One laid-off tech employee’s odyssey: 5 months, 25 interviews, 100 job functions


At occasions, Todd Erickson’s seek for a tech job felt extra like an odyssey.

However after 5 months, about 100 job functions and greater than two dozen interviews with recruiters and firms — together with a remaining sequence of eight interviews that started in December — Erickson accepted a brand new job as a technical author at Vantage Knowledge Facilities on Feb. 22. He begins on Feb. 28.

“It’s been a complete emotional curler coaster. False begins and guarantees. Jobs that didn’t materialize. A whole lot of ready and anxiousness,” stated Erickson, who was laid off in September after six years at his earlier employer, Section Change Software program, a software-development startup in Golden, Colo.

Erickson, 56, is a former lawyer who began working within the expertise sector in 1997. “It has been wild,” he stated of his job search. “I went two-plus months with little or no contact from potential employers and recruiters, after which [had] a number of interviews in a single week.”

Including to his challenges was that at his final job, Erickson had what he calls a “do no matter must be executed” position and didn’t develop an space of experience that was notably “useful on this job market,” he stated.

After being laid off, Erickson spent his days making use of for jobs on-line, meticulously filling out varieties and tailoring resumes for every job. He additionally ran the family — caring for his 13-year-old daughter, Grace, together with the household’s two canines, two cats, hamster and hermit crab — whereas his spouse, a retired instructor, pursued a brand new profession.

It felt like “a number of sitting and ready” for his subsequent job, he stated.

“I might spend all day filling out functions — a pair hours for every utility for administration [or] director-level work — and match key phrases on my resume,” he added.

Complicating issues, he stated, was that quite a lot of job listings on LinkedIn seemed to be scams. One frequent scheme inspired job seekers to ship $50 to expedite the interview course of.

On high of the stress of the job search, Erickson confronted tight funds and a well being situation. He was on unemployment and wanted to take out a private mortgage to pay the payments whereas his spouse, Wendy, who retired as a public-school instructor in June and has a modest pension, skilled to develop into a hair stylist.

And after being identified with a torn meniscus in November, Erickson has needed to delay surgical procedure, regardless of a proper knee that’s swelled to twice the dimensions of his left. The medical advantages at his new job will go into impact on March 1.

“Well being care was as necessary as a brand new job. We misplaced our insurance coverage once I was laid off and we had to purchase it via the Colorado Inexpensive Care program,” he stated, including, “It’s not near equal to what we had earlier than.”

Erickson thought of gig work for Lyft Inc.
and DoorDash Inc.
in addition to contract work earlier than lastly catching a break in his job search: A promising third interview with Vantage in January satisfied him a job provide was forthcoming.

The gantlet of obstacles Erickson confronted was discouraging, however he had been via it earlier than. Through the dotcom implosion greater than twenty years in the past, he was laid off and scrambled to search out work. He went again to training regulation, however he didn’t take pleasure in it.

This time round, Erickson benefited from a bit of fine timing, having misplaced his job earlier than the wave of layoffs that left tens of 1000’s unemployed at Inc.
Alphabet Inc.’s

Google, Fb father or mother firm Meta Platforms Inc.
Salesforce Inc.
HP Inc.
Intel Corp.
Microsoft Corp.
and quite a lot of different tech corporations.

Earlier than the wave of job cuts that began in late 2022, laid-off tech employees had been discovering jobs inside months, stated Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter Inc.
By October, Pollak stated, 79% of laid-off tech employees discovered a brand new job inside three months, and 40% discovered work lower than a month after they started looking.

However by the tip of January, the success fee had fallen to 55%, Pollak advised MarketWatch. “In case you are laid off in December and January, that’s the hardest time to search out work,” she stated.

These statistics are fluid due to the size of severance packages within the tech sector — 16 weeks on common, in contrast with a nationwide common of 9 weeks — and the plethora of consulting and freelance work out there to employees with tech expertise.

“Unemployment numbers are deceiving, in a approach. So long as tech employees take pleasure in monthslong severance [packages], they’re in no hurry to search out work,” Tim McCarthy, co-CEO of marketGOATS, a platform that helps particular person buyers uncover and put money into skillful cash managers, advised MarketWatch.

However there’s one other issue that comes into play for a lot of job seekers. Although folks age 55 and over make up a rising share of all employees — 24% in 2019, in contrast with 13% in 2000, in keeping with information from the Present Inhabitants Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics — a lot of them face ageism within the office. That is notably prevalent within the tech trade, whilst federal regulation prohibits discrimination in opposition to folks age 40 and over in hiring or another facet of employment.

Within the traditionally robust job market of 2019, one in 4 job seekers over age 55 reported difficulties discovering a job and 53% reported having skilled age discrimination within the office, in keeping with a ZipRecruiter enterprise survey that 12 months. In the meantime, employers had been blunt about preferring youthful candidates, even when older candidates had the identical skills. They based mostly that choice on perceived issues about older candidates’ bodily well being, tech expertise, wage necessities and willingness to report back to somebody youthful.

Erickson determined to hide his age throughout his job search, omitting the date of his school commencement from his resume and solely itemizing his most up-to-date three jobs. “Competitors is hard forward,” he stated.


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