Life after Spotify: what no one tells you about life after layoffs

In December 2023, I was part of the 17% impacted by the layoffs at Spotify as a User Researcher. Since then, I have been navigating the job market as a junior, alongside the uncertainties and turmoil caused by losing my job.

My layoff story

Monday, December 4th, was a day like any other. I woke up before my alarm and rolled over to check the time. I noticed two email notifications from work: one sent to the whole company from Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, and another from HR, which was a 15-minute 1:1 meeting invitation to discuss my role. As we had experienced a smaller-scale reduction in January 2023, I knew from that process what this meeting meant. I was a goner.

“For those leaving, we’re a better company because of your dedication and hard work. Thank you for sharing your talents with us. I hope you know that your contributions have impacted more than half a billion people and millions of artists, creators, and authors around the world in profound ways.”

I worked at Spotify since June 2022, when I relocated to Sweden and started as a user research intern. I then got hired as an Associate, and last year, I worked my way to a promotion as a User Researcher I. As a Music Psychology graduate, working at Spotify was quite literally my dream job. I could not have imagined actually making it there, and when I did, I pinched myself on a weekly, if not daily, basis. And it so lived up to my expectations. The culture, the people, the fun events, my team, and the projects I was working on— it was all so exciting, fun, and dynamic. I planned to work at Spotify until I was at least a Senior, but little did I know that this was a decision that was very much out of my control.

From that day, I was not required to work. It was a day full of crying, disbelief, and many, many phone calls to friends, family, and colleagues. The chaos it caused that day is still difficult to think about, with everyone impacted in different ways, each with their own worries for the future — laid off or not. My world came crashing down, and I was left with so much uncertainty for the future. As a British citizen, I am here in Sweden on a work visa, which adds an extra layer of bureaucratic hell. And with 1.5 years of work experience, I knew I was in for a rollercoaster.

A recreation of a marketing image generated from Spotify Wrapped, edited to reflect my own Spotify journey
A somewhat controversial graphic I designed to aid my layoff announcement on LinkedIn. I was a little hesitant to post it, but with almost 10K likes and 1M impressions, I am extremely proud of the reaction it received and the excitement of it all helped me to process things at the time. No regrets!

Grieving your loss: The 5 Stages of Grief

Losing your job is a complex life event, that leaves behind feelings of rejection, a loss of identity and uncertainty for the future. The truth is, job loss is a significant life change that can cause similar distress to other forms of loss. It’s easy to say, “It’s just a job!” or “There will be better opportunities,” but it does not take away from the turmoil caused by any life event that is not planned. Let’s be real: change is a b*tch. Although the 5 Stages of Grief are not linear, I have experienced all of them at some point since December, and continue to run in cycles.


When I first received the news of being terminated, I felt extreme disbelief. How could this be happening? In the coming days, this turned into a numbness, and I actually functioned better than I thought I would. Reflecting on this now, because it was around Christmas time and everyone was going on vacation anyway, I felt like it wasn’t yet real. Oh, I’ll be going back to work in the new year! Let me just enjoy the holidays! But come January, when nothing changed, the reality of the situation started to hit.


Once I realised the reality of the situation, feelings of anger started creeping in. For me, these feelings came more recently, after my notice period ended and I lost all my company benefits. That really was a smack in the face. You feel anger towards the company, but also can feel frustrated with life in general. It’s difficult to not let such emotions impact your relationships, but as long as you have a great support network (which I do, thankfully!), they should be understanding and help you navigate them.


In traditional loss, such as the loss of a loved one, the bargaining stage refers more to divine intervention. Individuals may turn to God for help or guidance and pray for intense change. Whilst applicable to job loss, for me personally, feelings of desperation seem more relevant. This means jumping straight into job searching, looking in every corner for possibilities, and contacting every person under the sun in search for a solution. Can you find me a job? Can you help me get in contact with this person? Can you post to your network?


Goes without saying, really. Feelings of pure misery, feeling like you’ve hit a wall. Endless rejection emails, a lack of jobs available, losing your routine, missing your colleagues… The list goes on. For so many people — including myself — a huge part of their self-worth is tied to their job and their achievements. Take that away, and you’re left with an empty shell that leaves behind existential questions of your identity, the future, and what’s left behind.


When job prospects are looking rough, the depression and acceptance phase often live side by side. But all in all, it’s time to get on with life. Moving forward is a big step, and it comes when you accept that what’s done is done, and now can take on new opportunities with a positive attitude. I feel like most days, I have accepted the situation and am cracking on with next steps. I sometimes revert back to feelings of denial and anger — and certainly have my depressed days — but overall I am ready for the next chapter.

The challenges

There are an abundance of challenges that myself and others are currently going through in navigating life after layoffs in the current economic climate, that I believe are crucial for both fellow job seekers and employers to understand.

