I saw a great piece of advice in a recent story on U.S. News & World Report called 10 things to do on the day after you're laid off: "Write a thank-you note to your former boss." I like that. It can't hurt, and if your boss hears of openings elsewhere, you're now that much more likely to get the referral.
Geeks and other tech employees are a little different from the vanilla workforce, though, so I wanted to put together a list of specific things that people in our part of the economy might want to consider if they're let go. Here's the rundown.
Quoted passages in this story are from other CNET employees, many of whom, like me, have spent time among the alternatively employed.
1. Get involved in an open-source project It's where the most interesting and influential products are being developed, and more importantly, many open-source projects are filled with people who are also connected to companies that pay their engineers. Plus, obviously, working on a development project will keep you sharp and expand your skill set.
2. Go to start-up fairs Wherever people are pitching new businesses, be there. They're all hiring. If not now, then soon. I am partial to the Under the Radar series (I helped start them and moderate at many of them), and there are several a year. Update: I just talked with the organizers of the next UTR event, which focuses on mobility startups, and they've created a special pink slip discount: $200 off admission, includes entry to the opening night reception for even more networking. There are 20 tickets at this rate.
3. Get project work You may not have a daily gig, but you still have your skills, and there are people who need them. Head over to a project marketplace like oDesk or eLance and pick up some work.
4. Update your profiles Go to your pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc., and let people know you are available for new projects. While you're at it, proactively send out notes to your trusted associates that you are looking for work. As we say here at CNET: "duh."
5. Learn some new skills No, I don't mean to learn Rails if you're a Java guy. That's obvious. I mean cooking, rock climbing, riding a motorcycle--something that you didn't have the time to do while you were an FTE.
6. Answer some questions Scan Friendfeed and Twitter Search for people asking questions in your areas of expertise, hang out in message boards on things you know stuff about. You'll see what's going on in the industry, you might be able to help people out (always worthwhile), and you might also land a tip for a gig.
7. Get a girlfriend or boyfriend Don't let the fact that you have no job, per se, slow you down. You can still earn some dough. You will have more control over your schedule. And you can spend some of your newfound time with your new friend, assuming this friend doesn't have his or her own 18-hour-a-day engineering job. … Read more