Oh! Am I Redundant?

Oh! Am I Redundant?

Alright, let’s start with the fact that it’s now Autumn, and the Acer Maple trees on my balcony look amazing!

I’ve been taking some time to rest lately, so this post is a bit delayed. Oh, and I also had a fantastic holiday in Turkey (send more Lokum please!). My previous post on LinkedIn a few weeks back summed it up for me; “That wasn’t a Monday I was expecting”. I received an unexpected invitation for a 1:1 meeting with a senior VP, and the news broke that both my team and the entire leadership chain above us were being let go. Well fuck, I guess I’m redundant.

This wasn’t performance related for anyone in the team; it was the result of a business decision to “re-invest for growth”. It’s certainly better than being told you’re a poor leader or underperforming, but it still affects our self-worth and the value we place on the work we’ve put so much effort into. So, naturally, the question of “What’s next for me?” arises.

How Are You Getting On?

smiling cat

The question everyone’s been asking me since this happened. Well, it’s less than ideal, to say the least. As I start to pay more attention to places like LinkedIn, the phrase “the job market is wild” gets thrown around, and I can’t help but agree. There are so many hugeley talented and amazing humans all out there looking for the next place to be. Yes, I’ve had days where I am angry, and trying to write how amazing you are on a CV is hard, it affects how you perceive the value of your work and the impact you’ve had. I felt it was essential to give myself some time to think and understand my feelings while also figuring out my next steps. Now this is a loonnnggggg process, and the ever amazing Helen Patton has a great article; The Resilient Career that is well worth a read and asks the question “How do I want to be?”, what a great question.

How Do I Want To Be?

picture of a terminal showing who am i

A day or two after receiving the notice, I started a document outlining the following. Since reading Helen’s piece and hearing thoughts from others, this document has been guiding me, and it might offer some useful insights for you:

Career Aspirations

  • Who do I want to be?
  • How do I want to show up?
  • What have I done & loved?
  • What do I value & what are my values?
  • What do I enjoy doing and want to do more of?

Career Goals

  • 1 year vision
  • 3 year vision
  • 5 year vision
  • Long term goal
  • Wildcard (are there any areas or things I’ve think might be fun to get into)

CV

  • What is my current CV not saying?
  • Am I missing anything?
  • Who am I as a leader, what is my style?
    • Projects and amazing work from direct reports (if I can link to anything external, do)
  • What makes me a standout professional?

Companies I Would Like to Work in

  • Company name
  • Connections through my network
  • The culture
  • The founders
  • Phase of the business (e.g. building, transformation, optimisation)
  • Roles

Companies I Don’t Want to Work in

  • Company name
  • Reasons why?

Skills to brush up on?

  • Areas I want to refresh based on what I’m seeing on job specs
  • Links to courses, papers, blogs or content

To Do

  • Daily and weekly tasks to keep me on track (with plenty of space for adjusting based on what’s going on or how I’m feeling)

Luckily, I had plenty of documents and information to help answer these questions from previous development plans with my manager and numerous one-on-one meetings. However, I took a moment to step back and rethink what I had written in light of this moment and this change. This really helped me to not just turn around and grab onto the nearest job, to take a moment and think and understand what I want and what will give me happiness in the long-run.

I also made sure to spend time outdoors, not just glued to the computer screen. It’s easy to become isolated in this situation. I got back on the board and did more skateboarding, which has been great, and have taken a lot of photos and videos. Theres a balance between looking for opportunities, chatting, growing your network & avoiding the endless LinkedIn scroll.

Skateboarding: The Great Teacher

picture of a terminal showing who am i

It takes time, and you’re going to fall over… a lot. You’ll learn ‘how’ to fall over, enjoy falling over and then getting back up and going again.

I’ve been skateboarding since I was a kid, took a long break, which I now entirely regret and I came crawling back a couple of years ago. England has weather, and there is plenty of weather to stop you going out, but when I’m on the board it’s great. One thing that I’ve always loved is how skateboarding teaches you to reimagine the world and environment around you, everything you look at changes. It’s also an interesting way to learn when you’re a bit older and injuries last longer, so getting good at falling gets really important!

There are so many lessons I’ve learnt from skating, like how eating shit (falling over) is the main thing you’ll be doing and that’s good. You won’t learn from watching tutorial videos on YouTube, you don’t sit and watch a clip or trick on YouTube to learn how to do it, you watch a video to get hyped to go skate, to get inspired.

Skateboarding has been a great way to have fun without worrying about the constant tech layoffs news that just keeps coming. If you’re part of the tech sector and you get laid off you’ll hear a lot of “I’ve been through so many” or “this is normal in tech, unfortunately”.

Tech Layoffs

Psychological safety is a key in principles in many tech organisations, it’s considered and spoken about much more in the past. It’s extremely important to me in team environments and within organisations, something our team and leadership worked really hard to ensure.

When you work in the tech sector there are often large yearly layoffs and that frequency seems to ever be increasing (and yes there will always be world events that have unexpected impact). How do you manage this, and what responsibility do companies have to build resilience and create psychological safety within their teams to avoid repeatedly letting go of valuable people? Do tech companies hold themselves accountable enough for this, or does the relentless pursuit of change and improvement pose its own challenges? This made me think of the article from Kelly Shortridge around Opportunity Cost of Action Bias which links to a great paper that’s well worth a read, and is applicable in many areas.

“When faced with any decision in incident response, also consider the option of waiting to act.”

How often is that part of the plan? How do we create psychological safety in a tech sector where job security feels almost impossible? These are tough questions, and I believe leadership at all levels should consider sustainable, inclusive, and resilient planning. I also think that this quote above works when met with redundancy, take a moment if you can and collect your thoughts.

As for me, I’m on the search to find the right team, people and place to be and I’m excited for the opportunities that may come my way.

Cheers.

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