Wow. Where to start with this one…

I love Medium. I think it’s a great site, and I love writing there. But today I read some troubling news. Medium has laid off 29 members of its staff. What does this mean for Medium? And what does it mean for writers on the platform? As someone who cares very much about both, I’m concerned.

Tony Stubblebine, in an August 11th Medium story writes, “We’ve found ourselves bigger than we need to be for the focused mission ahead. The team that remains is the team that we need for the strategy I have laid out.”

What does this mean for Medium?

It’s no secret that Medium is just a company just like any other. They have to make money and have to pay their employees. And they have a plan for running their business.

When a company chooses to lay off employees, it always makes me ask the question: Is it because the company can’t afford to pay them anymore? Or is it because they just don’t want to pay them anymore and want to increase profits?

So seeing news like this, my first inclination is to ask: Is Medium in trouble? Or, like Tony said, is this just a simple restructuring to align with his goals going forward?

While I hate to hear news of anyone ever being laid off, my hope is the answer is the latter – that this is just a simple restructuring.

But that isn’t the whole picture, from what I understand. In the same post, Tony states: “This is a time where a lot of other companies are doing layoffs under the cover of cost cutting due to economic concerns. For employees that remain, we will be looking at how we spend money and I expect that we will find very significant cost savings throughout the company. But for today’s decision, cost cutting is secondary to focusing.”

So cost saving is part of the equation here. Does that mean that our beloved Medium is in trouble? I hope not.

My key takeaway from this.

The news of these layoffs does seem to illustrate a point I have made frequently.

It’s better to build something for yourself that doesn’t depend on any one other party. One commenter on Tony’s post put it quite well. Christine Heart states: “I will never feel safe at any company, ever.” While that sentiment is sad, I think it’s not wrong, and I feel the same way.

At any time, an employer can fire you or decide you’re no longer necessary for the success of the company. And just like that, all your hard work, your tenure, your years of service are up in smoke.

That’s one reason it’s so important to have a side hustle – even something small. Jobs can be great for consistent income – until they’re not. But if you have a solid side hustle, something that you own and control, a job loss doesn’t hit so hard.

I don’t doubt Tony Stubblebine’s intentions, and I’m looking forward to seeing the direction he takes Medium, but I am sad for the employees who have now lost their jobs. And while Tony reports that Medium is taking good care of these people and offering support for them in finding new work, losing a job is never fun.

Will I keep writing on Medium?

For now, I have no plans to stop writing for Medium. I do still think it’s a good site for writers to get their work noticed and interact with other members of the community. Every day I’m on the site, I find useful and interesting content from writers I follow, and I’ve enjoyed conversing with many likeminded content creators.

Over the past few months, I’ve made some decent gas money from my articles there, and I hope to see that increase as time goes on – even though it’s been slightly down over the past month or so.

Right now, I’m in it for the long haul. I plan to continue to write about Medium here on this blog, and I will continue to post content on Medium and contribute to the community the best I can.

I’ve found Medium a great place to test out certain article topics and discover what kinds of content perform best – all while getting paid from the Medium Partner Program, and I have no plans to give that up for now.

Hopefully the future is bright for Medium. But I suppose only time will tell. In the meantime, I hope the 29 employees Medium let go can get back on their feet quickly and that this won’t be much of a setback for them.