Careers & Interviewing
For those affected by the layoffs in tech, how do we prepare ourselves for success again?
Question from Zanik
For those affected by the layoffs in tech, how do we prepare ourselves for success again?
Answered by Kelly Snodgrass
Leadership & Wellbeing Coach

First off, you already are successful! I know we are still in the thick of layoffs - but I love the quote “rejection is protection”. It has always been a great way to remind myself that moments that bruise the ego are usually things I look back on with gratitude - though it usually takes a few months (ok, sometimes years!) to have that hindsight. So right now… I’m guessing your ego is likely a big black and blue bruise if you have been laid off recently. And I want to help with that.

Emotionally, you might be feeling scared. You’ll be thinking things like, “Will I be able to find another job soon? A recession is looming after all.” A level below that, you likely are feeling unsafe. Your financial security has been threatened. And money is required for your survival.

I’m highlighting these things not to scare you further - but because acknowledging what is going on inside your beautiful brain is a key part of moving forward. Based on my experience, setting yourself up for success starts with getting into a headspace where you feel safer again. Because if you don’t feel safe, you cant perform at your best — literally!

The tl;dr on the neuroscience behind this is that only once you feel safe (aka your nervous system is regulated) does the cortex part of your brain become accessible. And your cortex is the part of your brain that helps you do the networking & interviewing you need to be at the top of your game on!

So how do you go about regulating your nervous system? The recommendations are annoyingly simple, but thoroughly researched. Things I swear by and are proven to work are:

  • Journaling. Try Morning Pages, or a quick daily check in where you ask yourself “How am I feeling today?”. Know that 30 seconds can be just as effective as 15 minutes! Journaling is a grounding practice proven to quell overthinking and calm the mind.
  • Breathwork. Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, and breathe out for 4. Set a timer and do this for 2 minutes. It can be that simple! I personally prefer guided meditations, so I love using the app Mindful Mamas (which is especially helpful to me as a new mother). Calm app is also a non-mother alternative I enjoy! Breathwork is a great way to release baseline tension that we tend to forget is even there.
  • Nature. Choose your favorite setting - ocean, forest, garden or otherwise - and find something specific to focus on. The vines on a tree, the undulation of waves, the petals of a flower. Give yourself a few minutes to appreciate what a miracle it is that you exist on this floating rock in the sky! In being intentional in nature, you are letting the rhythms of earth guide you back to a more relaxed state.

Once you feel your body relax - like you can breathe a teeny bit easier - you’ll want to get into the practicalities of feeling successful again. I find a 2 pronged approach had suited my clients best in this respect:

  1. Shamelessly speak to your friends, ex-colleagues & neighbors about your need for a job. Your first degree connections will want to help you if they can, and in this market you are most likely to land a job through a referral.
  2. To broaden your reach - simply get out of the house (or dabble in new online spaces like courses or communities, if you’re remote!. Spend time doing & talking about things you love, bumping into new people while you're at it. Allow yourself to focus on who you are outside of your career - as this allows for you to network from a confident, casual place.

While this may feel weird, scary or backwards to not be applying for jobs 24/7 when you're unemployed, it has tended to provide the job opportunity my clients really wanted to simply land. The slog (& continuous rejection) that comes with applying to as many jobs as possible is what tends to drain your energy and leave you feeling demoralized. Of course, still plug away at some job applications in the meantime … but if you believe a job can find you through a more relationship based (& energizing!) route … who knows, it just might.

If you're looking for more advice on how to get hired at your next dream job, get access to Outpace's guide - Secrets To Success: Getting Hired at the Best Paying Tech Jobs (for free!)

About the author
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Kelly Snodgrass
Leadership & Wellbeing Coach

Kelly started as an engineer and became a growth hacker at Uber before scaling Operations at Snapchat and leading teams of 100+ at hyper growth startups.


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