Being made redundant can make you feel upset, lost, hurt, angry and devalued and leave you anxious about the future and your finances. But, could it be the opportunity you were looking for to take the plunge?
The economy and changing employment landscape has resulted in many organisations downsizing, but when it happens, redundancy still comes as a shock to most people.
Redundancy is a loss, like bereavement. You follow a similar grief process, going through the stages of shock, denial, pain and guilt, anger, depression and reflection.
More positive stages follow: rebuilding and working through it, finally coming to acceptance and hope – looking forward and planning for the future. Some people complete this process fairly quickly but others take months.
If getting your cards is ‘on the cards’ – you can prepare yourself. Rumours circulate. Managers hint at the possibility. Colleagues start leaving – through earlier phases of redundancy or pre-emptively finding new jobs.
Maybe you bury your head hoping to avoid it, however devising an action plan can help you feel in control of the situation.
Remember – it’s the job that’s redundant. That doesn’t mean that you are redundant. It’s not a personal failure. It’s the failure of the organisation, industry or the economy.
If you have worked in your role for a number of years, you’re probably fortunate enough to receive a redundancy payment that will buy you some time until you can find a new job, or give you the funds to start your own business.
Maybe this is the opportunity you were looking for to take the plunge. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Ask yourself – what do I really want? This is your chance to choose.
Is it better work-life balance?
This might mean working part-time, or in a job with less responsibility, less pressure, less ‘homework’, less travelling. A drop in income can be outweighed by greater benefits in life.
Or a sense of purpose?
It’s great for your self-esteem and mental health to feel that you are making a difference in the world. Volunteering for a charity or community organisation can give you a lift, as well as help others.
It’s not all tea, sympathy and charity shops. Charities are always seeking corporate and community fundraisers, business managers, HR, administrators and CEOs, as well as carers and assistants.
You can use these opportunities to try something new, use your skills, feel like you’re helping others or even find a new career in a different sector.
Evaluate what you really want to do rather than panic and apply for any old job. If you do accept work out of desperation, continue to search until you find a job more suited to you.
Writing applications will boost your confidence. This is the time to show how great you are.
Tailor applications and your CV to meet the essential criteria of each specific job you go for. Highlight voluntary work, hobbies, interests and transferable skills – e.g. communication, attention to detail, team-working, people management, and organisational skills.
Study, train or qualify in an area of interest, or new profession. Fancy being a lawyer or a carpenter? A holistic therapist or medieval historian? Now’s your chance.
What if you could choose when, how, and who you work with? How would it feel to be your own boss? You could start your own business, become self-employed, or work freelance.
Since the recession, there has been a 13 per cent increase in a number of self-employed men in the UK but more significantly, between 2008-2016 there was a 40 per cent rise in the number of women becoming self-employed. It means that women now comprise a third (32 per cent) of all self-employed people (Source: Lord Davies and BIS, 2016).
If you are looking at working for yourself or starting a business, Start-up Britain and the UK government website has the basics for setting up a business or self-employment – registering for tax, etc. Also, check for support from the Chambers of Commerce, and sites such as Start-Ups.
Don’t let redundancy get the better of you. You can be a success. You are employable and, or entrepreneurial – with valuable skills, knowledge, experience and potential.
About the author
Dawn-Maria France is an award-winning and accomplished journalist and the editor-in-chief of Yorkshire Women’s Life, now in its 15th year.
She is passionate about women’s rights, equality and diversity and has written opinion features for the Huffington Post.