The truth is that planning to exit your current job or company is stressful – regardless of the circumstances. Yet, the tech world has been destabilized as of late. We’re seeing:
- Massive layoffs at large companies
- Layoffs at smaller tech startups
- Shifts in company culture as employers call people back to the office
- The shutdown of Silicon Valley Bank caused extra pressure and stress in an already-tense industry
Many tech employees are now facing the harsh realities of being laid off or proactively seeking another job with more stability in light of company culture changes. If you’re planning an exit or find yourself in the midst of one unexpectedly, there are a few key things to consider.
What’s Your Runway?
Transitioning in your career is a challenge. If you’re going through layoffs or want to explore what’s next, having a cash runway to support some time away from your desk is critical. This much-needed space can help you clarify your goals and what you want from your next chapter.
Leverage your past credit card and banking statements to understand your spending and compare it to your cash savings. Using these two numbers, you can see how many months you have before you need to collect a paycheck again.
Check Your Benefits
What benefits were exclusive to your current (or previous, if you’ve already left the company) employer? Some organizations offer unique benefits that add up over time. For example, your employer may have provided the following:
- Low-cost health care
- Gym or wellness memberships
- Mental health care stipends or therapy reimbursement
- Adoption reimbursement
- Stock options – RSUs, ESPPs, and ISOs, in particular
Knowing exactly what your employer offers can help you to look for comparable benefits packages at a future employer.
At FPC, we talk to our clients often about the importance of securing your own life and disability insurance coverage outside of your employer. That’s because employer coverage is usually offered at a lower group rate. If you change jobs or go through a layoff, you’re left exposed to a level of risk nobody wants to face. This career transition can be the impetus for seeking life and disability insurance coverage through a third-party provider.
In the event of a layoff, you will also need to look into gap coverage for medical, dental, and vision insurance. You may be able to access COBRA coverage, or you may need to use this job transition as a qualifying event to seek coverage through the Healthcare Marketplace.
If you’re going through a layoff or walking away from your job, you may have a limited window to act on your various stock options. You must evaluate your holdings to ensure nothing is left on the table.
Vesting, Exercising, and More
When you’ve either been granted or purchased some form of stock options, there are a few scenarios to consider –
- You have purchased shares that have not vested. Your company may have a clawback arrangement that allows them to repurchase these shares from you at the same price. Be aware of the rules, and clarify what will happen to these shares.
- You have vested shares that you haven’t yet exercised. Whether you are laid off or leave a company voluntarily, you may have a 90-day timeline to exercise your options. However, this window differs depending on the type of options you have, as does what happens after the window expires.
Some stock options, like RSUs, are more cut and dry. If you leave your company (voluntarily or otherwise) with vested RSUs, you own those shares outright. You control what you do with them, and the company cannot buy them back from you. However, if you leave the company with unvested RSUs as part of a past grant you were given, you will likely forfeit those shares.
Finding The Next Opportunity
There have been many heavy-handed rounds of layoffs recently and while this is heartbreaking for many, it also means the tech industry (and your personal network) are accustomed to finding new “homes” for those who have been impacted. There are a few key steps you can take if you’ve been laid off or if you’re looking for your next career move:
- Connect with your network. Reach out to past mentors, employers, or colleagues who you’ve enjoyed collaborating with. Let them know that you’re open to work, or simply offer to connect for coffee or a brief phone call. Networking can help to keep you top of mind when new opportunities arise.
- Explore what you love to do. This is an opportunity to lean into work that truly lights you up. Consider what tasks in your previous role you were passionate about and what you’d like to do more of in the future. Maybe now is the time to get continued education or training in a specific area of your industry.
- Rethink your retirement horizon. Going through a career transition can move your retirement timeline up or down – depending on what you choose to do next. If you think you’ll need to “start over” at a new company, planning to adjust your timeline to be a bit longer may make sense. Alternatively, if you are already close to retirement and you are ready to move on to a consulting type of role or a new chapter in your career, you might look at what it would take to adjust your timeline forward to make the transition sooner rather than later.
Need help planning or preparing for your exit? The FPC Wealth team is here to assist you. Contact us today by clicking here.