If you’re working in cloud computing in 2024, you’re probably working from home, having maybe a daily meeting with the team, feeling a bit disconnected with the company and it’s core goals, but pretty confident that you play a critical role and you are somehow earning your salary. Or perhaps you’re marking your time, cashing the checks, but wondering when they’re gonna figure out how little you accomplish on a daily basis, how much dead weight you really are. If that’s you, congrats for the honesty, but you gotta listen carefully to what I’m gonna say here, it’s crucial.

Watch this video for a primer:

Tech layoff captured on film

Some takeaways from this experience:

  • the people who are firing you don’t know you, don’t know how many peers you’ve befriended, wooed, done favors for, owe you favors. They don’t know how many customers you have helped, how many veeps you think love you. They just have your name on a piece of paper, along with a script intended to communicate to you that you don’t measure up.
  • no matter what you say, if this happens to you, your time on the clock is near it’s end. No amount of argumentation can change that.
  • your seniority may or may not have any relevance, but being there a short time won’t matter. You haven’t had enugh time to learn the job and show your unique skills? Too bad.
  • you better be prepared. One week your working your JIRA tasks, the next week you hear that everybody on your team are getting HR calls and getting laid off.

I’ve never been laid off or fired. I’ve always lept from one tree to another like that old iPhone game Doodle Jump, stasis for years, then sudden action, then stasis again. I’ve always managed to gain at least 20% in increases in compensation as I have moved, which has led to my current position where, were I to be let go now, my family would suffer. I’ve forgotten how to live on one income. Its been a long time since I had to control my appetites to make ends meet. I’m being painfully honest here.

But that being said, I know I will survive. That is the First Pillar in Tech Layoffs Land. You must retain confidence in your core skills, because those core skills are marketable. If you’re a COBOL programmer, getthefuckouttahere, OR get into legacy mergers and conversions. COBOL was a hot commodity 24 years ago, and you might still be able to find an old VAX system needing maintenance. But chances are, you have some coding skills, or you know how to do database normalization and sql queries, or you know JavaScript. You probably know your way around one or two cloud consoles. Your skills don’t suck. Don’t freak out. rake new_post[] But having skills is not enough. Potential employers need to be made aware of those skills somehow. So, keep that Resume up to date. You need to review that document every quarter, making sure new things you learned in the past months are in the Skills section. You need to keep a list of skills and accomplishments ready for your yearly performance review anyway, so you might as well keep it in your Resume.

Second Pillar: you can’t afford to find work, if you’re broke. So, right now, go open a new savings account in some weird web bank you will promptly forget about, and setup direct deposit to put $100 a month in it. You’re gonna need liquid cash if the HR lady comes calling. DO NOT expect a beefy severance. On that fateful day, the HR lady may forget to mention the beefy severance, because all it amounts to is a weeks salary or less.

Third Pillar: be social. You’ll get that next job more easily if you make your self and your skills known to the most people. I always move from job to job based on recommendations from friends. Hiring on to a new industrial cold, with little knowledge of the company culture, is a recipe for a future layoff. Instead, hire on to a company staffed with friends who are asking you to apply. When your current company is laying off, chances are there’s another company hiring, and perhaps your friends are going there, and perhaps they will invite you in. So be nice to your coworkers and ensure that your skills are well known to them.

Final Pillar: have fun. One of these days, they’re going to carve a rectangle in the ground, and place the remains of you in it. So, try to find some joy in the right-now. Who knows? Maybe if you were more friendly and seemed to enjoy yourself more at your last job, they might have kept you around.