At the time of writing this article, I was reduced to 20% of my hours. This means also that my income was reduced by 80%. So, how can I help myself (or how can you help yourself) in such situation so I don’t go into a panic mode and start feeling too much stress on my chest?
I really feel lucky that I am interested in programming and that I am a developer. Even with the pandemic, at the moment of writing this, I still think we are at advantage here because websites need to run, apps need to function and online stores need to sell.
But, even as a developer, you could find yourself being laid off, hours reduced or a similar situation which could hurt you financially.
I’ll try to give some advises and provide ways that helped me not feeling too stressful about this situation. Here is what I’ll write about:
- Be aware – how to help yourself even before getting fired
- Get Recognized – how to be involved in the community and join one
- Find Jobs or Projects – where to apply to find a job or project
If you haven’t been aware before and you already got fired or laid off, you can skip this section.
You can always get fired or laid off. Nothing is certain, especially if a pandemic has hit world-wide.
By being aware that nothing is forever and our industry is changing constantly, you will handle such situation more easily and you’ll have:
- Lower stress levels because you knew something like this could happen,
- a few jobs prepared to send an application or companies to contact,
- hopefully, some extra money on the side.
Because of all those three points combined, I have not panicked when the news have been brought to me about getting my hours reduced.
Try to see the signs
When the pandemic hit the world, our company was still doing great. But, since we are working in hospitality and there will be less guests in hotels or hostels, I knew this will definitely hit us.
Since I am working remotely for the company I could not see or hear anything that could alarm me at the beginning. The only thing I had is a feeling that something like that could happen.
And then, through several company-wide emails, I could see that they could be in a position where they would need to reduce hours or teams. In the last 2 months, it started happening.
Before those 2 months, I was already preparing myself for such situation and I was thinking of what I should or could do if I get my hours reduced. Even though I haven’t got a plan on paper, I did have a few possible exit-plans it.
Jobs and Companies
I am always reading job or project requirements even when I am fully satisfied with my current position. I am doing that to see what are others expecting from me if I were to apply to such.
As a WordPress developer, I can still be a valuable team member even with just the knowledge of regular PHP, but as always, I tend to improve my knowledge from time to time.
So when you can, try to treat yourself with a course or membership.
I went through a few React courses, a few Laravel courses and I am continually improving my skills with WordPress.
I love the WordPress community and so keeping my skills in WordPress fresh, I have higher chance of getting a job involved with that community.
Multiple Income Streams
This could be one of the biggest stress-reducing techniques because you might be financial safe for upcoming months in case you get fired or laid off.
What I’ve been doing for past few years helped me a lot because I can have multiple income streams and thus not be dependant of only one.
But since I was referring my current job as my main job, I always took smaller projects or worked for fewer hours elsewhere.
I would advise you, if you still have a steady job, to check how you could increase your income streams. That can be:
- a temporary project for another company,
- small tasks such as maintaining a website or two (retainers),
- contractor jobs with steady weekly hours,
- your own side-project such as a WordPress plugin (recurring revenue)
Of course, this is a nice-to-have but if your job does not give you enough time so you can have a quality personal (family) life and still work on another thing, you don’t want to do.
At least, I would not recommend you because you could find yourself in a burnout pretty fast.
How have I increased my income stream?
- got a few contractor jobs,
- developed WordPress plugins (not enough revenue, but still there is some)
Getting recognized is something that could help you land a new job much faster. People like to hire those that they know because they trust them more (if they know they are good at the job).
What I’ve done so far to get recognized as a good WordPress developer (at least I hope so) is:
- writing tutorials on WordPress development,
- building and maintaining WordPress plugins,
Of course, there is still more stuff I did or am doing, but they are not related to being a developer such as:
- being an active member of the WordPress community,
- talking and connecting with other people in WordPress through email or other channels,
- being an active member of Post Status club,
- being an active member of Freemius community.
The last bullets could be even more important than those before because theses ones can help you to connect with others and be seen as a member.
If I ever were to hire someone, I would have more trust in people from such clubs and communities because I know they know the community and they know how to work with WordPress.
So, if still have not done anything similar to what I’ve done above, here is what I would recommend doing:
- Start a blog – write about what you’re doing or what you have done already. If you’ve been fired, focus on writing at least 1-2 per week. In a month, you’ll have something to show already,
- Try creating a WordPress plugin and push it to the repository. It can be a simple one,
- or contribute to a project with code (WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads and such) and then write about that on your blog,
- check for some of the known WordPress channels where you can join and connect with others.
Communities that you could join are:
- Post Status Club (paid),
- WordPress Slack (free),
- WP Developers Club (free).
Find Jobs or Projects
We are lucky because if you’re a developer and you have a little ambition, you’ll be able to find yourself a job.
If you’re fired, you have enough time to think about what kind of work-life balance you want to have now.
You could decide to work on a few projects for several months full-time and then have a few months completely off (those months off could be then used to work on your own side project or blog).
You are your own boss now.
So, what I did as a WordPress developer?
First, I let the other agency where I work as a contractor, know what was happening in my life. They immediately offered me an increase in hours which I gladly took and was happy to continue working there.
Another contractor job came in which I could take or decline. Since it filled other hours nicely, I decided to continue working there as well.
Another thing I’ve done is to connect with Kyle from Sandhills Development and see if they were looking for a new developer. Maybe, one day there will be an open spot. Sandhills Development is a company where I could see myself work because of their transparency and also because of the products they are working on (which are really fun to extend).
What does this mean to me? I was able to get several hours back and so get up to around 70% hours than before which if fine for the next few months. After that, I’ll see if I’ll have to change something or look for more jobs 🙂
Since I am still a member of Codeable, I might take a chance there and increase the clients I work with 🙂 That platform is a game-changer as a WordPress developer. The only platform where I can guarantee anyone can find a project within 7 days (I got one less than 24 hours of being accepted).
What would I recommend you for jobs or projects, my fellow WordPress developer?
- Toptal.com (different but still nice to find a job as a WordPress developer),
- https://poststatus.com/jobs/ – Post Status jobs – great companies posting there,
- https://humanmade.com/hiring/ – Human Made,
- https://awesomemotive.com/career/ – Awesome Motive (company behind WP Beginner),
- https://sandhillsdev.com/careers/ – Sandhills Development (company behind EDD),
- https://impress.org/careers/ – Impress (company behind GiveWP),
- https://www.wphired.com/ – not tried, but jobs seem to be good,
- https://freemius.com/careers/ – Freemius (SaaS used by a lot of WordPress business. I use it for all my premium plugins).
Getting fired is hard but fortunately for us, there is plenty of work out there. You just have to sit down, focus and find something you want to do.
Special thanks to: Grow Development (without them, i would have a harder time keeping my head above water) 😀Become a Sponsor