work, but I started to get the sense from my manager they'd rather have me in Seattle. I told them if I had to relocate I would, but I'd rather stay where I was.

My managers tried to move me to another team located in Boston and never implied my job was in jeopardy.

But then, on a regular Tuesday morning, I logged onto my computer and found I had lost access to the company Slack. Sure enough, when I opened my email I discovered I'd been laid off.

The two people laid off from my team were remote workers. I don't know why I was cut — I tried to push for a reason but the company told me it was a mix of things and not just because I was remote.

The new normal

I posted on LinkedIn again after I was laid off from Amazon but it went much less viral this time.

It didn't get this stream of responses I had received after my Coinbase offer was rescinded.

It felt like all the tech companies were doing huge layoffs. I applied to a few jobs and got a few automated rejections, but each day I was seeing more people laid off.

At the beginning I regretted not taking the original job at Google. Although Google did some layoffs, they didn't axe as many roles proportionally as Coinbase did.

Over time, I've learned not to have regrets around that choice.

I think the work experience at Google would have been very similar to Amazon. It might even have been worse for me because I would've been so far away from from home and my personal relationships on the East Coast.

Post-layoff life

Since I was laid off from Amazon, the main thing I've been doing is setting up my own start-up.

On the side, I also teach with a program that offers extracurricular coding and AI research to students and volunteer as a coding instructor with another program.

I also took some contact software engineering work with very early stage startups. I was interested in entrepreneurship after having experienced big tech and trying out these jobs inspired me to start building my own venture.

My main takeaway about getting laid off is how hard it can be to mentally reconfigure your life.

My immediate reaction for several months was disillusion with the with Big Tech, but now I feel positive about my experiences. This feels like a really good time in my life to not take a straightforward path.

There is a silver lining to the layoffs as they allowed me to take to time out, find myself, and figure out what I enjoy.

Read the original article on Business Insider