Fri. May 24th, 2024

I’m a tech worker who got laid off twice in a year. I’ve made good money — but I’m paranoid it will happen again.<!-- wp:html --><p>Amber Smith currently works as a product owner for an insurance company.</p> <p class="copyright">Courtesy of Amber Smith.</p> <p>Amber Smith, 27, went into the tech industry after college. But she was laid off twice in the space of a year in the sector.She said she's made good money in tech, but it's a tough industry.</p> <p><em>This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Amber Smith, a 27-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa, about getting laid off from two tech job in her 20s. The following has been edited for length and clarity.</em></p> <p>I’ve been <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/laid-off-by-small-tech-firm-jealousy-recovering-2023-4" rel="noopener">laid off in the tech industry</a> twice. </p> <p>I never would’ve expected this back when I was in college. I was a double major in business and economics. While I was doing my master’s degree in business administration, I worked for a consulting company that helped recent graduates get into the tech world.</p> <p>I appreciated that there were a lot of different things you could do within tech and I decided to go work for a small company that did lighting for smart buildings. </p> <p>I started in June 2021 but I was laid off the following May. I got another job but was laid off for the second time within a year, in February 2023, when I had just turned 26. Both times were a shock, but I think I used those experiences to better myself and grow. </p> <p>I've learned a lot, gained a lot of experience, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/big-tech-salaries-what-you-make-google-apple-amazon-meta-ibm" rel="noopener">made some good money</a>, but I don’t know if I would work in tech forever. The thought of whether I’m going to get laid off is something I’m worried about. </p> <h2>After my first layoff, it kind of felt like I didn’t have a support system</h2> <p>At the company I started working for in June 2021, I was an agile coordinator, which is a combination of two roles, a scrum master, who generally runs the meetings, and a business analyst; who documents requirements for upcoming features that developers will work on and gets answers to their questions.</p> <p>It was a small company and people had to wear multiple hats and take on a lot of different responsibilities, which I really enjoyed. I was early in my career and wanted to learn. </p> <p>Because they were a relatively newer company, they weren’t set in their ways. There wasn’t a lot of red tape to getting stuff done. </p> <p>I remember being very nervous on my first day. I was in a suit, but everyone else was dressed really casually. I felt like I stood out, but it was nice to know the company was relaxed and didn’t care so much about what you wore to the office. </p> <p>I've worked at other places where it seems like everyone is really old and I'm the only young person, but here, there were other people in their early 20s. </p> <p>Smith started working for a company that did lighting for smart buildings in June 2021.</p> <p class="copyright">Courtesy of Amber Smith.</p> <p>I had been there for about 11 months when I got the news <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/linkedin-laid-off-surviving-unemployment-2023-5" rel="noopener">I was being laid off</a>. I started crying immediately. </p> <p>It kind of felt like I didn’t have a support system. I had my parents, but asking them for money would be a worst-case scenario. I was worried about my health insurance. However, it was good that I didn’t have children and didn’t have to worry about supporting anyone else. </p> <p>I have a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/list-6-generative-ai-side-hustles-to-boost-your-income-2023-2" rel="noopener">side hustle</a> selling clothes on eBay and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/ultimate-guide-selling-poshmark-according-6-figure-sellers" rel="noopener">Poshmark</a>, which was able to bring in some money while I was looking for a job. I didn’t have to accept the first job that I saw. I could be a little picky. </p> <h2>When I was laid off again, I knew that I could get through it because I had done it before</h2> <p>Within two months of getting laid off, I got my next job at a financial technology company and started working again in July 2022.</p> <p>I was an associate product owner, working to determine what software features the development team would work on next. We had a lot of features we wanted to do, so I could plan out which were the most important for our 12-month road map.</p> <p>One day in February, after I’d been working there for just over six months, I logged on to work, and my Slack wasn’t working. I tried to create a ticket with the tech team but that didn’t work either. So I went to my emails and saw a message informing me that it was my last day at the company. </p> <p>I cried again, much more this time. I was shocked that this could happen to me again, but at the same time, I understood that I was still very new at the company and they would ultimately be fine without me.</p> <p>It really sucked, but I knew that I could get through it because I had done it before.</p> <p>Immediately, I got on LinkedIn and posted that I was open to work and started updating my résumé. By the time I had a layoff meeting with HR and my manager, I had already taken steps to move forward. </p> <p>I decided I would take some time to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/traveled-europe-without-husband-for-first-time-2023-11" rel="noopener">travel to Europe</a> and to rest. I got my next job at an insurance company through a referral from a friend’s boyfriend and started in June 2023. I’m a product owner now, which is a step up from my last position. I feel like I’ve gained responsibility. </p> <p>Smith decided to travel to Europe after she was laid off for a second time.</p> <p class="copyright">Courtesy of Amber Smith</p> <h2>I wanted to continue in the tech space, at least for the time being </h2> <p>The tech industry is still attractive to young people who want to make good money out of college. I was able to pay for grad school and build up my retirement savings and my emergency fund, so I think it set me down the right path that way. </p> <p>But <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/layoffs-happening-at-tech-firms-that-are-doing-just-fine-2024-2" rel="noopener">tech is a tough industry</a> right now. I think people need to be aware of the downsides, mainly the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/tech-layoffs-contagious-get-worse-analyst-2024-2" rel="noopener">potential for layoffs</a>. Even at my current job, I’m still a little paranoid.</p> <p>When I was applying for jobs, one interviewer looked at my résumé and asked if I was a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/gen-z-happy-job-hopping-quit-without-backup-oliver-wyman-2023-1" rel="noopener">job-hopper</a>. It has been disappointing having to tell people about my layoffs. I also had to explain what happened when I went to networking events and family reunions.</p> <p>Ultimately, I think I made the best of each situation. Between the two companies I worked at before my current job, I was able to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/dream-job-linkedin-laid-off-google-high-salary-2024-1" rel="noopener">increase my salary</a> a lot pretty early on in my career, from $78,000 to $95,000 a year.</p> <p>Both times I was laid off, I did think about my future career, asking, “Is this a sign that I should change career paths and do something else?” but I have experience in the tech world and get paid very well for someone my age. I wanted to continue in the tech space, at least for the time being. </p> <p>If I were to get laid off a third time, that might be my sign that it’s time to go do something else. </p> <div class="read-original">Read the original article on <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/tech-employee-laid-off-twice-tough-industry-2024-2">Business Insider</a></div><!-- /wp:html -->

