Hello Ming, I am really curious about your opinion on something. A lot of tech companies seem to be struggling. A number of companies have cancelled internships, had layoffs, hiring freezes, etc. I am worried.

The company I signed with is tiny (15 people) and does most of its work in the form of short term software contracts. I am not an expert by any means, but it seems like that is a business model that is at the mercy of the economy. My impression is that the company has been doing well up until now (average 1.5 hires per year, recently upgraded office spaces, etc), but I wonder if they haven’t taken a big hit with the economic crash, or will soon. Come July, the company might not have a job for me.

Is there something I should do besides worry? Would it be sensible to apply to the 5 year masters program just as a hedge? Would it be appropriate to email the company at a time like this and ask? What would that email look like?

A: Yes, I’ve heard some companies have cancelled summer internship programs, had layoffs, and hiring freezes. This was even before the outbreak –in early February. I also know of companies who have been really accommodating. Some industries now have an even higher demand for employees (e.g., online shopping, medical, online education).

tl;dr yes, you should be vigilant, and it is very appropriate to email the company. Always keep an eye on what’s happening at an organization and in the market.

It is a fantastic idea to reach out to the company, especially to your supervisor/manager/boss if you know. It’s a win-win for everyone. First, it will show that you are diligent and conscientious. Second, you have the opportunity to learn what the high priorities at the company. Your email to your employer should be up-front: say that you are grateful and excited to start soon, yet you are worried about the future given the economy. Ask about how you fit as a new hire, what are the top priorities, what are the needs and pain-points. Keep this email short as it can get really long, thus ask if it is possible to do a call to talk more.

“to the 5 year masters program just as a hedge?” => The bottom line is this: keep your skills sharp, learn how to learn, and apply new skills.” You will drastically increase your value on the job market. Super important in WFH world.” –from friend Marcus Carey, https://twitter.com/marcusjcarey/status/1240303184368799745. More from Azeria, she shared the same message https://twitter.com/Fox0x01/status/1238636236962779136. You don’t need a degree to learn how to learn. Before deciding on 5 year BS/MS or Master’s program, ask yourself (1) what do you want to get out of it, (2) why do you want to do it, (3) can you afford it?