Layoff to Liftoff: Surviving Downsizing in the Tech Industry

Kodeco’s guide to surviving tech layoffs offers actionable tips on stress management, job search strategies, and staying productive post-layoff to prepare for your comeback. By Joey deVilla.

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Establish a Routine

cozy-looking clock

With your documentation now in place, it’s time to start your new job: getting a new job.

Working life defines how most of us spend our weekdays, and without a job, you may find yourself feeling adrift. This is fine for the first few days of your new work-free life, when you should be taking some time off to adjust anyway. But once you’ve taken that time for yourself, you need to introduce some structure to your days. It will help keep you moving toward your goal, and it might even boost your mental health by giving you something positive to focus on.

You should design a routine that aligns with the natural fluctuations in your energy levels throughout the day. In his book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” author Daniel Pink says that our waking day has three phases:

  • A peak, when our mental performance and mood is at its highest,
  • followed by a trough, when they’re at their lowest,
  • and finally, a recovery, when they climb back to a place approaching the peak.

The suggestions below are based on this ebb and flow. I won’t present an hour-by-hour schedule; instead, I’ll give you some guidelines that you can use to craft a daily agenda.

Start Your Day

The way you start often sets the tone for the rest of your day, so you’ll want to start it right.

  • Wake up at the same time every weekday — and not too late!: A consistent waking time, just like the one you had (or should have had) when you were at work, will give you a sense of purpose and help ensure that you stick to a routine.
  • Have some kind of morning self-care ritual: My morning ritual is a start-of-day 10-kilometer bike ride around my neighborhood, which lets me pick up a coffee and run errands at the same time. Yours could be some other form of exercise, meditation or prayer, reading a chapter from a book, or another activity that gives you a positive start to your day.
  • Try to have a “quick win”: Life after a layoff will be filled with moments where you feel like you’re constantly losing, so it’s important to start your day with something that feels like a “quick win.” U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven likes to say, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Successfully completing the first task of the day, he argues, will give you a small measure of satisfaction and pride that will inspire you to take on the next task, which in turn will inspire the next one, and so on. If you’d rather not make your bed, find some small task that you will complete at the start of every weekday and make it a habit.

Weekdays and Mornings

Being unemployed, you’re not bound by business hours — but the people hiring are! With that in mind, here are some suggestions on what you should do:

  • The “networking and contacting people” part of your job search should happen on weekdays during business hours. This ensures that you can reach and be reached by the people necessary to secure your next job: recruiters, hiring managers, contacts, employees at the places you’re applying to, and anyone else who can help bring you closer to the goal.
  • The best email window is between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. If you want to ensure that a recruiter, hiring manager, or other important person, especially if you’re trying to contact them for the first time, do it during this window. Your email will arrive at the start of their day on the days when they’re well into their weekly work routine and not busy with the catch-up work that typically happens on Monday or the finishing-up work that typically happens on Friday. An email that arrives during this window has the best chance of being seen and getting a timely response.
  • The best email window is also the best window for finding and filling out job applications. Many HR departments post job openings at the start of the day. If you’re looking for new job postings at the start of the day and promptly responding to them quickly, you increase the chances of being one of the earlier applicants. Between a general HR staff shortage (many layoffs in 2023 were of HR personnel) and reports of job openings receiving hundreds of applications, you want your application to be among the first 30 to 50 submitted.
  • The second-best email window is between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Many people with busy mornings tend to catch up on their email during lunch. Keep these emails brief, as people reading emails during lunch are more likely to do so on their phone rather than their computer.
  • Try not to send an email on Friday afternoon. Unless it’s time-sensitive or urgent, or if the recipient is expecting it, this is the worst time of the week to send an email. This is when people are beginning to wind down their work or racing to finish it before the weekend begins, and are generally not paying attention to outside news. This is why press conferences on Friday afternoons — what journalists, politicians, and PR people call the “Friday News Dump” — are usually for bad news that the teller hopes will slip under the radar.


Afternoons are a good time for work that doesn’t require as much networking and communicating. I have found that they’re good for these sorts of job search activities:

  • Research potential workplaces: Find out more about the companies that you’d like to work for or the people you’d like to work with. Look at their sites, get independent information about them from places like Glassdoor,, and Blind (keep your time on that last one to a minimum; it’s useful, but often toxic), and see if you have any first-, second-, or even third-degree contacts there.
  • Find out what’s happening in your current area of specialization or the area you’d like to specialize in: Learn about that area’s trends, news, and updates. This is useful not just for your job search but is also a great source of talking points for interviews.
  • Fill any gaps in your technical knowledge: One of the downsides of having a job is that it often focuses you on a specific set of technologies or a specific type of applications. Use the opportunity provided by all your newfound free time to learn those parts of your tech stack that you don’t know well or would like to know better — or to learn an entirely new tech stack. This is an opportunity to go back to that online course or tech book you left unfinished.