The state of the job market

Upon speaking to others in similar situations, there is a scarcity of entry-level and junior-level roles. This scarcity often leads to fierce competition among candidates with varying levels of experience and is an unfair fight for those of us who may lack years on paper. So many positions require extensive years of experience, but with a lack of willingness to provide young people with the opportunities they need to gain such experience, how can we grow in our field?

“Unfortunately, we regret to inform you that we will not be moving forward with your application as other applicants better match the skills and experience required for the role.”

I have applied for just under 100 jobs since December. Many companies use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which automatically scans CVs for keywords and categorises them under headings. This means that often, creative CVs go overlooked, as they are not ‘ATS friendly’. In addition, if you are applying for roles that are slightly different to your lived experiences, you may get instantly rejected due to a mismatch in keywords or headings. Frustrating, to say the least.

Dealing with job rejections can be disheartening, but it’s important to maintain perspective. Rejection is a natural part of the process and it takes time to realise that it doesn’t necessarily reflect your worth or capabilities. Setting realistic goals and celebrating small achievements along the way has helped me to keep going, such as seeing interviews as valuable experiences that help to develop my skills.

Exploring alternate paths

We live in an era where education is at our fingertips. We have access to a variety of online resources to help us upskill and grow our competences to increase employability and adapt to the everchanging career landscape. With my background in user research and music psychology, I have been looking into fields when I can leverage my transferable skills; such as in UX design, marketing, and operations. However, the challenge often lies in bridging the gap between acquired knowledge and practical experience. Many companies prioritise direct experience, which can create barriers for such career transitions.

By combining proactive skill-building with strategic networking, I believe we can position ourselves for success even in competitive job markets where direct experience is highly valued. Demonstrating a commitment to ongoing growth and learning can enhance your appeal to potential employers. For example, stay updated on industry trends, participate in relevant workshops or webinars and obtain certifications that validate your skills. The key is to demonstrate potential, adaptability and a strong willingness to contribute meaningfully to your desired role or industry.

It’s often not what you know, it’s who you know

Building a strong professional network not only expands your reach but also exposes you to valuable insights and connections within your industry. Particularly after losing my job, I have realised that personal connections can often open doors that would otherwise remain closed due to lack of direct experience. However, there are frustrations that come with this. Many advertised positions have actually already been filled internally, but due to regulations, still have to be posted publicly. This leaves applicants with a false sense of hope and excitement, and I see it as one of the biggest barriers in the job market today. I often wonder how many positions I applied for were already taken, and whether some of us stood a chance at all.

Brexit and work visas

As a British citizen, now non-EU, the need of visa sponsorship further complicate the job search process. I settled with ease in Sweden and made a personal life for myself. Now, I am left with uncertainty around whether I can stay in the country after the end of June, due to my visa expiring. It is definitely the most scary part of this whole experience, and has caused the most emotional turmoil and headache.

The need for visa sponsorship often deters some employers from considering non-EU candidates due to administrative complexities and potential costs associated with obtaining work permits. This can limit the pool of available job opportunities and increase competition for roles that do offer visa sponsorship. When applying for jobs, the question is often asked: Will you require visa sponsorship now or in the future? This question is often asked without any indication of what the right answer should be. If I say yes, do I get automatically rejected? Does the company sponsor visas at all? More transparency is needed of companies willing to sponsor such processes, in order to save time on both ends.

Not becoming a couch potato

One of the largest struggles alongside all of this is maintaining your wellbeing. It’s easy to become consumed by the stress and uncertainty of seeking employment, but prioritising self-care and a healthy work (searching)-life balance is essential for resilience. Staying active both mentally and physically is important — whether through exercise or engaging in hobbies and activities that bring joy. For me, that looks like staying active at the gym and going to dance classes; as well as actually starting this Medium blog (woo!), meeting up with friends, baking, making music, and travelling with the free time I have.

The takeaways

So, what are the key takeaways for navigating life after layoffs?

  1. It’s a grieving journey. Similar to other types of loss, your body goes through the stages of grief for not just your job, but the things that come with it. Your identity, your routine, the environment, etc. Recognise the stages of grief and allow yourself to experience and navigate through these emotions as part of the healing journey.
  2. Stay resilient. Job rejections are common and do not define your worth. Maintain perspective, set realistic goals, and celebrate small achievements to keep motivation high.
  3. Never stop learning. Leverage online resources and educational opportunities to expand skills and explore new career avenues, showing potential employers your commitment to continuous learning and professional development. Bridge the gap between knowledge and experience by actively pursuing transferable skills in related fields, seeing where you can best fit in.
  4. Focus on who you know. Leverage personal connections in the job search process. Whilst hiring practices can be frustrating, networking remains a powerful tool for accessing hidden job opportunities and industry insights.
  5. Establish your own routine. When you lose your daily 9–5, it’s easy to fall into patterns of sinking into the sofa. Prioritise self-care in whatever that looks like for you, but try to move a little each day and continue to engage in things you enjoy.

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Life after Spotify: what no one tells you about life after layoffs was originally published in UX Collective on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.






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