It’s 2023, and folks who work in the tech sector are understandably worried. The websites that keep track of layoffs have been working overtime trying to keep up with the barrage of bad news coming out of some of the biggest names in the industry.
Amazon, Google, Zoom, and Microsoft have all announced cuts to their workforce. The online tracker, Layoffs.fyi, has the tally at 586 tech companies reducing their workforce by a whopping 170,549 people – and the numbers increase daily.
No matter how kindly the pink slip is delivered and no matter how generous the severance package is, getting laid off is hard. The feeling of insecurity, failure, fear, and anger are all natural. Worry about paying the bills and finding a new job while saying goodbye to friends and familiarity. No one expects you to bounce back overnight.
If you need a few days or a week to mourn the loss, to wallow in well-deserved self-pity, take it. But try to build some self-care into that space too. Hike the trails you never had time to check out, take a long hot bath in the morning, or get to a mid-day yoga class.
Once you’ve cleared your head, though, it’s time to get back to work – whether you have a job or not.
Time to Grow
Finding a job is now your full-time job. Before you flood the internet with your resume, it’s a good idea to take stock of what you really want, what you’re capable of, and what – if anything – is standing in your way. Here at Ascentim, we call this the G.R.O.W. model, which is an acronym for Gain insight, Realize new possibilities, Overcome obstacles, and Win at life. This is how you find your Area of Greatness, where your skills, passions, and purpose intersect.
- Gain Insight: We need to do a little self-exploration, so get your notebook out! Think back to all the jobs you’ve held. Which parts did you enjoy the most? What didn’t you like doing? What got you excited to walk into the office? Finally, if money wasn’t an issue, what would your dream job look like if it could be anything at all? Now we’re thinking big!
- Realize New Possibilities: Keep that notebook out and turn your attention to your skillset. What were you successful at (even if you didn’t enjoy it)? What were you better at than just about anybody else? Consider the feedback you’ve gotten over the years – like what managers appreciated about your performance.
We’re trying to separate passion from skills in these exercises, so we can discover where they merge into one perfect career. Now look at both lists and try to envision your passions and skills working together. What sort of role utilizes your skills in that dream career? What are some ways you can make an impact by applying the skills you have to your passions? This is where your area of greatness is located and is exactly the type of job you should spend your time applying for.
“It takes someone with a vision of the possibilities to attain new levels of experience. Someone with the courage to live his dreams.” ~ Les Brown
- Overcome Obstacles: Each of us contends with different challenges in our personal and professional lives. As you consider your dream job, also consider what might be holding you back from going for it or getting it.
It might be imposter syndrome rearing its ugly head and telling you you’re not good enough. If your perfect career is venturing out on your own to start a new business, funding might be an issue – so do your research on grants and sponsorships. They’re out there. If you lack the qualifications for the job you want, get qualified – take a class or a certification (there are grants and scholarships out there for those too.)
The bottom line is that every problem has a solution. Don’t let those pesky obstacles stand in your way. Overcome them.
- Win at Life: Woo-Hoo! You figured out what you love to do, what you’re good at doing, what was holding you back, and got the job that’s just right for you. Celebrate, appreciate. Take out that journal and write down what you’re grateful for in this new stage of your career. And SHINE!
Hopefully, this never happens again. You work happily until retirement at this dream job of yours and layoffs are a thing of the past. Just in case, it’s wise to set yourself up with a safety net. That safety net is composed of two things: finances and connections.
When you live paycheck-to-paycheck, a layoff can be especially terrifying. Now that you’re employed again, pay yourself. Build up a rainy-day fund to cover emergencies and bridge any unexpected gaps in employment. Take a close look at your new pay stub and do some work on your budget to make sure that what’s coming in in income is more than what’s going out in expenses.
Then update your LinkedIn page with your new company and title. Connect with all your former colleagues who you left on good terms with. Catch up with coworkers from 2 or 3 jobs ago who are thriving in their fields and join a professional networking group. Should you ever be in a position of looking for work again, those may be the very people who throw you a lifeline. They may let you know of an opening at their firm before it even gets posted, refer you to a hiring manager, or be in a position to hire themselves.
Call Me Maybe
The G.R.O.W. process has worked for so many of my clients who have gone on to fulfill their biggest dreams, and I want that for you too. Let’s talk if you need a little help putting it all together or getting out of your own way.
A layoff isn’t the end – it’s an opportunity for something better.