Another Reason to Network

The layoff parade continued this week with cuts announced by several companies. I won’t call out all the names; you can find them listed on Techmeme pretty quickly.

Having been riffed twice during the dot-com era, I cringe whenever I hear about layoffs. For me, getting laid off was a lasting lesson that forever changed how I viewed work.

It’s a commodity, bought and sold based on market conditions. We’re all free agents at the end of the day, which helped take some of the sting out of the second layoff.

Still emotions run high during layoffs, and this time around, there are more ways to slag your ex-company publicly after a breakup. Expect the Intertubes to be littered with layoff reports, rumors and bitter posts from jilted employees. It’s going to get ugly.

For example, the rumor mills have already brought us the infamous “R.I.P. The Good Times” slidedeck Sequoia reportedly showed its portfolio companies earlier in the month.

The most telling slide is this one, obviously expenses points to people.

So, bent on learning from the past, the layoffs begin. This time though, the layoffs are coming early and are cutting deeply.

I don’t view recent events as separate from the bubble that burst in 2000-2001. Seems to me that this is all part of the same downward cycle that was temporarily delayed. Historically, economic cycles usually last longer than a few years, so we’re in for a correction before the upswing begins. Just my opinion.

Someone threw together a parody of the Sequoia presentation, presented by Whiner Jerkins to their portfolio companies. Funny stuff. Uncov will be full of snark over the coming months too, always good for a laugh.

Anyway, it seems like a good time to update that LinkedIn profile, add some friends to Facebook, and give that thing called Twitter a try. Networking seems like a growth area, despite the news that Hi5 is laying off 10-15%; it’s like Paul says, solve a problem.

Or in this case, accdientally solve a problem.

Any thoughts, advice, experiences to share? Find the comments.




  1. Thanks for your advice and for sharing your valuable experiences. I'd only add substantive sharing/collaboration to your advice to network. I see more than a few folks in my world who get good jobs at places they have already helped solve a problem. So, I'd say after you get a foot in the door by networking, get another one in there by helping out for free. Who wouldn't want to hire who's already helping out? (Of course, you could end up like Kramer:


    Here is a pretty good article about tech jobs vs. tanking economy: It's a good time to be an ERP wonk. We are boring but employable, I guess.

  2. Ah yes, good old TCB. I miss Seinfeld. I know it's syndicated, but it's not the same.

    Your point about networking+ is true, and I didn't mean to neglect it. My assumption was that the networking was with people who would find you valuable.

    ERP is a useful skill to have, no argument there.

  3. Read a great book years ago called “Die Broke”. The author encourages all employees to “fire themselves”; forget about the employer-employee social contract (because it died decades ago) and consider yourself as a merchant, selling your services to a buyer (your company). I've found this perspective to be a great one, especially when the economy slows down.

    Times like these reinforce this “mercantile perspective.” We're all merchants selling services (skills) or goods. When the demand for your service or product falls off, it's time to find new customers or develop something new to sell…or some combination of the two.

    Contractors, consultants and the self-employed have have the mercantile perspective close to the forefront of their thoughts. Employees sometimes forget until times get tough…

  4. I especially like the development of something new to sell. Being without a job, but in a position of weakness, e.g. when you have a family to support, requires the ability to adapt.

    Case in point, I worked as a bartender during my unemployment spates to keep the money flowing. I didn't earn at the same level, but it helped keep the cash coming in and kept me grounded (vs. wallowing in self-pity).

    Plus, alcohol is one recession-proof area, even if tips suffer.

  5. I was at a party at the weekend and when I said I worked for Oracle, people remarked that was a good company to be working for in these uncertain times. That was a flashback to the dot com crash in the space of a few months the talk went from “come join my start up” to are Oracle recruiting that's a good company to be at right now.

    @Floyd, I know that book too – it really struck a chord with me. Despite staying at Oracle for 11 years I always ask myself if 1)I am learning new and useful skills and 2)Am I providing some value to my employer. If either of those isn't true you need to change something as soon as possible.

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