I Was Laid Off by Coinbase. I’m Frustrated but Not Surprised.

  • On Tuesday, Coinbase announced that it plans to lay off 1,100 employees.
  • Miguel Cuevas, a learning and development program manager, was one of those affected.
  • He says the company broke its promise to employees and that he is frustrated and disappointed.
  • This is his story, as told to reporter Jessica Xing.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Miguel Cuevas, 35-years-old, a global BPO learning and development program manager at Coinbase. Yesterday, after Coinbase announced it would be laying off hundreds of employees, Cuevas was informed that he would be among those the company was letting go. He describes the surprise and disappointment of being laid off from a dream job.

I’d been working at Coinbase for a little over a year in global learning and development. At Coinbase I managed a team of 5 people specializing in building training and education initiatives across Coinbase’s different global sites.

Today—just a week after the company rescinded over 300 offers — I found out I was one of the 1100 people the company laid off.

This past week, tensions at the company have been high. Many people through


slack

or through their direct managers wanted to know if layoffs were imminent.

The questions culminated in a town hall hosted a couple days after the firm announced it was rescinding job offers. CEO Brian Armstrong and chief people officer LJ Brock took responsibility for the company’s current situation, but still asked us to keep our heads down and to not get distracted. They told us to keep chugging along as if things were normal.

Yet, people were resigning left and right.

My own manager immediately resigned after Coinbase announced they’d be rescinding offers.

Because of this my team had to hold an emergency meeting.

My direct reports had a lot of questions — on financials, on company direction, and more importantly, if they would have a job in the next few weeks.

I had to tell them that I had no information. But I said I wasn’t going to resign, that I planned to ride out the crypto winter, and that we’d be able to overcome this.

Then, this morning, while checking in on one of my direct reports in India, I received a message from a teammate saying the CEO had sent us a message about a company-wide update.

But then, before I could even find out what it was, all of a sudden, all of my devices were blocked out and I didn’t have a chance to check my email.

Next, I received a text message from human resources asking to please look at my personal email. The email told me I had been laid off.

I wish I could say I was surprised.

Instead, I was just frustrated, angry, and disappointed. I saw how badly the company handled rescinding job offers.

A lot of employee frustration came from the fact that Coinbase was planning to more than triple their headcount just a year ago.

The company actively recruited me from Uber. They drew me in with an incredible compensation package: the firm let me work from anywhere I wanted, and even though I worked at Uber, Coinbase was going to pay me more money than I’d ever seen in my life.

I have always been really interested in crypto, so the opportunity to work anywhere while making money in a field I am passionate about, seemed like a dream.

However, I quickly saw how management consistently misdelivered on promises.

We just kept seeing failure after failure — from the hiring freeze last week to this week’s layoffs.

Through LinkedIn I spoke to every member of my team. I let them know that it was a pretty shitty situation but it was the best possible outcome. I was the only member of my team that was laid off, every other person got to keep their jobs.

Yet, I just have never experienced such a lack of empathy, transparency, political savviness, and care for their employees. This is ironic: I loved what I did at Coinbase because of its promise to provide decentralization and transparency for all.

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