As the curtain closes on 2018, you might think your job is safe into 2019 and beyond. But a lot of you are nervous, and with good reason: It’s ‘termination season,’ when contracts expire and employers decide to fire employees who are underperforming.
We compiled data by month and year going back to the beginning of 2016. In examining the total number of jobs posted to Dice each month, we discovered a clear trend. While ebbs and flows are natural, there is a dramatic dip at the end of each calendar year, and a large spike in the New Year.
(Because 2018 hasn’t quite ended, we’re unable to view the total jobs posted for December 2018. As you can see with November, the last data point on the chart below, we’re likely on the precipice of another steep decline for this month.)
There are hundreds of thousands of jobs posted to Dice monthly, so the end of the year isn’t feast or famine overall. But comparatively, it’s a down time, and for good reason. The end of each year marks the end of contracts for many positions; typically, new contracts are enacted at the start of a calendar year and expire at the end of that year, so a good portion of those job losses are planned.
Job postings may also be routine. Companies may list their contract jobs by default each new year, as the person contracted isn’t guaranteed to return.
But contracts don’t account for the entirety of such a sharp decline and rebound, so there are also a large number of job losses as the year closes. Some of this is downsizing, of course, but a lot of the churn is simply companies examining performance and choosing to find someone new for a given role.
It’s also tech pros choosing to move on of their own accord; companies aren’t always in control of jobs.
Termination, and How to Prepare for a New Job
Okay, so you’re going to be out of work. Now what?
It’s time for action. You might not feel great about losing or quitting your job, but remember: There will soon be a massive number of jobs posted to Dice. Now is the time to prepare.
First, consider what you want to do next. If it’s the same type of job at the same level you’re currently occupying, great. If you’re looking for something different, or more responsibility, now is a great time to figure that out.
Second, update your résumé to reflect the job or contract you want next. Be sure to list your most recent tenure or contract, as well as all of your relevant accomplishments. Be sure to revisit older positions on your résumé to ensure they’re reflective of your true skills and experience; sometimes, hindsight provides better context on your performance or accomplishments.
Third, enjoy your time off as best you can. Being out of work can be stressful, but now is a great time to do those chores you haven’t made time for, or take a mini-vacation to clear your head (or binge-watch the show you’ve left in your Netflix queue for months). However you need to do it, now is a great time to unwind and get into the right mindset for your next job, because your next job is right around the corner.