Saturday, July 6, 2013

Getting Laid Off

Well, it happened.  Older, wiser engineers than myself told me it is not a matter of "if" but a matter of "when".  And my time finally came--I was one of the folks included in Logitech's round of layoffs last February.

The purpose of this post though is to not analyze my specific situation.  Instead I would like to pass off some things I did to keep my head together and get another job.  What I'm providing below isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.  And really, I'd love feedback if any of this actually helps.  I'm unsure if the ideas below are what got me job offers, or if simply now is a good time to get laid off given how hot the market is.

So without further adieu...

Understand your full time work isn't gone, it simply has changed.

When I got home after being let go, I found that everything necessary to find a new job took just as much time as my old job.  Updating my resume, synchronizing it with linked-in, calling recruiters and contacts for opportunities.  The days after getting laid off were 8-10 hour work days, and these continued until I accepted a job offer shortly after.  I couldn't stop working knowing that the severance clock was counting down.  I went from being a coder to my own sales person and marketer.

Create an Excel sheet.

This is absolutely critical.  My way of problem solving myself out of unemployment was to create sort of a Sales Force style excel sheet to track opportunities.  For each potential company, I had a column for the point of contact (often friends at other companies or the recruiter), the hiring manager (if I made it this far), when to ping them next, and a rating of how good the opportunity is.  The rating of the opportunity was not just based off salary.  I made a scoring system based off of glass door reviews, type of work, commute distance, perceived company culture, benefits package, etc.

Use Glassdoor.

An amazing website with everything you need to know. Pay.  Salary.  Company culture.  Interview questions.  You name it.

Relationships, not cover letters.

I hate writing cover letters, didn't write any, and had no problems what-so-ever.  My beef with them is that they are a formality that state the obvious, and have to follow a weird sort of corporate/business/overly-formal tone.  I focused on connections, contacts, recruiters, and relationships instead.  I would argue most of the hiring managers I worked with didn't seem to care about whether I had a cover letter.  If you have skills, experience, and connections, a company will pursue you.  If you don't, they won't.  A cover letter won't make any difference.  Maybe they are needed if you are a fresh-out, or in another industry than computer engineering.  But for me, nope.

Not decked out, but preppy.

It is better to be overdressed than underdressed, but your attire should come in close to those that interview you.  I wore business casual slacks, a button-up shirt and tie, with a collared sweater.  With engineers in the pacific northwest, I think this is as classy as it gets.

Last (and most important): don't dwell.  Let it go.

Getting a new job is the easy part.  The hard part is to not dwell on all the details of what happened.  There are the questions that will haunt you.  Who made the decision?  Why were we chosen?  Why did they get to stay? What did we do wrong?  What could I have done? And the statements.  We all worked so hard.  Bad f'n choice.  If they only understood everything I did.  It is okay to think these things.  But then take a deep breath, let go of the thoughts, and understand what is done is done and now it is in the past.  And, when you get hired again, odds are the growing company that has added you to the workforce will have a much better environment than the shrinking company that let you go.

For those that are laid off going through the struggles of wondering how they will support themselves and their family, I hope this helps, I feel for you, and good luck!

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