EP 32: Tech layoffs – we responded to your questions


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If you’re not going to go out there and talk about your own work, nobody else is going to do it for you.

One of the most frequent questions we have gotten over the last few days is around the layoffs happening in the tech industry. We know several folks impacted, have friends/family impacted and several more nervous about their future. We also had dozens of listeners and viewers reach to us to do an episode so we did a quick episode from our dinner table trying to answer as many questions as possible – and had some perhaps surprising takeaways (more below).

If you’d like us to respond to more questions on this theme or on others, reply to this email – we get to each one.

This week on The Aarthi and Sriram Show we talk in-depth about lay-offs, what your next moves should be, power of networking, shifting careers, consulting, startups, and setting the reset button to prioritize why you got started in tech in the first place. 

Here are 3 takeaways from this week’s episode that resonated with some early listeners.

  1. In tech, your network – constantly building and maintaining it- is key, especially for when you face difficult times.

    One mistake we see folks make is never building a network outside their company; we’re willing to bet that there are a lot of folks at Meta or Google who’ve not met a single person outside of that company in the last year. Unfortunately, people who didn’t network are paying the price now.

    As a first step, think about the areas you want to get deep into (for example, crypto, AI, etc.), and map out the space in terms of key people and companies. Go meet with one person from each company, figure out how the company is doing, where the space is headed, and who else they think you should meet. The goal of networking is to not extract value but to provide value to who you’re talking to. This will sit you in a better position when opportunities come up and might even land you your next role. 
  1. Building an online identity and brand is really important

    If you’re not going to go out there and talk about your own work, nobody else is going to do it for you. Get on Twitter, write a blog post, create a YouTube channel, or GitHub if you’re writing code – it doesn’t matter, just put yourself out there. If you don’t have an existing set of credibility; building an online presence and building connections with key people will make you irreplaceable in the long run.
  1. Give yourself some time to explore options before jumping into a new role (if you have the flexibility to)

    If you have the flexibility, consider taking a few months before you decide on your next role. One common mistake is to jump into a new role immediately while a better path may be to explore a few spaces deeply before making a decision.

    Another part is consulting to explore different options at low downside. For example: a lot of startups don’t have PMs and they need help; if you are a good operator, you are always in demand, and startups always need people like you to advise them.

This might also be a good time to think about launching your own startup. Some of the best startups we know today came through the previous recession cycle (2008/2009) and there are a lot of good ideas out there for you to work on. 

Lastly, being laid-off is not the end of the world. People often make amazing career jumps out of hard times and take a different path that ends up working a lot better. 

Notable Quotes: 

  1. “One mistake people might make is to try and find the next new role almost immediately.”

  2. “You have to think about what brought you into technology in the first place many years ago when you first got started.”

  3. “Being curious is going to always keep you current and employable.”

  4. “People who didn’t network are paying the price and being punished right now.”

  5. “In Silicon Valley, your network is your worth”

  6. “If you’re listening to this and you are in a FAANG company, I would suggest going there and meeting people.”

  7. “I think the best networking is one that is not transactional.”

  8. “The goal of networking is to not extract value right off the bat.”

  9. “I bet there are a lot of folks at Facebook or Google who have not met a single person outside of that company for the last year.”

  10. “Companies don’t like you networking. Culturally, it’s just looked down upon and it doesn’t work for the company, but it works for you.”

  11. “The more you put yourself out there especially on Twitter or social media, people will come find you.”

  12. “Building an online identity and an online brand is really important”

  13. “If you’re not meeting one or two new people every couple of weeks, you’re doing something wrong, in any job. The second part of it, you need to stay connected to the people you already met.”

  14. “People will really remember how you made them feel.”

  15. “You being laid off doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or a poor performer.”

  16. “Some of the best startups we know today came through the previous recession cycle like 2008/2009. This might just be a good time for you to go out there and see if startups are for you.”

——

In this episode, we cover:

[00:48] Why are lay-offs happening?

[05:45] What to do if you’ve been laid-off

[15:55] How do you network?

[30:38] What do you do in a coffee meeting?

[34:14] The art of consulting

[43:09] Exploring new paths

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