March 5, 2020

What I'm Seeing Out There: CV-19 Edition

There’s a lot of unknowns right now. Here’s what I’m seeing in the market (and some predictions for the near future).

What a wild couple weeks!

Clients from NYC to SEA are asking me one question: “How is all this uncertainty going to affect my Engaged Pursuit?”

Well, as you can imagine, I don’t have a crystal ball to look into the future…

But, I am seeing some corporate behaviors that I would like to share with you, in addition to some (short-term) predictions as to what I expect will happen over the next couple months.

Bottom line (based on my 20+ years in tech): During times of uncertainty, companies (especially tech organizations) focus on three things: Known (revenue driving) products, their people, and limiting risk. The “vibe” becomes more short-term, with control and “steady-as-she-goes” at the center of the company experience.

Here’s what I’m seeing out there right now:

  • Organizations are starting to make the shift to virtual (especially in Seattle area) … and, I expect this to expand to other regions soon. Some notable tech companies have started to make the work-from-home (WFH) call this week and I think we’ll see more interviews move to Zoom/Teams/Whatever as well. If you don’t have a web-cam, now would be a good time to pick one up – especially if you’re in the middle of interviews.
  • (New) Hiring is still happening … and, I expect this to slow over the next several months. As I mentioned above, companies (usually) focus on their core products and current people during uncertainty, so I do think new roles will start to decrease until more information is available/more certainly exists.
  • Small-talk is consumed by this with hiring teams, so get ready to talk about CV-19 in every conversation (sorry, weather). Enough said.

Here’s some additional (short-term) predictions:

  • “Performance” will be a key area of focus for employees. Getting the basics right, keeping your manager informed on status, checking-in regularly when WFH, and talking about your value should be key things to think about if you’re wondering how to best show-up over the next couple months. Everyone is stressed, so a more intense focus (aka control) on business will start to occur.
  • Long-term career conversations will dwindle. Managers will probably not want to talk about long-term stuff, so if you’re ok with holding-off on broad career discussions I would (for the next couple months). If you’re unhappy/disengaged in your current role, think about immediate ways to address this (help in other areas, prioritizing balance while WFH, see if time away from the politics of the office help, etc). If you’re not sure what to do about your situation, let’s talk.
  • Things will get back to normal. The uncertainty will end, but it’s going to take time. This could be a great opportunity to focus on stress-reducers and yourself. Think meditation, more walks around the neighborhood, more quality time with your kids, etc.

Coming-up next time: I’m going to get back to my focus on resources next time (books, articles, etc that you might enjoy if you have some additional time … or need a break from the news). Of course, I’ll also keep you up-to-date with what I’m seeing in the market.

Wash your hands and here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

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The Engaged Pursuit Podcast

In our weekly podcast, Engaged Pursuit Founder Tom Perry highlights the most pressing issues for employees and managers across the tech sector. With his real-world, relatable style, Tom delivers quick, insightful, employee-centered career content to help tech pros, executives and teams address the issues common to a career in tech -- from job changes and workplace challenges, to bad bosses and feeling “stuck.” Available on Apple and Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast.

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