Amber Smith currently works as a product owner for an insurance company.

Amber Smith, 27, went into the tech industry after college. But she was laid off twice in the space of a year in the sector.She said she’s made good money in tech, but it’s a tough industry.

This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Amber Smith, a 27-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa, about getting laid off from two tech job in her 20s. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I’ve been laid off in the tech industry twice. 

I never would’ve expected this back when I was in college. I was a double major in business and economics. While I was doing my master’s degree in business administration, I worked for a consulting company that helped recent graduates get into the tech world.

I appreciated that there were a lot of different things you could do within tech and I decided to go work for a small company that did lighting for smart buildings. 

I started in June 2021 but I was laid off the following May. I got another job but was laid off for the second time within a year, in February 2023, when I had just turned 26. Both times were a shock, but I think I used those experiences to better myself and grow. 

I’ve learned a lot, gained a lot of experience, and made some good money, but I don’t know if I would work in tech forever. The thought of whether I’m going to get laid off is something I’m worried about. 

After my first layoff, it kind of felt like I didn’t have a support system

At the company I started working for in June 2021, I was an agile coordinator, which is a combination of two roles, a scrum master, who generally runs the meetings, and a business analyst; who documents requirements for upcoming features that developers will work on and gets answers to their questions.

It was a small company and people had to wear multiple hats and take on a lot of different responsibilities, which I really enjoyed. I was early in my career and wanted to learn. 

Because they were a relatively newer company, they weren’t set in their ways. There wasn’t a lot of red tape to getting stuff done. 

I remember being very nervous on my first day. I was in a suit, but everyone else was dressed really casually. I felt like I stood out, but it was nice to know the company was relaxed and didn’t care so much about what you wore to the office. 

I’ve worked at other places where it seems like everyone is really old and I’m the only young person, but here, there were other people in their early 20s. 

Smith started working for a company that did lighting for smart buildings in June 2021.

I had been there for about 11 months when I got the news I was being laid off. I started crying immediately. 

It kind of felt like I didn’t have a support system. I had my parents, but asking them for money would be a worst-case scenario. I was worried about my health insurance. However, it was good that I didn’t have children and didn’t have to worry about supporting anyone else. 

I have a side hustle selling clothes on eBay and Poshmark, which was able to bring in some money while I was looking for a job. I didn’t have to accept the first job that I saw. I could be a little picky. 

When I was laid off again, I knew that I could get through it because I had done it before

Within two months of getting laid off, I got my next job at a financial technology company and started working again in July 2022.

I was an associate product owner, working to determine what software features the development team would work on next. We had a lot of features we wanted to do, so I could plan out which were the most important for our 12-month road map.

One day in February, after I’d been working there for just over six months, I logged on to work, and my Slack wasn’t working. I tried to create a ticket with the tech team but that didn’t work either. So I went to my emails and saw a message informing me that it was my last day at the company. 

I cried again, much more this time. I was shocked that this could happen to me again, but at the same time, I understood that I was still very new at the company and they would ultimately be fine without me.

It really sucked, but I knew that I could get through it because I had done it before.

Immediately, I got on LinkedIn and posted that I was open to work and started updating my résumé. By the time I had a layoff meeting with HR and my manager, I had already taken steps to move forward. 

I decided I would take some time to travel to Europe and to rest. I got my next job at an insurance company through a referral from a friend’s boyfriend and started in June 2023. I’m a product owner now, which is a step up from my last position. I feel like I’ve gained responsibility. 

Smith decided to travel to Europe after she was laid off for a second time.

I wanted to continue in the tech space, at least for the time being 

The tech industry is still attractive to young people who want to make good money out of college. I was able to pay for grad school and build up my retirement savings and my emergency fund, so I think it set me down the right path that way.

But tech is a tough industry right now. I think people need to be aware of the downsides, mainly the potential for layoffs. Even at my current job, I’m still a little paranoid.

When I was applying for jobs, one interviewer looked at my résumé and asked if I was a job-hopper. It has been disappointing having to tell people about my layoffs. I also had to explain what happened when I went to networking events and family reunions.

Ultimately, I think I made the best of each situation. Between the two companies I worked at before my current job, I was able to increase my salary a lot pretty early on in my career, from $78,000 to $95,000 a year.

Both times I was laid off, I did think about my future career, asking, “Is this a sign that I should change career paths and do something else?” but I have experience in the tech world and get paid very well for someone my age. I wanted to continue in the tech space, at least for the time being. 

If I were to get laid off a third time, that might be my sign that it’s time to go do something else. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

By