Yes, your laptop's LAN is most likely configured for DHCP and your managed switches are acting as a DHCP Server and dynamically assigning an IP address to your laptop. When you connect to unmanaged switches they cannot provide the DHCP service that your laptop is requesting, so Windows is assigning an address using APIPA...
"Automatic Private IP Addressing - The Windows function that provides DHCP autoconfiguration addressing. APIPA assigns a class B IP address from 169.254.0.0 to 169.254.255.255 to the client when a DHCP server is either permanently or temporarily unavailable."
What I do is assign a Static IP/Subnet Mask address to the "Alternate Configuration" tab for my programming laptop's LAN properties. This way, when the DHCP configured "General" tab cannot "Obtain an IP address automatically", it reverts to the Static configuration on the alternate tab.
This is fine if the alternate configuration is unique to any of the networks you plug in to. Also, the configured alternate subnetting must be capable of reaching all network devices.
Failing the alternate method being suitable to your needs, you would have to assign a manual IP address on the "General" tab with "Use the following IP address", before you connect to an unmanaged switch.