- Janet Anne Panen is a software program engineer who has been laid off 4 instances in a row.
- She recommends that employees ought to apply for unemployment the identical day they’re laid off.
This as-told-to essay relies on a dialog with Janet Anne Panen, a 33-year-old software program engineer based mostly in Sacramento, CA. It has been edited for size and readability.
The unlucky factor about layoffs is that they occur on a regular basis. Most individuals I’ve spoken to have been laid off not less than as soon as — particularly in the event that they work in HR, recruiting, or advertising roles in tech. I have been laid off 4 instances in a row throughout my tech profession. My first layoff was at Reddit, the place I labored as a social media assistant for 2 months earlier than they disbanded my whole group. I used to be laid off after working in Uber’s HR division for 2 years. Then I used to be laid off from Dropbox as a assist engineer after almost two years. Final week, I used to be laid off from a software program engineering job at Snapdocs.
All of my layoffs have been traumatic or onerous in several methods. For me, the primary was essentially the most devastating as a result of I actually took it to coronary heart. However the third one was additionally extraordinarily tough as a result of I beloved the group I labored on.
My most up-to-date one is especially scary due to the financial state of affairs.
I fear that now I am up in opposition to former Twitter engineers with 12 years of expertise versus ‘little previous me’ with just a few years expertise and a level from a coding bootcamp. However what’s freaked me out essentially the most is greater firms like Microsoft and Meta beginning layoffs after I thought they had been extra secure.
There are lots of people who’ve by no means been laid off earlier than and it may be a traumatic and isolating time. However I am a veteran in relation to layoffs.
Listed below are the primary 5 issues it is best to do
1. File for unemployment the identical day as layoffs
After I was first laid off I had no thought easy methods to file for unemployment. Be sure to can entry no matter web site you used to trace your pay stubs. Additionally, ensure you have your severance settlement available as a result of you will have that info for unemployment.
Put aside just a few hours to file for unemployment on-line. Do it proper after you are terminated whilst you nonetheless have adrenaline: Use the “disaster mode” to get it performed so that you by no means have to take a look at that documentation once more.
Do it instantly as a result of it takes a while to kick in and it’ll enable you mentally shut that chapter of your life.
2. Course of that the layoff is not your fault
My dad works in tech and he all the time warned me that workers are simply numbers to firm management. He would say that you simply’re only a quantity on somebody’s spreadsheet that turned a value they might afford to remove.
Layoffs aren’t a mirrored image of you or your failures and that took me a very long time to just accept.
Typically I query how this might occur to me 4 instances in a row. However you’ll be able to’t let your self go down that street of pondering. It is actually onerous to return again from it emotionally.
3. Use your time whilst you can
I used to be speaking to an previous supervisor who was additionally laid off and he or she advised me that while you’re center class that you simply both have time or cash. And proper now I haven’t got cash however I’ve time. I attempt to take a look at that as a possibility.
I believe it is vital to take just a few days after you are laid off to reap the benefits of the uncommon incidence the place you even have free time. It is one thing that will by no means come once more in your 40-plus 12 months profession.
So I’m going to Goal or Costco in the midst of the day when it isn’t crowded, or I’m going to a day exercise class. I additionally attempt to get all my errands out of the way in which like going to the DMV.
Taking this time is so obligatory to organize you for the lengthy street forward of discovering employment.
4. Attain out to your community
If it is your first layoff, chances are you’ll really feel ashamed and reluctant to inform folks. However I’ve discovered that lots of people are keen to assist and assist you however they should know what is going on on. Each job I’ve gotten post-layoff has been as a result of a colleague or acquaintance referring me.
It is tacky, however your community is your internet price.
It is actually useful to be in Slack teams or Fb teams. I exploit the Slack org Tech Girls and my bootcamp alum group. Nevertheless it’s not sufficient to only be a part of these teams — you need to take part and provide recommendation as properly.
After my second layoff, I reached out to bootcamp alums about openings. I used to be interviewing like loopy however felt like nobody was giving me an opportunity. A good friend from bootcamp invited me to her work and I used to be lamenting to her about how tough it has been to discover a job. One in all her coworkers walked by and knew of somebody who was hiring. And that is how I bought my job at Dropbox.
You must be actually shameless about reaching out to your community — however folks actually need to enable you land in your ft.
5. Work out your dream job
Use the time after a layoff to determine what you really need out of a job.
I sit down and write down what energized me about my earlier job and what did not. For instance, I actually like determining technical issues. I hate coordinating comfortable hours or occasion planning.
After that, I discuss to as many individuals as I can about what their jobs seem like and I take into consideration what I like and don’t love about their positions. And thru that I can design a dream job for myself.
This course of helps me discover course after I’m feeling uncertain of the place to show. I additionally extremely suggest studying “Designing Your Life” by Invoice Burnett & Dave Evans in case you’re feeling actually misplaced.
Proper now could be a tough time to be laid off. The job market feels loopy and plenty of firms have stuffed their headcounts for the 12 months. I am fortunate that I’ve the luxurious to not go ‘balls to the wall’ with my job search proper now. As an alternative, I am prioritizing determining my subsequent transfer, learning up for engineering interviews, and having many, many preliminary calls to set myself up for fulfillment in January and February.