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Tech Industry Layoffs: Understand, Embrace Change and Succeed

Updated: Feb 12




Introduction:


Recently, I’ve had conversations with people that have experienced layoffs in the tech industry. I've witnessed the frustrations and pain many are going through, so before I continue, I want to acknowledge all of those that have been laid off. I hear your frustrations, and I feel your pain. Having been laid off myself, after two decades in the technology sector, I understand.  Now I help both businesses and individuals obtain the success they want by embracing change.

 

Addressing Common Questions:


Here are some of the top questions I’ve received. Although I don’t know the answers to all of them, I’m going to attempt to answer those that I can, acknowledging all of them, and hopefully getting others to start thinking about this as well.



Why Aren't More Layoffs Making Headlines:


  • Staggering Layoffs: In the fast-paced and dynamic landscape of the tech industry, layoffs have become a recurring theme, often executed with a strategic approach. One tactic frequently employed by companies is staggering layoffs over an extended period. This practice serves to dilute the impact of the numbers, creating a perception that the workforce reduction is more gradual and less significant than it may appear.

  • Percentage of Entire Workforce: While the initial impact of what we as employees, consumers or investors may seem like a “large” workforce reduction, it's crucial to understand the size of the company. What might appear to be a significant number of job cuts could, in truth, constitute for only a fraction of their entire workforce. Although this does not make layoffs any less relevant or easier for those impacted to navigate, it is the reality for large companies having to adjust to the ever-changing market conditions.

  • The data doesn’t lie, if you can find it: A holistic view requires digging into layoffs throughout the fiscal year which would take time and effort. Undertaking such an analysis is not a straightforward task and demands considerable time and effort. It's like putting together the pieces of a puzzle scattered across different months and departments. This process, though valuable, comes with a significant caveat – the return on investment (ROI) in terms of insights gained.



Will Recent Promotions, Pay Increases or Stock Options Keep Me Safe:


  • There is no Crystal Ball: Promotions don't guarantee immunity, nor do awards for being top performers. In fact, it may cost the company more to keep employees if they have unvested stock options that do not have to be paid if laid off.

  • Show Me the Money: Market salary shifts in recent years lead to significant differences in the compensation of individuals occupying the same pay grade or job title. As a result, those recently promoted to be scrutinized first.

  • When Only the Best are Left: Typically, during layoffs, the initial impact is felt by those considered bottom performers. However, as the process unfolds, it reaches a point where even high-performing employees may face the possibility of being affected. This highlights the challenging and widespread nature of workforce reductions, eventually leaving no one immune to the potential impact.




What are the Impact on Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion:


  • Women have a 2-3 times higher likelihood of being impacted by layoffs: Persistent and comprehensive research has consistently unveiled a concerning trend: On average, in recent years, women have made up 27% of the tech industry, yet in recent years have also represented 45% of the workforce affected by layoffs.

  • Some individuals, upon facing a layoff, encounter a challenging predicament: Before receiving their severance package, they are obliged to sign a waiver relinquishing their right to sue on grounds of age discrimination. This practice adds an additional layer of complexity to an already distressing situation, leaving affected employees with limited legal recourse, and emphasizing the power dynamics natural in employment termination. 

  • The potential repercussions extend beyond the immediate aftermath of layoffs: Companies not proactively addressing diversity and inclusion concerns risk derailing their own targets. The goals set for women and minorities in leadership roles may require a reassessment if proactive measures are not taken. This highlights the urgency for organizations to not only meet diversity targets but also to implement sustainable strategies that ensure equity and inclusion at every stage of the employment lifecycle. Not doing this not only jeopardizes individual career trajectories but also undermines the industry's collective commitment to fostering a diverse and equal workforce.



Advice for Those Impacted:


  • Take Time to Process: In the aftermath, it's essential to navigate through the waves of change with a strategic and compassionate approach. Firstly, take the necessary time to process the whirlwind of emotions that inevitably accompany a layoff. Allow yourself the space to reflect on the impact this transition has on your professional journey and personal well-being. This crucial step is not just about acknowledging the loss of a job but also about understanding and managing the emotional aftermath.

  • Remember You're Not Alone: Understand the the prevalent nature of layoffs in today's job market. It's a shared reality, and many professionals have faced or are facing similar challenges. Embrace the commonality of this situation, understanding that it doesn't diminish your unique skills, experiences, or potential. This collective acknowledgment can be empowering, fostering a sense of community and resilience during this period of uncertainty.


Things to Remember Post-Layoff:


  • It's Not You, it’s Me: Tech leaders are frequently handed down a mandate to streamline operations and reduce costs, and these directives are often non-negotiable.  Understanding that workforce reduction decisions are not personal but are rooted in broader business needs is crucial for individuals affected by these changes. Professionals should recognize that these decisions are not a commentary on their skills, dedication, or worth but are strategic responses to the ever-changing business landscape.

  • You have the chance to strengthen or rewrite your legacy: Amidst the challenges, there can emerge an unexpected opportunity for self-reflection and strategic evaluation. Rather than solely perceiving the situation as a setback, consider it a unique moment to assess the alignment of your previous job with your long-term legacy goals. Embracing this reflective period can lead to a profound understanding of your career trajectory, potentially guiding you towards roles and industries that better encapsulate your ambitions.

  • Neutral Situation, Positive or Negative Response: It’s your response that ultimately shapes the narrative as positive or negative. If you embrace resilience, and channel energy into constructive avenues YOU CAN transform a seemingly negative event into an opportunity for growth and self-discovery.

  • "Everything's Going to be Okay": Those were the only words my mother was able to mutter, after we were in a horrendous car accident, when I was ten years old.  They were the words that drove me to relentlessly scream and cry to the paramedics, that she was still alive; after they draped a white sheet over her and pronounced her dead. My mother lived another 20 years after that accident. It took a lot of time to heal, but it was possible because of four little words, her willingness to live and a lot of determination and grit from a ten-year-old that would not take no for an answer. The point of me telling you, this very personal story is, I couldn’t change what had already happened, but I COULD influence my future, as well as my mother's by not lowering but rather raising my voice. Which is what has ultimately lead me to writing this today, and now I'm letting you know, everything's going to be okay.



Let's Inspire One Another:


 If my message resonates with you or someone you know, let's connect to see how we can work together to embrace change and succeed!  I offer speaking packages to groups as well. Embrace Change and Succeed: Navigating Career Transitions- discussing what to do professionally when faced with a career transition, as well as, how to Take the Risk: Showing show up unapologetically, to create the legacy you want to leave behind.


Conclusion:


As the tech industry continues to face waves of layoffs, it's crucial to acknowledge the impact on individuals and diversity initiatives. Embracing change and success in the face of layoffs requires resilience, reflection, and a proactive approach to career transitions. Remember, you're not alone, and this period can be the one you need for personal and professional growth. Make this the opportunity you want, that's what I did. 


If you'd like to learn more about what you can in your personal life, when going through a career or life transition, you can read more here.



© 2024 by JCNewBeginnings

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