Receiving a pink slip and being told that you have been laid off is nothing short of scary, jarring, discouraging, at times unexpected, destabilising, and a whirlwind of other emotions. The recent dramatic turn in layoffs in the tech field signal trying times, an economic downturn, and scrambling by affected individuals, those still in the field, and the industry at large. We know that whether this is your first time experiencing being laid off, or you’ve unfortunately been through this before, it’s a difficult and confusing time. Read on to learn how you navigate the tech layoffs, what it means for you, and how to survive them.

The big tech layoff

Big multinational corporations like Twitter, Google, Lyft, Meta, and many tech startups have been announcing tech layoffs because of economic pressures. The impact of the job cuts is still reverberating across industries and will be felt for some time still. It affects individuals, teams, and company culture and morale and can crush the psychological safety of those who haven’t been let go. Tech layoffs are devastating and rattling job security for many people. Who is next? What do I do? Where can I go? How long before the company shuts its doors? These and many other questions are on everybody’s lips.

What the tech layoff means for you

The advantage that you as a tech worker have over other sectors Is that you are likely more educated than most workers and your skills are still in high demand.

Granted, the current spike in tech layoffs may suggest otherwise, but according to Forbes, there are still jobs in tech. the thing to note here, however, is that some of these jobs can be found beyond the tech industry. Tech is an area of expertise needed across different industries. This means that non-tech organisations can hire you, a skilled specialist in the field to come in and transform their company to become more flexible.

Forbes adds that because many tech personnel has college or university degrees, the unemployment rate is below the average – that is – you have an advantage over those with a general educational background.

What this means for you is that it’s not the end of your career. It’s just the end of this chapter and new doors can open for you. You have what it takes to make it through this testing and trying season.

How to survive the tech layoff

If you’re already out, feel like your job is next on the chopping block, or just uncertain about your career in tech, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Remember that you have in your arsenal, skills, qualifications, and experience that can’t be taken away from you. Here’s some helpful advice to help you survive.

  1.     Give yourself time to grieve

Losing a job and being forced to undergo a sudden change is a shock to the system. Give yourself some bit to stop, feel, breathe, and process your loss. This is a crucial step in helping you plan because you can’t fully welcome the new while you’re still holding on to the old.

  1.     Know your numbers

These numbers have to do with your finances. Take time to assess your financial standings. Check your insurance policies, find out what your benefits are, draw up a budget, and look at where you may need to make some cuts to help get you through until you receive your new paycheck. If you know your numbers and what you’re working with, you’re better able to plan accordingly.

  1.     Update your resume

Unfortunately, sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself won’t result in a job falling in your lap. As much as you’re taking time to grieve, also use this time to be useful. If you’ve been out of the market for years, now is a great time to freshen up your resume and consider upskilling or reskilling in one or two core areas. This will look good to recruiters when you get called into interviews.

  1.     Find a recruiter and start job hunting

An extended gap in your resume doesn’t always elicit confidence in hiring managers. While this can be explained and understood by those working specifically in the tech field, it may be difficult for those not in the tech sector. Send out your resume to companies and consider contacting tech-specific recruiters to help you find a new position.

  1.     Consider working as a freelancer and contract jobs

Working for an established organisation does have its benefits but so can being your own boss. This could be a good time for you to try your hand at working as a freelancer or taking contract jobs while waiting for the perfect permanent one to come along. This can also serve as a catalyst to perhaps make that career leap into new territory and try out something new.

  1.     Expand your network

Stay connected.  The temptation to isolate because of shame, and insecurity. But the danger in that is you lose out on valuable time to make contacts but now is as good a time as any to expand your network. If you don’t know where to start, get in touch with your colleagues who may know a company that’s hiring, and get more active on LinkedIn and other professional sites. Talk to people and keep yourself in the loop with everything that’s happening in your field.

Getting laid off is a stressful time with feelings of doubt, uncertainty, and your world destabilising. Be intentional about your way forward. Lean on your support network. Ask for help. Assess your mental health and check how you’re coping with the stress and changes. Be kind to yourself.

As you pause and reflect on your current situation, remember that being laid off is not a reflection of your worth, value, or abilities. In the words of Epictetus, “It’s not the events themselves that define us, but rather how we choose to respond to them.” You will survive and thrive once again.

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