On Twitter I posted about the 120,000+ layoffs in the tech space, or rather the tech layoffs ripple effects, and got a good question:
Buckle up. The ripple effect can be brutal. https://t.co/ZN48DucP8U
— Jason Alba (@jasonalba) November 14, 2022
The question was from someone with a private/locked account, so you probably can’t see it, but here’s what she asked:
“Do you have any advice for weathering our current storm? Still in my first tech job and really hope I stay employed lol.”
Scary times for lots of people. I have plenty of thoughts about this current round of massive layoffs, but I want to focus on four things you can do to get you through these layoffs, or, maybe more importantly, if you aren’t getting laid off, the ripple effects. I think these ripple effects will impact a lot more than the 120,000+ people laid off. Things might be really scary for a while with hiring freezes, less purchasing from companies, etc.
1. To weather the tech layoffs ripple effects, get serious about networking.
This is what everyone is going to say. It’s the same advice from the last many decades. It’s not what you know, they say, it’s who you know.
And then some people say, It’s what they know about you. We’ll get to that in #2.
Anyway, network. If this makes you nervous, rethink what networking is. Networking doesn’t have to be those social mixes where there’s a lot of small talk and you walk away wondering if you just wasted your night. Networking could be one-on-one lunches, coffee chats, or hosting a podcast and having guests come on it.
Networking could be being more active on LinkedIn (or wherever your audience is). It could be volunteering somewhere that you are likely to run into people you should.
I don’t care if you use JibberJobber as your job search CRM or you write names and numbers on the back of your hand but please, please make sure you follow up with people you meet. The more you follow up with these people the stronger your network gets.
2. To weather the tech layoffs ripple effects, get serious about your personal brand.
I have a pluralsight course titled Developing Your Personal Brand. It’s one of my favorite courses because when I started my Big Fat Failed Job Search in 2006 I had no idea what a brand was. I kind of backed into it, started doing personal branding stuff without realizing what I was doing.
Your brand is how others perceive and talk about you. It’s how they think about you. It’s how they would describe you. The idea of personal branding is to figure out how you want them to do those things and then take the right steps to help them perceive, talk about, think about, and describe you.
I thought I didn’t have a brand but I’ve come to realize we all have a personal brand. It just might not be what we want it to be. And, it’s never to late to get serious about your personal brand, and helping others perceive you the way you want them to.
This is really important because of the so-called hidden job market. That is, someone is in a meeting and the boss says, “we just got approval to bring someone on to our team, does anyone here know someone we should look at?” The job isn’t posted yet but names start to get brought up. You want your name thrown in at this stage, and this is more likely to happen if you have been networking and working on your personal brand.
3. To weather the tech layoffs ripple effects, get serious about multiple streams of income.
I started out with JibberJobber hoping I could earn $100 a month so that when I landed my next job (I was on a corporate career track back then), and I got laid off, I wouldn’t lose 100% of my income. I would lose a lot of it, but I didn’t want anyone to be able to take away my $100 from JibberJobber.
Since then I have made money by being a professional speaker (my normal rate is $5,000 plus expenses), my 3 books, I had DVDs for using LinkedIn, then some streaming online courses in JibberJobber, which led to Pluralsight (where I now have 37 courses). I’ve done ghost writing for blogs (earning four figures a month), consulting, custom projects… and then I started branching outside of the career and Saas space to doing other things.
Here’s the result… click this image to read this post. It was one of the most empowering moments in my life. I say this not to brag but because when (not if) you get laid off I want you to sit there with confidence and peace and being financially okay, instead of in a dreadful panic (been there, done that). Read this post:
4. To weather the tech layoffs ripple effects, be intentional about career management.
Here’s the good news: the other three things are how I define career management. (Looking for a course on career management? I got you here: Career Management 2.0)Your network, your personal brand, and multiple streams of income. I want you to focus on the word “intentional.”
I kind of, barely had a network, even though I didn’t create or nurture it intentionally. It just kind of happened. I had a personal brand but I didn’t know what that meant and I wasn’t intentional about it. And, I had always wanted to have other income streams but I didn’t know how to go about it.
It wasn’t until I lost my job, my career, my identity, and unfortunately my hope, that I became intentional about each of these three things. I don’t think I said, “I’m going to have an awesome network!” Instead, it was more like, “I need to figure out how to pay my bills!” and the network came, as a vehicle and a tool, to help me get there.
Over many years, though, I’ve become more intentional about my network, my brand, and my income streams. I’m passionate about helping others be intentional about each of these three things.
I may not know what’s best for you right now, or what you need to do right now. I think you do, though. Don’t believe that my path has been easy. It was many, many years of difficulty. But it has been worth it, for sure.
From that post above (this one), I still smile when I think about getting laid off and NOT losing more than 50% of my income. I love the personal empowerment I had found and built. I love that I, you, we can be intentional about our careers instead of trusting that our boss, or HR, or the owner of the company, will take care of us, or treat us right.
This is not about what they can do for you. It’s about what you are doing for you. This includes learning, improving your skills, becoming better, taking risks, talking to people. Some of this is scary. Most of it becomes enjoyable as you get better at it.
And there’s no better time to start, no matter what industry you are in, no matter where you are at in your career. Start now. I double dog dare you! And don’t ever let these tech layoffs ripple effects, or any layoffs, devastate you.