For our series Laid-Off, But Not Laying Down, we’re following a group of laid-off tech workers as they find their back into gainful employment. They are:
- Former VP at Thomson Reuters, Steven Rosenberg
- Former content manager, Heather Fink
- Former startup director, John Hutchinson
- Former startup CFO, Philip Smith
- Former Boost BizDev Joe Waltman
- Former IT project manager, David Schlesinger
Following the holidays, this week we asked each of our job hunters how they handled what could have been awkward conversations with friends and family about their current employment situation.
Their advice for others in same situation? Be honest and get the conversation over with.
“Get over it, be honest and up front about it. Don’t be mopey, sad, or sensitive. It’s reality, and it’s ok. People will understand.”
“This was a tough one. It’s hard having to tell your family and loved ones that you have lost your job. It’s probably as tough as being told by your company that you have been let go. It’s reliving the shock of it all over again. Someone gave me the best advice possible. By putting forth a sense of confidence and strength when you are revealing your employment situation, your family and friends will take on the same sense of confidence. Rather than getting creative with all the reasons you’re not working today, the sooner you tell them the better.“
“It’s funny, I am not the least bit uncomfortable or awkward about my situation. Perhaps it is because I know for a fact that I did a great job at my last position, and my bosses agreed as my most recent appraisal (two months before I was let go due to hard core cost cutting) was excellent, and I have excellent references and referrals from that position. Most I.T. Professionals at some point in their career will find themselves in this position, and I find most people to be very non-judgmental about it.“
“I am a big believer in honesty and transparency. The best way to find a new job is to let people know you are looking, this includes family and friends. I have no idea where the lead that turns into my next job may come from so part of being honest with everyone about what your situation can actually help you solve the problem.”
“I can honestly say that I usually walk away from any ‘awkward’ conversation smarter than I was before. Based on that, my only advice would be to welcome these potentially uncomfortable discussions. “
“Boy, I have no problem being totally upfront on this one when it comes up! Its just business and it happens – big company (ask those EDS people who thought they’d be joining HP, or the 75% of HP’s Corporate Marketing group that was wiped out just a few months ago), startup, whoever ….
No matter how much it sucks, remember its not personal. It seems like it is (“hey, why me? why not so-and-so down the hall?”). As an executive the worst thing about the job is ALWAYS when you have to let someone go for reasons that are nothing to do with their performance. Particularly as a senior executive at a start-up I take it very personally. Not only because I know everyone very well but because as a leader of the business you are responsible for the key business decisions that can make or break the business for investors, customers and employees. You do make the best calls you can at the time with the information you have, and you shift and change as you go – but sometimes things won’t go the way you planned for many reasons, often ones you can’t directly control.
How are our job hunters doing so far?
- No thanks to a few pervy emailers (quit that), Heather tells us a couple potential employers reached out to her after our last article.
- David says he landed a job offer, but turned it down after Glassdoor.com reviews proved negative.
- Philip reports, “While I’ve continued discussions and interviews with a couple of companies the general theme otherwise is “wait until January and we’ll look at things then.”
- John says, “I received one inquiry based on the first article that has turned into an interview, so that is encouraging.”
- Steven: “It is surprising how many opportunities have been presented to me during such turbulent times. I’ve had some very exciting meetings last week. Some were very promising, from a very exciting “Data as a Service” start up to a Fortune 500 company.”
- Joe, you’ll recall, is busy starting his own business.
Laid-Off, But Not Laying Down: Part One