Tales of layoffs, job search and redemption in the covid era.
Part one: Guys, I am gainfully employed!
I got placed. Yay?
My hunt for the the daily grind began back in the penultimate semester of college. I partook in the usual vetting process, involving copious amounts competitive coding, tests, interviews, the whole nine yards. Fast forward to me burning through way more formal shirts than I care to admit, I land a job (the name of the company sounded eerily similar to the phrase “generally eclectic wealthcare”). I wasn’t unhappy with the job, but I wasn’t really satisfied with it either. This was a giant company, which had been consistently losing money for the last many years. The business unit I was hired for was in the healthcare sector, and was one of their few profitable ventures. It was a software dev role, but I knew this was not the environment I wanted to work in - a flailing corporate giant, that was but a shadow of its glorious past. Also, its interesting to note that this was what we call in the placement business a “P+I” offer, which meant that, they were offering a full time role, after my internship ended.
Hunt for the elusive off campus placement
By the beginning of early November, I started looking for jobs over at the greener pastures of the internets. The problem here is nobody replies on the internets, and this resulted in me hounding a lot of good HR folk into giving me a chance to work at their company. This paid off, and after many an online tests, and interviews, I ended up getting picked by two companies. One was an open source giant, which seemed weirdly obsessed with red fedoras, and the other company was an Indonesian travel unicorn (little did I know the fate of this industry at the time). I really wanted to work in a fast growing company, and ended up joining the travel tech company. They offered me the good ol’ ‘P+I’ deal, and I took it.
I genuinely loved my work, and enjoyed working there. I was learning a lot, pushing production code, and coordinating with teams. I was finally gainfully employed.
Part Two: Covid cucked me.
How it went down
We all knew every ship in the industry was sinking, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when the HR called me and told me that they would be rescinding the offer, and would be glad to let me go per my convenience. It was also kind of funny that I lost my first job, before technically even joining.
Hounding the HRs
Well, here is where I wanted to breakdown my covid job hunt. On the whole, I had applied to over a 100 jobs, mainly on AngelList, LinkedIn and company websites.
Here is how that went: I seriously started my job hunt around mid March of 2020, when the lock-down was in place here in India, and layoffs were abound. It was a tough time lose a job, and not many companies were hiring. By April end, I was fortunate enough to have a new job, without compromising on work quality, and compensation.
Here was my general process:
- Look for, and apply to companies that have recently closed a funding round (see websites like inc42 for this).
- Apply to companies on AngelList, even if you don’t meet the experience requirement for it.
- Connect with HRs, managers, and founders on LinkedIn (esp those who have “Hiring!” written in their bio) and kindly, but firmly pursue them. You would be surprised how useful LinkedIn’s advance search is for finding posts with important keywords.
- This one is important - you got to have regular sleepless nights, thinking of your impending unemployment.
The truth here is, its a lot about luck. I have been consecutively lucky for close to a year now. But ngl, I lowkey got hella talent to back it up
Here is a rough split up of the industries these companies where in:
Just in case you were wondering, yeah, I made a spreadsheet. Note that, I have tried to split up companies based on their market rather than tech, for example instead of classifying Locale.ai, and Observe.ai as the same “AI” companies, they are classified as analytics, and automation companies, that happen to use machine learning to achieve a solution.
It is interesting to note that the fintech slice of the pie is the largest, indicating that a lot of companies are sprouting to cater towards out generally underbanked population, but with an impending recession, I am not sure how these companies will do in the future. The ed tech space should be seeing a major growth due to the covid crisis. Safe to say any logistics, or travel company is a dumpster fire at the moment. Also, I stupidly applied to a couple too, just out of curiosity.
Fortunately for me, the company that I am expected to join soon is anticipating massive growth as a result of the covid crisis.
Part Three: Cucked by covid, but I liked it?
To make things clear, I don’t like the idea of getting cucked in any way, shape or form. What I meant to say, on the whole, losing my job, and then subsequently getting a new (arguably better one), taught me a lot of things. I still hate the whole interview process, the meaningless amounts of competitive coding, and being seen-zoned by recruiters on LinkedIn.
What this experience taught me is determination, hard work , and all related gobbledygook. I would argue, it made me a better programmer too. And I fulfilled my life long dream of making a meaning full sankey diagram.
Billionaires don’t deserve bailouts.
Peace, and death to covid.