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Since companies like Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft are laying off many employees, we should accept that layoffs as a concept will be more common in the IT industry soon, and no company will promise good job security.
In this article, I am sharing some measures that, in my opinion, would help an individual to be prepared for the next layoff. Though this is not directed towards freshers and college students, I hope even for them; this article comes in handy.
These precautions are primarily intended for Indian programmers, but you can also refer to these precautions and find a similar alternative for your job and country.
This is not an exhaustive list, so take it with a pinch of salt.
Let's get started!
After the layoff
Accept that the layoff is beyond your control
One of the surprising moments after a layoff is not being able to accept it. We would have worked hard or stayed loyal to the company for a long time despite better outside opportunities, and still, a layoff is an outcome. It hurts. We try to find answers on how things went wrong and how we can fix them. This behaviour only creates unrest in your mind. The best thing would be to accept that it's beyond your control and identify the next step you want to take in your life.
Take care of your mental health
As mentioned in the above point, there’s a lot of scope for unrest in your mind, and because layoffs are considered performance-based and there is a lot of stigma surrounding layoffs in society, you might feel like a failure. Don’t give in to that thought process.
If people are mocking you because you got laid off, reduce the interactions with them until things get settled and find a group that can be supportive. You can find such people on LinkedIn. An easier way to meet supportive people is to DM people who got laid.
Take help from your network.
One of the things that gets important as you transition from junior to an experienced engineer is the use of your professional network. Get LinkedIn recommendations from your managers and team members. Notify your close friends and colleagues that you are actively seeking a job.
During the layoff
Negotiate the exit terms
One of the things employees are not aware of is that you can negotiate your exit terms. You can't negotiate groundbreaking things here, but you can negotiate things to help you become comfortable after the layoff.
Here are a few things that I have seen people in my circle negotiate with success
- Negotiate the exit date: You can negotiate so that your exit date on the experience letter is reflected as a few weeks later than your actual termination date. This helps you avoid a career break (in case it's taking a lot of time to get a new job) on your resume.
- Negotiate Health Insurance: It is best to negotiate if a person in the family needs continuous doctor consultation or hospitalisation. Having said that, you can request this to avoid emergencies (explained more in the health insurance section below).
- Negotiate higher severance payment: This becomes very important if you lack funds to sustain for weeks without a job. Discuss your situation and let your supervisor or HR know why you need a higher severance payment.
- Negotiate recommendations or recommendation letters: If all the negotiations listed above are not accepted, you can ask your supervisor/manager/HR for a recommendation letter (or LinkedIn recommendations).
Before the layoff
Start maintaining a reserve fund.
Once you get a job, you'll have to start saving money to equip yourself for the next layoff better. This is old-school advice, and you may want to stop reading here but listen to me, jobs in IT are not financially secure, and you can be fired anytime. If our older generations worked in Government, which is very safe compared to IT jobs, and still saved money for the future, why can't we do that?
Maintain a reserve fund. The reserve fund is something that you can use in case of emergencies. I am not talking about health emergencies but a crisis like job loss. Think of reserve funds as reserve fuel in a motor vehicle. Reserve fuel helps you find a petrol pump nearby. Similarly, a reserve fund helps you sustain your family financially until you find another means of financial stability.
Reserve fund value can be calculated in multiple ways. The way I like it is to save the money that covers at least six months of my expenses. This is something I read as a best practice from a startup founder during my college days on Quora (I think it's Jimmy Wales who talked about it - but I can't find the answer)
Get personal health insurance for yourself and your family
This is my favourite recommendation. Even if you are sure you’ll not be laid off, you should get personal health insurance.
Personal insurance helps with a lot of things. It can help you to take a break and do that adventure, or it can help you get better medical treatment for yourself or your parents. This can be a huge burden if you do not have a job.
If you are content with office insurance, buy one for your parents separately. The premium for your parents might increase every year. The quicker you get insurance for them, the merrier the insurance premium will be.
Consider layoffs in your loan planning
While taking a loan (especially a home loan, OMG! Bangalore is super expensive!), it's better to plan a scenario where you got laid off, and it took a couple of months to find a job.
In most cases, the loan planning goes something like this, every year, the average increment is x% basic salary and considering that x% increment, people plan a home loan. This is not a bad idea, but it can be awful if you don't maintain enough reserve funds for loan payments after the layoff.
Finding a job
Finding a job is difficult when you get laid off during a financial crisis. Nonetheless, the steps remain the same if you are finding a job during the normal situation. Just remember, it just takes more time, and have patience.
Prepare your Resume
One of the tiresome tasks for me is preparing my resume. Most of the time, I spend weeks without making a single change. I solved this problem by maintaining a slightly relaxed deadline for a resume update.
Just remember, your resume need not be perfect. It needs to be available for job application. You can make updates to it later on.
Start practising for the interviews
One of the easiest ways to practice interviews is by asking your former colleagues or friends to take your interviews. Most of the time, this is good enough. In case they are busy, consider using platforms like pramp or mentoring-club.
Apply for open positions and reach out to your network for open jobs
Update on LinkedIn that you are #OpenToWork and reach out to former colleagues and recruiters on LinkedIn via message and share your interest.
Finally, a tip from a Venture capitalist on Personal Finance
I follow a venture capitalist from India called Aviral Bhatnagar. His tip on personal finance is very thought-provoking and can help you manage your finances well.
From Aviral's personal finance article.
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