How to Deal with Being Laid Off

Feb 01, 2023

The technology industry has long been hailed as a bastion of employment and innovation. But in the last couple of years, the job market has changed, with tech employers cutting staff to reduce costs, restructure teams and adjust to changing conditions in the sector.

With business uncertainty due to the global pandemic, mass layoffs and redundancies rose rapidly across all industries. The technology world was no exception; between 2020 and 2021, major tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, Uber and Amazon have all announced cuts in their staff numbers. In February 2022 alone, US-based tech firms shed 8,800 jobs.

As the pandemic continues to affect businesses around the world, many are wondering if this trend will continue into 2022. In this article we examine recent tech lay offs in 2021 and analyze what might be coming for the tech industry in 2022. According to in 2023 alone so far, 174 tech companies globally have shed 56,570... so we get it, being in tech doesn't guarantee you security. But how do you deal with being laid off? What's next? Let's dive into it.

How Are You Reacting?

When you get laid off, it can be especially devastating and frightening. Even if you didn't love the job, it still hurts. So how are you reacting? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone reacts differently to this kind of news and you have to find what works for you.

One option is to take a day or two for yourself and allow yourself to cry, be angry, or feel whatever emotions come up as a result of being laid off. These emotions will pass in time and giving yourself space to process them can help ease the initial shock of the news.

You may want to consider talking through your feelings with someone close who can provide emotional support as well as practical advice on next steps such as updating resumes or networking contacts. Talking through these tough times will not only help you emotionally, it can also provide insight into options that you may not have considered which could lead to new opportunities down the road. Finally taking care of your physical needs by getting enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition will also help build your resilience throughout this difficult time in life.

When you're laid off, it can be a difficult experience. One way to deal with this situation is to ensure that all of your reactions are legal. Make sure that you are not venting or taking out your frustrations in a way that violates any laws or employment contracts. This includes not saying anything negative about your former employer on social media, not engaging in any acts of retaliation, and not taking documents or confidential information with you when you exit the office. Additionally, make sure that you're remaining polite and professional when communicating with coworkers as well as anyone associated with the company.

The same advice is relevant for any of those that feel they are being unfairly let go. Consider seeking legal advice if you're not sure things are 100% kosher. Remember to read through any company policies or employment obligations you signed when taking the job to ensure you're being treated fairly.

How to Bounce Back After Getting Laid Off

The first step is to take advantage of any severance package that may be offered. A severance package can help provide financial security during the transition period before finding a new job. It's also important to use this time for reflection and assessment of what caused you to get laid off in the first place. Taking the time for self-work can help you identify areas for growth and improvement.

Don't forget to take the necessary time for yourself. Use any unused vacation benefits or withheld wages to give yourself a break from the stress of job searching and resume writing. Then, start tracking your progress. Understand your financial situation, and look into any unemployment benefits that may be applicable and useful.

Setting aside some time with people, such as family and friends can help you get re-motivated, give you ideas for new paths that you might want to consider. They can also be a good source to recommend you to anyone they know within their own networks that would find your skillset useful.

Make appointments with career counsellors and sign up for job search websites so that you have somewhere to turn when job leads come up. And before you go through the process of updating your resume think about your career, and previous position for a second. Currently a software engineer? Just take a moment to ask yourself, are you still enjoying this? What were things you loved about working at "insert big tech company here" and what were things you could do without? Your answers may shed light if you should continue to pursue a career in a big company. 

There are definitely pros and cons when considering either trying to build your own company or joining a startup. Consider the risks and rewards of each option before making a decision. You could have the opportunity to really take on the ownership of building what you want, when you want while trying to commercialize it. This is no easy feat, but if you've lost the passion, or motivation working for a much larger organization and seemingly redundant or uninspiring tasks this might be a path worth exploring.

Avoid job application burnout

As you get back into the grind of sifting through job posts on LinkedIn, Indeed etc. and going through the inertia of applying, applying, and applying some more it can get repetitive and ultimately making it easy to get discouraged. So how can you avoid burnout? Set yourself a goal of applying for a certain number of jobs per day. This will help you stay focused and motivated.

Take breaks throughout the day to give your mind a rest and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Make sure you are taking care of yourself physically and mentally. Exercise, eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, and take time for activities that bring you joy. 

These are also challenging times because of the amount of layoffs taking place, with word coming that we are fast approaching a recession - it isn't the same job market. Prospective employers have the ability to be picky and make you jump through more hurdles. 

When job hunting, it's important to stay positive and keep your head up. Don't be afraid to reach out to people in your network, or even those you don't know, for advice and support. You never know who might be able to help you find the perfect job opportunity.

Pay attention to job postings, the wording used and what to ensure you include in your resume and cover letters so it gets picked up on the employers' applicant tracking systems. Don't forget to include any relevant social media accounts (LinkedIn or relevant portfolio profiles: eg. graphic designers often include their Dribbble profiles).

If you feel at a loss, you've done everything you can and you no longer know how to move forward. It might be time to look into a career coach or career counselor. Someone with an unbiased opinion that can help understand your goals, and give you credible how-to's to keep you motivated while on the job hunt.

It's OK to ask for help

As mentioned in other sections, it's important to take the extra time before going through the application frenzy, to understand what it is you want to do. Often times, if you're unhappy with where you're at asking your friends and family for help and advice can really go a long way. They know you personally, and if you're straight with them and sharing what your wants and needs are - they in turn can share helpful advice, or know people within their own network that might be able to help you.

They have personally witnessed your personal growth over a period of time, and they may also have other ideas/suggestions to continue to get you to think and consider different career paths if you're unhappy with the one you're currently leading.

Shift your perspective

While the goal for yourself is to get back on track in terms of having a cheque come through the door that you can count on, it's important to think about the hiring process from a potential employers' perspective. That way you can put yourself in the mindset of what they would be looking for, how can I stand out to future employers? What skills and personality would best suit their environment? Is that person ultimately me or should I dodge this bullet? 

You can get insight about the company once you're at the job interview stage. Don't be afraid to ask questions to see if there's a mutual fit here. This can become increasingly difficult the more desperate you become in securing a job... it'll be a balance between taking a job purely for the cheque versus, holding out until you find the right for yourself. 

If you find yourself in the boat that you might want to consider trying something completely different, either a change in direction it might be worthwhile to look into professional development, short-term courses that could buff out and broaden your skillset. In 2023, LinkedIn shared that the fastest-growing jobs in Canada was first and foremost growth marketing managers, those with the ability to work in sales, marketing and communications teams to grow their companies' business revenue. If this sounds like something that's interesting - you can consider looking into either continued education from colleges and universities or looking at professional development courses - eg. BrainStation & Growclass are a couple to consider.

At the end of the day, getting laid off sucks. It's worth the time to mourn the position you've lost, and when you're ready - to dust yourself off and figure out what's next. As job seekers, you need to be able to share with potential employers your transferable skills that you're bringing in from your previous experience, and how you can benefit them in the role you're applying for. There are plenty of career tips out there, but it's really about finding the next gig or project that makes you excited and worthwhile to pursue. Sometimes that doesn't come with working for someone else, but taking the leap and trying to build something yourself. If that's you, we can help validate if you've got an idea worthwhile to pursue.

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