Guide to Making Redundancy Work for You

For many people redundancy is highly traumatic and rates with bereavement, divorce, marriage and moving house as one of the most stressful situations you may ever have to face in life.

If you have been in a job for a long time, it will inevitably have become an integral part of your life. To have this taken away from you can seem like your own personal loss or bereavement.

In the current competitive global market, which can nowadays be affected by so many previously unthinkable influences, company fortunes can change almost overnight, making for an extremely volatile employment market.

Sometimes radical decisions must be made, which can leave you ‘out in the cold’, through absolutely no fault of your own.

However, as with most things in life, there are two ways at looking at your situation:

1/ You are a ‘victim’ and a failure

2/ You view this as an excellent opportunity to completely re-evaluate your career and what is important to you in your job and life

You may well find it extremely difficult to be of a positive mindset and take an optimistic view, especially when redundancy has suddenly been thrust on you!

However, even when you have months of warning and think you have come to terms with your situation, it is often difficult to see past the negative emotions and feeling ‘bitter and twisted’ and as a result waste all this opportunity to be proactively developing your career.

If you have never experienced redundancy or it is something that you previously didn’t manage particularly well, it is important for you to understand how redundancy may affect you and what you can do to turn this negative situation into a positive outcome for you.

There are five main impacts of redundancy, which can be dramatically exaggerated if the redundancy is very sudden or totally unexpected:

  • Shock, denial and anger – why me?
  • Fear of the unknown – will I get another job, can I survive financially?
  • Loss of Confidence/self esteem – do I have any value?
  • Loss of control – you feel this has been taken away as ‘the rug has been pulled from underneath you’
  • Loss of structure – to your daily life or thoughts about how will you cope without routine?

What can you do to help kick start your career?

SMP Solutions top tips for making redundancy work for you:

  • Learn to be proactive and to take control of your career to be the ‘architect of your own future’
  • The biggest mistake many people make is to procrastinate (especially if they are likely to get a good pay off!) and wait to just before or even after they leave before they start even thinking about their next step
  • Worse still, don’t spring into life when you become desperate
  • Getting a job can become almost a full time activity so a good tip is to treat your job search like a project in itself with a start and end date, review points along the way and contingencies
  • Consider what resources may be required to ensure your success
  • If you have access to a company outplacement programme then use it at the earliest possible opportunity
  • If not, don’t feel too proud to get help from a Career Coach or Career Development specialist, it could put you ahead of the game and repay you handsomely!
  • It may not seem like it at the time but this is your great opportunity to take stock and review your career to establish what is really important to you and plan your next step
  • Review your finances – take a good long hard look at your outgoings and incomings, taking account of your partner’s earnings if you have one plus ‘discretionary’ expenditure and everything that you value e.g.  holidays, meals out, sport and leisure
  • This is an incredibly powerful exercise, as you can clearly establish what you need to earn as against what you were previously earning or desire to earn
  • Understanding your financial situation can totally empower you to thinking about your career in a completely different light, especially if you establish that you do not need to earn as much as you had anticipated!
  • Avoid taking the first job offer that comes along just because you feel flattered, relieved or because you feel you have got one up on your colleagues, as you could be jumping from the ‘frying pan into the fire’
  • If you plan your campaign right, you will get offers of jobs that you really want or you may even decide to set up your own business
  • Actively network and use more than one approach for your job search
  • Enlist any other support you can get, including friends, family and acquaintances who have won through redundancy and share knowledge and experiences
  • Surround yourself with positive people as it is all too easy to get in with the whinging negative crowd who will quickly drag you down even further
  • Above all else you must keep a positive mental attitude
  • There is always something else on the horizon that may prove your redundancy to be a blessing in disguise!

If you want to know more about developing your career, visit our Career & Personal Development website