Businesses are having to work harder than ever to be leaner and meaner to avoid joining the many who have failed and folded. Some are selling out to attractive purchase bids or even hostile takeovers while others manage to survive and prosper by trimming employee numbers across the board, in certain pockets or by closing some locations. However it happens, this all means the inevitable shedding of employees. Whatever the reason behind it, it doesn’t feel good to hear you’re being made redundant.
The lead up to Christmas, and the end of the financial or at least the planning year for many businesses, can be the biggest crunch time. If you find yourself being told that your job no longer exists, even if you’ve had plans to move on and have been waiting in hope of a decent payoff, you may find yourself feeling badly treated, undervalued. Useless, rejected. You may even experience feelings similar to grief, going through a rollercoaster of emotions from shock, denial and anger through to bargaining for a better outcome, testing the waters to see what may lie ahead, but also possibly passing through a stage of depression.
What are you going to say to your partner? How on earth are you going to find another job with many others in a similar situation? Who’s going to cover the bills? What will your friends think? Will future employees view you negatively because you were “let go”?
It’s time to stop and see things another way. We are all masters of our own destiny and you can turn this situation on its head purely by approaching it in the right way. The 7th stage of the grieving process is acceptance. It’s the job that’s redundant, not you. Redundancy can be a gift, giving you the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and consider an industry or job role you never thought you’d have the chance to explore.
Follow the Fish Hook Careers Positive Action Plan to getting back in the job market and you’ll be ready for your next move, in many cases ending up in a better place than before.
Step 1: Be Prepared. Long gone are the days when a job was for life, and no job is totally secure. So it’s always good to have an eye and an ear out for backup options or different ways of working, should you need them. Acknowledge that your value is in your ability and experience and this will still apply whenever you move on.
Step 2: Go Easy On Yourself. However it’s dressed up, being told you’re no longer needed may throw up all sorts of negative feelings. Acknowledge these emotions and give yourself time to digest what’s just happened. Take a step back, but also look forward to what opportunities may lie ahead 6 or 12 months from now.
Step 3: Question Handling. Be ready to answer questions about your situation. Knowing what you’ll say when people ask what you’re going to do next (when you don’t actually know yourself) will make conversations less stressful. A simple “I’m taking time to consider my options” or “I’m ready to take on something new” will suffice. Or flip it to your peers and ask them in return if they’ve ever been made redundant, or question what they would do in your shoes?
Step 4: Digest and Reflect. Maybe a couple of weeks on from “the news”, take time to think through how you’re feeling, writing down what you miss, what you don’t miss, what could have been better. It’s like the end of a relationship. What you need to do now is make sure that the next one measures up to your expectations.
Step 5: Esteem Building. Make a list of your achievements in your previous role. This isn’t your CV, but a go-to list that will lift your confidence, help you to remember how much you’ve achieved and serve as excellent examples to pull out in interviews. Of course it’s also helpful to note what areas you’d like to improve on while you have the time to take on some additional training (there are many free or low cost professional courses through Business Link or through various providers online).
Step 6: One Door Has Closed. But many more can open. This may be your chance to apply for a role you never thought you’d consider. You might be set for a pay increase, a better work life balance, a more convenient location or more inspiring colleagues. It’s time to work out what it is you really want. Whether you find your new job in a similar line of work as before, whether you need to secure employment quickly for financial reasons, or whether you decide to take advantage of the freedom to throw all your cards up and see where they land while your redundancy payout keeps you afloat.
Right now it’s January 2020, make it your resolution to tackle life after redundancy with the mindset that this is an opportunity to develop and grow. Go mindfully through the process of thinking through your response to being made redundant, acknowledging your feelings and aspirations, and then taking step action. You will have learnt a lot about yourself and are now ready to prove yourself as resilient, flexible and absolutely employable in your next interview.
Written by Lorna Dunn
Freelance Marketing Consultant, Pure Communications Cambridge Limited