IT layoffs: 7 tips to develop resiliency

Don’t let layoff anxiety bring you down. Check out this expert advice to bounce back better than ever
1 reader likes this.

Tech companies have been laying off workers in droves since late 2022, and the trend looks likely to continue in the coming months. As an IT professional, you need to find a way to remain healthy and productive if you are laid off.

Here are seven tips for developing resiliency in a time of rampant tech layoffs:

1. Don't take it personally

Recognize that the job loss has little to do with you as an individual. It is not a reflection of your skills or capabilities or your potential to contribute stellar results to any organization.

It is partly due to changing economic conditions but mostly a result of ineffective planning and engagement by your former employer. Even if you feel they undervalued your potential, remember that not every organization will.

Practice resilience by getting a do-over – consider it an opportunity to explore new possibilities.

2. Spend time with family

Look at this time as a golden opportunity to enjoy time with your family and friends. If you have children, spend time with them and participate in local activities together. If you can afford it, plan a family trip or visit someplace you’ve always wanted to go.

[ Also read 4 tips to freshen up your IT resume in 2023. ]

Surrounding yourself with people you love and who care about you will bring happiness and security, giving you the mental space to think calmly about your next career move. You will not feel alone, which will reduce stress.

Think of your life’s responsibilities as juggling balls. Some of these balls (family and health, for example) are made of glass, while others (work) are made of rubber. If you drop the rubber ball, it will bounce back. But the glass ball will break.

3. Reflect on your career journey so far

Talk to a close friend or find a coach or mentor to help you retrace your career story. How did you get to where you are today? What stories have you created for yourself and the world? What skills have you gained? What kind of trust have you earned from people? Who would include you as someone who impacted them? Who had a major influence on your life and career?

Many people mistakenly think they are indispensable: If we’re not there, a customer will be disappointed, a product release will be delayed, or a shipment delivery will be late. But the truth is, we are all dispensable. Come to terms with this fact and build your life and career around it.

Mentors and coaches can provide practical perspectives and suggestions to help you bounce back quickly to your next career path.

4. Develop new skills

We all understand that technology changes rapidly (consider that just a few weeks ago, the world had never heard of ChatGPT). Use this downtime to take online courses on new topics and areas of interest – enroll in an art class, learn a musical instrument, or check out public speaking. There are many opportunities to venture into new areas that will expand your horizons for future work.

When you add additional skills to your resume, you expand your thinking and possibilities. LinkedIn can suggest new career options when your profile lists new skills or certifications.

For example, I started my career in the engineering design of hybrid automotive transmissions. I also signed up to be a volunteer quality assurance technician, which enabled me to learn about manufacturing, production planning, and assembly lines. This knowledge helped me to get my next job in supply chain planning and relocate to Silicon Valley, which was a game-changer.

5. Consider a new industry 

Even if your career so far has been in technology, there’s no reason you need to limit yourself to that industry. Today, technology is used everywhere – in hospitality, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, shipping, aerospace, and more.

You should have a portfolio of transferrable skills. In my career, I moved from automotive to high-tech to aerospace industries over a period of 12 years. During this shift, I went from engineering design to supply chain planning to program management. The unique perspectives I gained from these industry and role shifts allowed me to ask questions that those who had been in the same industry for decades had never considered. I was seen as an innovative thinker, which helped me rise quickly in my career.

6. Engage with a social cause

Find a social cause that is meaningful to you, or act on a problem or issue that has been bothering you. Research organizations that address social causes you care about and volunteer. Sharing your expertise and time will give you a sense of purpose, which fosters resilience.

This energy will shine in your conversations and interviews, leaving a positive impression on the people you meet. It sends a message that you use your time wisely, get involved in projects, and give back.

7. Consider starting your own venture

We all sometimes end up in situations we didn’t plan for. Blame (or credit) this on the universe and turn it into an opportunity to do something different. Have you always wanted to start a company or a non-profit? Do you have a product idea that’s been on the back burner because of work and life demands? Now may be the time to revisit those entrepreneurial aspirations.

As I’ve previously written, the word “entrepreneur” comes from two Sanskrit words: anthar (inner) and prerna (fire). Most successful startups are driven by that fire within their founders – and many started during a downturn. (Here are ten unicorns that were founded when times were rough.)

These habits can be inculcated, practiced, and continued even after you land your next job. Make resiliency an integral part of who you are.

[ Learn the non-negotiable skills, technologies, and processes CIOs are leaning on to build resilience and agility in this HBR Analytic Services report: Pillars of resilient digital transformation: How CIOs are driving organizational agility. ]

Dr. Ravi Gundlapalli is the founder and CEO of MentorCloud and the author of The Art of Mentoring. Before founding MentorCloud, Dr. Ravi led supply chain solutions for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, Raytheon, and Hitachi Global Storage.