To reiterate a header we’ve been using for more than a year now, tech layoffs continue.
And it’s not just startups who grew too fast and need to scale down. The top 5 layoffs leaders are the biggest names in tech/business in general: Amazon (18,000), Alphabet (12,000), Meta (11,000), Microsoft (10,000), and Salesforce (9,000).
That’s a lot of people—talented people—being forced to look for new opportunities.
If that’s you, you’re probably wondering some variation of: What the hell do I do now?
My general advice is: Not what everyone else is doing. What is everyone else doing? They’re probably doing the easiest thing to do, which is looking for the same job or a similar job as they had before, in the same industry or a similar industry as they were in before.
You can and should think bigger than this.
If you just got laid off, here are 4 things to consider as you plot your next move
1. Get specific about your personal and professional goals. I think Socrates said some version of: “The unexamined job search is not a search worth undertaking.” Before you jump into a job pool that looks just like your last one, lay out a detailed account of your personal and professional goals.
For example, is your goal really another tech marketing job for a mega-cap corporation, or is it broader than that? Would you be comfortable working in an industry other than tech? Would you be comfortable working at a company without mega-cap aspirations?
What kind of work do you want to be doing, what kind of money do you want to be making, and what types of company dynamics could accommodate that?
2. Ditch your biases—entertain the generalist perspective. One reason why I think I’ve been fairly successful as an investor is that I make a point of seeing the big picture. A lot of amateur investors tie their fates entirely to one asset, or company, or industry. This misses the forest for the trees, and it results in over-leveraged and vulnerable investment portfolios.
For me, I see things coming into and out of vogue all the time. Mega-cap tech might be losing its luster now, but EOG Resources is sitting on major reserves in Eagle Ford. Maybe tech comes back into vogue via semiconductor companies or because of the electric vehicle (EV) credits that Biden introduced.
Fashions fluctuate, companies fade in and out of style, nothing is forever. You should treat your job search the same way. The companies we consider “cool” today won’t be seen that way in 50 years. Adopt a generalist approach to the job landscape; give yourself as many options as possible.
3. Take startups seriously. If you’re one of the 60,000 people laid off from the five giants listed above, you might dread the idea of not working at another company like your last one.
But the reality is, many with mega-cap tech pedigree find comfortable homes at startups. Startups need the expertise, so they’ll give you more favorable upside potential and treat you like an authority—treatment you probably wouldn’t receive at another mega-cap tech company.
4. Reconsider “forgotten” industries. A main criterion in your search should be to “go for growth.” Identify the industries/sectors that are growing in this environment, and hitch your professional wagon to a player in one of those spaces.
This will mean reconsidering “forgotten” industries—infrastructure, manufacturing, biotech—that your fellow job-seekers probably aren’t considering.
And do it quick. Get ahead of the curve, be a unique resume in their inbox. Craft a story around the fact that you’re attracted to this industry, you’re motivated by growth, and you feel you have a future here that you don’t have in the same industry you’ve been in your whole career. You’ll be ahead of the narrative curve, and hirers will be impressed.
Ultimately, all you should care about as a job seeker is: Where can I work that’s in growth mode with blue skies ahead? Not what’s “cool,” not what’s familiar, not what might impress people at a dinner party.
It’s an ideology that extends beyond the job search. It’s a way of life. The less you marry yourself to single concepts or ideologies, the more you become a generalist, and the more of life’s resources become available to you.