How to develop resilience in the face of layoffs

Anastasija Uspenski

Even software engineers now have to think about the proactive steps they can make to limit the impact of a possible layoff.

Almost 200,000 people have been laid off since the beginning of 2023 (197, 985 to be precise, at the moment of writing this, according to the layoffs tracker Event tech professionals’ jobs are not secure anymore.

The tech industry was believed to be invincible, but the reality is that whether you work at a small startup or in big tech, there are chances you’d have do face being laid off.

So, whether you’re a software engineer, data scientist, or UX designer, it’s essential to prepare for the possibility of a layoff. Not only can it shock the system, but it can also take a toll on your finances and mental health. By taking proactive steps, you can improve your layoff resilience and be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way.

We’ll share some valuable tips on preparing for downsizing as a tech professional – everything from maintaining a solid network to developing new skills and improving your finances. With these strategies in your toolkit, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way and come out stronger on the other side.

Make yourself indispensable from day one

Starting a new job can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Once you’ve settled into your role and gained familiarity, it’s easy to become complacent and fall into a routine. However, it’s important to remember that your work continues once you’ve secured the job. Making yourself indispensable from day one is crucial to truly excel and stand out as an employee. This means going above and beyond what’s expected of you and actively seeking opportunities to learn and grow.

One way to accomplish this is by constantly building your skills and knowledge. Refrain from limiting yourself to the job description you received during the hiring process. Instead, seek opportunities to expand your skill set and take on new challenges. This could mean attending industry conferences, enrolling in training courses or online classes, or networking with professionals in your field.

Another way to make yourself indispensable is by actively seeking feedback and growth opportunities. Be bold and ask your supervisor or colleagues for constructive criticism and ways to improve your performance. Take their feedback to heart and make a conscious effort to implement it in your work.

Lastly, to better equip yourself to handle any changes or challenges that come your way, actively make yourself an invaluable asset to the company. This means taking on additional responsibilities when possible, collaborating with others and helping, and staying up-to-date on industry trends and advancements.

By consistently demonstrating your value and striving to make yourself indispensable, you’ll be more likely to thrive and grow in your role and position yourself for more significant opportunities within the organization. Remember, more is needed to fulfill your job duties – actively seek to go above and beyond and demonstrate your commitment to the company’s success.

Keep an open mind and a diverse skillset

The days of having a linear career path in a single industry or function are long gone. To stay competitive and resilient in today’s fast-changing job market, you must be willing to pivot, adapt, and explore new opportunities and industries.

Don’t get too comfortable or pigeonholed in your current role – instead, take the time to build a diverse set of skills and explore different career paths that align with your interests and strengths. Being open-minded and flexible equips you to seize new opportunities and overcome any obstacles that come your way.

The tech industry constantly evolves, and keeping up with new developments is essential. Continuously learn new technologies, take courses, and improve your skills. Staying relevant and valuable to your organization can be achieved by diversifying your skill set. In the event of downsizing, having a diversified skill set can make you an attractive candidate to potential future employers.

Take the time to build a diverse set of skills and explore different career paths that align with your interests and strengths.

Stay up-to-date with industry news

Staying up-to-date with industry news is essential for professional development and crucial in preparing for potential career transitions such as layoffs. Keeping tabs on your company’s performance, market trends, and significant changes in your industry can give you an edge in preparing for any unforeseen changes. You can also set up news alerts on your phone or email, follow relevant social media accounts, and join industry groups and forums to stay abreast of any developments or potential opportunities.

Build a strong and sustainable professional network

Building a network takes time and effort, but the benefits are worth it. To start, consider attending industry events, conferences, or meetups to meet other professionals in your field. Feel free to introduce yourself and start a conversation – remember, everyone is there for the same reason as you, to make connections and learn from each other.

Another way to expand your network is to volunteer for professional organizations or community groups. Not only will you meet new people, but you’ll also gain valuable experience and skills that you can add to your resume.

When it comes to maintaining your network, regular communication is vital. Keep in touch with your contacts through emails, phone calls, or social media. Share updates on your career and ask about their projects or achievements. Don’t only reach out when you need something, but also offer help and support whenever possible.

Having a mentor or advisor can also be beneficial for your career development. Find someone who has more experience or knowledge in your field and who you admire and respect. Ask them to meet with you regularly to discuss your goals, challenges, and progress. They can offer insights and advice you may have yet to consider before and help you navigate difficult situations.

Building and maintaining a network is essential for your career success. By being proactive in meeting new people, volunteering, and keeping in touch with your contacts, you’ll have a support system to turn to when facing challenges or seeking new opportunities. A strong network can also provide you with inspiration and motivation to continue growing and learning in your career.

Negotiate strategically for your future career growth

When you receive a job offer or are negotiating your salary, it’s essential to consider the immediate benefits and the long-term implications of the compensation and benefits package you accept. Your decisions can significantly impact your future career growth and earning potential.

To avoid short-sighted thinking, take the time to research market rates and gather data that can help you make informed decisions. This includes understanding your worth in the job market, assessing the company’s compensation policies, and identifying your priorities and goals. Additionally, feel free to negotiate strategically and advocate for yourself.

This means considering the salary and benefits, such as vacation time, health insurance, and retirement plans. You can also negotiate opportunities for growth and development, such as mentorship programs, professional development resources, or flexible work arrangements.

By taking a proactive and thoughtful approach to negotiations, you can set yourself up for success and growth in the long run. Remember, your initial compensation and benefits package is just the beginning of your relationship with the company. Making wise decisions now can positively impact your future career opportunities and earnings potential.

A strong network can provide you with inspiration and motivation to continue growing and learning in your career.

Prepare your finances

Preparing your finances is a critical step in the event of a layoff. In addition to building up an emergency fund that can cover your expenses for several months, there are other necessary financial steps you can take to prepare for any unexpected changes in your career.

One essential step is to review your monthly expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. To identify areas where you can cut back on your monthly payments, consider canceling subscription services you no longer use, reducing expenses related to eating out or entertainment, or finding ways to save money on your utility bills. By lowering your monthly payments, you can stretch your emergency fund further and give yourself more time to find your next opportunity.

Another crucial aspect of preparing your finances is having a backup plan. It could include building a side gig or starting a freelancing business that can generate additional income if you experience a layoff. Having a diversified income stream can also help you weather any other unexpected financial emergencies that may arise.

Finally, it’s essential to have a long-term financial plan that includes retirement savings, investments, and insurance coverage. By making these financial preparations early in your career, you can minimize the impact of any potential layoffs or other unexpected career changes that may occur in the future.

Proactive steps limit the impact

No job is ever completely safe, and even the tech industry, once believed to be invincible, has been hit hard lately. It is, therefore, essential to prepare for the possibility of a layoff by taking proactive steps to improve your layoff resilience.

Being proactive and taking the necessary steps to prepare for the possibility of a layoff can significantly impact your career trajectory and help you come out stronger on the other side. By following the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to developing resilience in the face of layoffs and positioning yourself for future success.

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