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What’s Next?

April 11, 2024
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If you lost your job this year you are not alone. Almost 200k tech workers have lost their jobs as of December 8 and this figure will likely break the 250k mark before the end of the year. Going into the holidays without a job is terrifying. At the same time, you know most companies will not be making major hiring decisions before the end of the year (specially those that just had layoffs and have implemented hiring freezes).

As you think through your options you get more stressed and anxious. On one side you have life coaches telling you to meditate and relax when all you can think about is the fact you are unemployed while your friends are getting end of year bonuses. On the other side you have people telling you “it should be easy for you to get another job” and whereas you know you are capable and have a solid skillset, spending your days frantically sending resumes and getting rejected does no wonders for your self esteem. Most companies will not be making major hiring decisions between now and the beginning of 2023. Instead of spending the holidays frantically sending your resume to any company that is hiring right now, you should spend some time figuring out what you want.

Below is a quick guide that can help you narrow down your choices:

  1. Finding Purpose: What is meaningful in your work and in your life? Is it working closely with a team to overcome a challenge that seems impossible? Is it a cause that you care strongly about? Is it having a positive impact on others? Finding your purpose can help you hone in on the type of industries or companies you want to focus on.
  2. Finding Culture: Which values or leadership principles do you identify with and follow on a day to day? Are you somebody who thrives in collaborative environments where strong relationships and constant communication are the norm or do you thrive in competitive environments where you operate independently and can outperform other high-caliber individuals? Understanding which values and leadership principles you live by, can help you determine the type of cultures that are more compatible for you.
  3. Finding Pace: Are you at a point in your life where you want to take on impossible challenges so you can accelerate your career and maximize your impact at work? Would you rather have a solid and stable career that allows you to spend time on yourself and your loved ones so you can maximize your impact on your personal life? Both are valid and will help you determine which options are best for you.
  4. Finding Dealbreakers: Spend time thinking through your previous job experiences. For each, write the things you loved and the things you hated. Dig deep and don’t get distracted with “nice” or “inconvenient” things. The fact the office had LaCroix is unlikely to be a dealbreaker for you. Having a boss who undervalues you or reacts poorly when high expectations are not met, could be a blocker for you. Understanding what you love and hate can help you discard companies quickly.
  5. Finding Options: Once you understand your purpose, culture, pace, and dealbreakers, you can explore different options. Be creative. Don’t limit yourself to open jobs at companies you know. Look at other options such as:
  • Build: Start your own company. If you are unemployed your opportunity cost is zero. If you have high confidence in your ability to get a high paying job eventually, you could get a small personal loan and cut back your expenses to buy yourself some runway.
  • Create your own job: Perhaps you found a company that you love but don’t see a job opening. Perhaps you see a job opening but it is too junior or senior for you. Reach out to somebody (ideally somebody you know or can get a warm intro to), and pitch a creative solution. Perhaps you do work for them as a contractor, or intern. Maybe you work with them on a project or commission basis giving them the option to see the value you can bring before they commit to hiring you. Sometimes the most fulfilling jobs are the ones you create.
  • Monetize your skills: Work as a freelancer or look for opportunities to add tangible value you can charge for. It is likely a startup might not be willing to pay you the same salary that Meta or Amazon paid you. However, 5 startups might be willing to pay an amount that combined is comparable to what you used to make.
  • Move: More companies are hiring remote. If you move to Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid, or another city with a lower cost of living, you have more options that give you the lifestyle you want.
  • Create: You have something meaningful to share. Maybe it's advice for job candidates based on your experience as a recruiter. Maybe it’s tips on how to build scalable growth loops. Worse case scenario you impact a few people. Best case scenario, you find a meaningful side career.

I hope this guide helps you explore options and figure out what’s next. You are not alone and remember, this might be the beginning of something great.