With the venture funding slowdown and a global economic downturn, many tech companies are protecting themselves by massively laying off their staff. From Shopify to Africa’s own fintech, Wave, this layoff trend has left many tech bros jobless.
We caught up with some of those affected to know how they’ve been faring since their unfortunate termination. Here is what they had to say.
“I live on borrowed money” — Seun, 27
I woke up one morning to discover that I had been removed from the company’s Slack group. I also couldn’t log into anything requiring my work email. It wasn’t until I saw a termination notice in my personal inbox that I knew what was going on: I had just been fired because my company could not afford me in the coming months. This crushed me, and I haven’t fully recovered since then.
Life has been extremely difficult because I didn’t have savings before my termination. I was receiving a huge salary and thought life would always be good. Now, I live on borrowed money. I’ve also had to cut down on a lot of things. For instance, I now eat at home instead of eating out. I’ve also canceled my vacation plans. I really wish I had saved enough money to cushion myself in times like this.
“This is my second month looking for another job to no avail” — Sarah, 30
I returned from two weeks paid time off when my manager asked to see me. I thought this was about my promotion at work, as I was due for one. But to my surprise, the meeting was to fire me. The next day, I got kicked out of the team’s Slack and official communication channels. Even worse, this happened at the beginning of a new month. So I didn’t get paid a dime.
While that shattered me, I still managed to be optimistic because I thought I wouldn’t have a hard time finding another job. After all, I’m well-skilled and experienced. I think life laughed at me because things haven’t turned out as I expected. This is my second month looking for another job. I’ve applied to over 100 companies and made it to about 15 interviews. I haven’t gotten an offer yet. Freelancing has kept me afloat, but the money isn’t enough to maintain my baby girl lifestyle.
“Life hasn’t been bad because I have three jobs” — Clinton, 40
Unlike some of my affected peers, my layoff was actually “cute.” A month before the termination, the leadership team had already told us about the company’s dwindling revenue and how non-core members, whom I was unfortunately a part of, were going to be affected. So I had a month to prepare. We even had a goodbye party.
Thankfully, I work three jobs. And so, life hasn’t been bad for me. I won’t lie; I’m slightly affected because that job was my favorite and highest-paying. Nonetheless, I’m good as I’ve taken certain lifestyle changes to help me adjust, pending when I get a great offer. I’m constantly applying for new jobs, but none have clicked so far. I believe I’ll get a new job soon, though.
Think your company might also be letting people go soon? Here’s how you can protect yourself.
- Develop an indispensable skill. Companies fire staff they think they don’t need. This means what you need to do is learn a skill that contributes to your bottom line. Think about this question: What are those top three skills that bring my company the most money and customers? Those are the skills you should hone and relentlessly brag about at work.
- Look for growth opportunities in-house: Companies tend to downsize certain departments and grow others during layoff seasons. If your department happens to be one that will likely experience downsizing, try transferring to a growing department. Do this by honing relevant transferable skills and identifying ways you can add value to the targeted department.
- Network internally and externally. Now is the time to warm up to the stakeholders at your company. This doesn’t mean you should kiss ass, but try to offer value and stay on top of their mind. This way, you can easily protect yourself from getting the ax. Externally, build a solid relationship with people in other companies, especially those you desire to work in. Doing this will give you an edge if you ever get fired. Unlike other laid-off workers, you might never have to beg for jobs. Instead, there will be referrals at your doorstep.
- Stack up your emergency fund. No matter how you try to protect yourself from a layoff, your best might just never be enough. For this reason, you should prepare for such a possible outcome by building your emergency fund. PiggyVest can help you achieve this seamlessly. With it, you’re guaranteed to have an emergency fund that will give you peace of mind if you’re eventually let go. Don’t make the same mistake Seun did.
- Don’t be caught unprepared: Besides having an emergency fund, start applying for other jobs already. You should try freelancing on the side if you can. With these in check, you’ll most likely be unfazed if you’re ever laid off.