2022 Tech Layoffs and (Maybe) Your 2023 Pivot

If you’re working in tech, you’re looking at a challenging year, for sure. The new year shouldn’t only bring you the blues. This is historically the worst period for hiring all year. Imagine this year as a fresh start.

For the past two decades, the brass ring, especially for recent college graduates, was a solid job at a tech giant like Google. Since the early 2000s, thousands of Millennials have pursued their tech dreams, be they software development or web development or public relations and marketing, all replete with an espresso bar in the lobby, free gym membership, on-site drycleaning and organic lunches – and, of course, high pay and stock options. Think of it as a Millennial and Gen Z American dream, with Gen Zers leaping into the market with four-year degrees and certificates in crucial industry segments such as ecommerce, networking and cybersecurity.

All’s not well around the foosball table, however. If you’re working in tech, you’re looking at a challenging year, for sure. We’re seeing a lot of movement in tech center employment, particularly layoffs and hiring freezes. Many of the perks – and a lot of the jobs – are being peeled away. Maybe your best defense is a good offense? Maybe it’s time to really hunker down and put together a real side hustle (or even a few of them).

Most recently, Amazon announced it would reduce headcount by 18,000 people, but November 2022 was the cruelest month for tech layoffs in recent memory:

  • Meta axed 11,000 employees on November 9.
  • Salesforce laid off approximately 1,000 employees, which the company announced November 8.
  • Twitter laid off 3,700 employees on November 4, about half its workforce
  • Lyft reduced its workforce by 13 percent.
  • Stripe announced on November 3 it would reduce headcount by 14 percent.
  • Chime reported on November 3 the company is cutting its team by 12 percent.
  • OpenDoor laid off 10 percent of its workforce on November 2.
  • Zillow is closing its homebuying business (“Offers”) and laying off 25 percent of its staff.

Even Google might be considering layoffs – during an all-hands meeting in early December, CEO Sundar Pichai refused to comment on the possibility of layoffs, telling attendees, it’s “tough to predict the future.” According to Layoffs.fyi, the number of layoffs as of December 2022 was 152,468, more than double the 45,114 layoffs for the same 2021 period. Almost 1,000 companies (968) have laid off employees this year. You might be worried about getting laid off – or perhaps you’ve already been laid off? We want to help. Long a home for some of America’s best creatives, including freelancers, Creative Circle wants to help you pivot and, ultimately, thrive. But how? It starts with flexibility.

You should understand your skills are your own and you can apply them to gig work and freelancing opportunities, but you’ll have to make a shift and start thinking like an entrepreneur. How? If you’ve been laid off from a tech job, or you’re worried you might be, it’s probably time to start side hustling. In a turbulent job market – and an uncertain economy – you need to keep your options open and find new ways to earn income. But how to get started?

It’s always good to keep your resume fresh and sharp, of course. If you haven’t given yours a good solid review and edit, or if you don’t know where to start, download the Creative Circle Resume Guide. Once you’re satisfied, don’t forget to revise and polish your LinkedIn profile (and maybe add a new profile pic?). Now it’s time to promote your skills and build your network – add connections on LinkedIn, reach out to former coworkers, customers and employers and vendors, let your friends and extended family know you’re looking for more opportunities, including freelance and gigs.

We’re rolling through a difficult economic and employment landscape, and you’ve got to stay focused on the horizon as you look left, right, behind and ahead for whatever you find, including low-hanging fruit and short-term projects. Build momentum and bring in as much work as you can manage. And remember, you can produce portfolio-quality work with just a temporary gig. You’re on an entrepreneurial chessboard, and you have to keep moving (and make the right moves).

Our research has demonstrated Gen Z is intensely entrepreneurial: “Organizations seek Gen Zers for their unparalleled digital skills and fresh outlooks…Gen Zers tend to be: ‘more communicative, more competitive’ as well as ‘more independent’ and ‘more entrepreneurial.’” Whatever your cohort, though, with some attention to detail and some elbow grease you can find ways to earn more, whether you’ve been laid off or not. Taking an entrepreneurial approach to your work will also give you more control over your career and finances, and more flexibility. It might even be fun to be juggling multiple projects at once, especially when you’re your own boss.

And if you’re thinking of a career pivot, we like the advice provided in this Forbes Council article by Rebecca Bosl, a career coach and resume writer:

To develop your career pivot plan, take some time to think deeply about the following questions:

  • What is my ideal workplace or culture?
  • What skills do I have? Of these, which do I enjoy using and which do I not enjoy using?
  • What are my workplace values? Some examples would be hybrid/remote work, high pay, a flexible work schedule, change, variety and meaningful work.
  • What are my passions? Some might not be able to be part of your career (like surfing), but they still contribute to it in meaningful waves, particularly your overall mental health.

To determine your passions, answer these questions:

  • If you had unlimited resources in life and knew you would not fail, what would you do?
  • If you were given $500,000 to start a nonprofit, what type of nonprofit would you start and who would you help?
  • What charges you up? What do you want your life to look like?

Finally, the new year shouldn’t only bring you the blues. This is historically the worst period for hiring all year. Imagine this year as a fresh start. Keep swinging, and please reach out to your Creative Circle recruiter for freelance opportunities.

About the author.

David A. Porter is a writer and editor with extensive social media, public relations, journalism and publishing experience. Over the past two decades he has honed his B2B and B2C communications expertise in a variety of industries, including technology, travel and hospitality, investor relations, political campaigns, music and the arts, and fashion and jewelry. A content creation and distribution specialist, his portfolio includes ad copy, blog posts, brochures, by-lined articles, case studies, long-form content, op-eds, pitch letters, PPT presentations, press releases, proposals and RFPs and speeches; he also edits full-length works by novelists and academics.