Beginner's guide to surviving layoffs
I got laid off. It's not fun at all, but it's also not the end of the world. While there is a lot to process, it's still just a job. There are worse things that can happen.
If you follow my Twitter or my newsletter you probably already know that I'm looking for a new job. I don't want to get into details, but this was the first time I was laid off. It was quite an emotional process, especially since I really loved working there.
I decided to share some tips that helped me survive these dark times. Keep in mind that I'm a beginner when it comes to layoffs - I hope that this is my first and last time. I really don't want to become more experienced in this field.
Keep calm and do the math
I have a family, which makes me responsible for our financial stability, and losing my job meant the lack of this stability. So before panicking further, the first thing I did was create a Google Spreadsheet and check how much savings we had. Based on this I could see how much time I have before finding my next job and in what position I will be during negotiations.
Luckily, we were prepared for such a situation and could afford to spend up to 6 months without any additional income. It also made me a bit calmer.
Find something to focus on
I had a lot of thoughts about what just happened. There were a lot of bad emotions - I was really angry at the whole situation. And while giving yourself a moment to be angry is perfectly fine, in the long run, it's better to channel those emotions on something else.
I went to the gym to let off some steam (and broke some personal bests in the meantime) and played mindless and bloody games (Robocop: Rouge City was perfect).
But I can imagine that many of you will be able to convert this anger into something more meaningful. But, if you feel that watching The Office for a day or two is the best you can do, that's fine too.
Talk with others
I had a lot of chats with my wife, family, friends, and colleagues. Some of them were just "bitching" at the situation, but most were much more constructive. All of this helped me to:
understand that I'm not alone in this
get a better picture of the situation
think about my future
While I didn't feel the need to get professional help (like therapy) if you feel that you need it - go for it. It's a hard time - you should do whatever will help you.
Also, while talking with others I learned that there are some opportunities waiting for me. Knowing this helped me a lot and gave me a confidence boost.
Time for a plan
When I felt I was ready I started working on finding a new job. To do so I created a 3 phase plan.
First, there was the optimistic variant:
I'm looking for a DevRel role (or something similar)
I'm only relying on people I know personally with the small help of Twitter (which I also consider my inner circle).
I'm giving myself 2-3 weeks to see the results
Next, there was the realistic variant:
I'm also looking for a developer role
I'm publishing the info on LinkedIn and reaching out to some companies that might be interested in me
I'm giving myself another 2-3 weeks to see the results
In case those wouldn't work out I was ready to dive into freelancing work to earn myself more time.
Luckily for me, having great friends and some skills, opened some doors for me and it seems the optimistic variant will be enough.
Be prepared for the next time
We are people and this means that we make mistakes. And that's perfectly fine if we learn from them. I think that looking at how unstable IT has become, every person should always be prepared with:
having enough savings to survive for at least 3 months
having a network of connections
making sure that you're recognizable - thanks to your YT channel, blog, public speaking, or whatever
being active on at least one social network
create a plan for the next time
The better the preparation, the better your position will be during your next job hunt. Also, it will be a less stressful experience.
I wish everyone that they won't be in this horrible situation. But life happens and with the current economy, there is a huge chance that you will be a part of bigger layoffs.
But even if this happens - don't panic, you're not alone in this.
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