(As seen on Business Insider)
Thousands of WeWork employees are now searching for jobs after massive layoffs last month. Efforts to help include an in-person networking event hosted by a former WeWorker’s company and other startups on Wednesday in New York.
The first event in what will be a series drew about 65 ex-employees and recruiters. WeWorkers are also circulating a Google spreadsheet with nearly 200 names of employees looking for roles and 800 open jobs. One former WeWork lawyer advised her peers to be proactive, online and offline.
The mantra was simple: “We’re going to be OK. We’re going to be OK.” A former WeWorker repeated the phrase to her friend as they walked into a New York networking event on Wednesday morning, two weeks after the company’s major job cuts hit the US. The 2,400 employees who were laid off are receiving four months’ of compensation in the US, but many aren’t waiting to start job hunting.
Eyeing a hiring cycle that tends to slow down before the holidays then ramp up in January, employees said they’re networking now with the hope of landing something early next quarter. WeWork’s laid-off employees represent a flood of talent in a market with record-low unemployment, and recruiters have been circling some employees, particularly in engineering, for weeks or even months.
Some former WeWorkers said they’re waiting out their garden leave, spending the next weeks traveling or relaxing before they start a job they lined up even before they were officially cut. Others are leaning on networks, online and offline, for support.
When the cuts hit, LinkedIn was flooded with supportive messages from entrepreneurs and WeWorkers, some who left the company years ago, offering to open their networks. One started a Google spreadsheet called #WeAreWeWork to share available roles at companies ranging from Amazon to startups, as well as colleagues’ information. Two weeks later, the sheet has 200 names and 800 open jobs, along with specific WeWork contacts.
On Wednesday morning, about 65 former employees and recruiters gathered at a Chelsea restaurant for a speed networking event so popular that it had a wait-list. The event, called Soft Landing, was organized by two startups, KettleSpace and talent company Uncubed. KettleSpace, which hosts co-working spaces in 13 New York restaurants, was cofounded by former WeWorker Dan Rosenzweig and restauranteur, Nick Iovacchini.
– Via Meghan Morris / Business Insider
“The world needs more communities coming together when things get hard,” Iovacchini told Business Insider. “We feel a sense of like-mindedness with many of the folks who were at WeWork … people who worked hard and believed in a vision.”
The 15 companies at the Wednesday event, which organizers hope can be the first in a series, included real estate technology company VTS and data company CB Insights. Event attendees also received a free three-month membership to KettleSpace, giving them a space to work as they look for a new role – or start a new company – and free coaching from career coach GoCoach.
Uncubed cofounder, Tarek Pertew, said the three-hour event was like a “heavily curated” job fair. “I don’t think [former WeWorkers] are going to be wanting for work, but they probably don’t want to learn about companies constantly when they can come to breakfast and learn about a chunk of them over three hours,” Pertew said. “It’s going to feel like your career search is already activated nicely, on the back of a pretty gnarly event.”
Kristin Luciano, a WeWork lawyer who was laid off, said she’s not taking a passive approach. Her first step was a public LinkedIn post following the cuts, where she highlighted her new endeavor — a legal tech platform for influencers. The short post picked up more than 125,000 views and led to conversations with multiple recruiters and venture capital firms, Luciano said on the sidelines of the Soft Landing event. “It goes to show that people are not going to give you things in this world. You need to be proactive,” she said, noting that she was attending the event even though no specific legal jobs were listed. “You’re going to get a million job rejections. This is life.” Get in touch!
Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-1627 using a nonwork phone, email at [email protected], or Twitter DM at @MeghanEMorris. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.