No job is for life anymore! In the world of work in this century, we are certainly facing some quite dramatic changes. Frankly, the most important career decision and competence is the one that not only equips you to deal with change but, crucially, enables you to also benefit from it. Without mincing my words, this is the single greatest commitment to your career and future that you can make. Change will forever occur in our lives and careers either we like it or not. Sometimes, the change could be for better or worse.
One of the most difficult changes at work is the change involving redundancy. Dealing with redundancy is tough because it’s a change that is forced on you for one reason or the other.
Change in itself is neither good nor bad, it is just change. It is usually not gradual or smooth as it moves in sudden fits and starts.
In your career, dealing with redundancy could be one of the most difficult changes you encounter. Why? Well, it involves you having to cope with the shock and various emotions not to talk of the feeling of powerlessness. However, there are various steps to take in order to make a redundancy change a bit less painful. There is no doubt about it, losing your job can be devastating, but having any type of information needed to be able to cope with the situation is empowering.
Here are the steps for dealing with redundancy:
1. You mustn’t take it personally
Losing your job is extremely stressful, but you’re not alone. It’s an unfortunate fact that hundreds of thousands of people are made redundant every year in the world. You have to realise that this is not personal. It is purely about your company trying to survive by responding to the current economic climate, change in the market and the competitive conditions of today. It is purely a business decision, and your future employers will understand this.
2. Know about the classic stages of change
Know about the change curve or classic stages of change (see below), which will mean that you move from shock to denial then gradually to acceptance and finally to a new beginning. For any change, you are most likely to go through those change curve emotions.
You have to get through the curve. People always do but the sooner you can focus on what’s important to you, the sooner you will move on.
3. Be pragmatic and deal with your emotions
Knowing that your role is going to be redundant is a major shock, even if you suspected before then that it was a possibility. The news will normally cause a range of reaction and emotions as indicated above. These emotions include shock, anger, denial, sadness, fear and a feeling of helplessness. However, you need to understand that there is nothing you can do to change the decision other than to focus on handling the emotions. This you do with the need to be practical and proactive in seeking new employment or going into your own business fast. Acknowledge to yourself first; then speak to your family and friends about how you are feeling. If necessary, seek advice from a professional therapist.
4. Banish negative thoughts
Dealing with redundancy is not easy nor dealing with the negative thoughts that can engulf you. Although it is easier said but you should try not to be negative, especially imagining worst case scenarios about your future. Focus more on how you will handle the situation. Look after yourself, connect with your friends, go out on walks and enjoy your favourite hobby. Keep to your normal routines as much as possible and create some new routines to give your life some structure.
5. You are not alone
Open any newspaper and listen to the news, thousands are made redundant these days. In the modern workforce, most of us will experience redundancy at some point in our career. Think about this and then remind yourself if you are ever tempted to think you are alone. The important thing is not that you have lost your job, but how you deal with losing your job and how you move on to another new beginning.
6. Gather relevant information
Do you know anyone made redundant in the past? Talk to them about how they found work, look online to research strategies. Speak to a mentor or anyone that you respect professionally. If you are struggling with gathering relevant information about dealing with redundancy or coping with the new stage in your career life, then visit any of these:
7. Know your rights
Your employer is legally obliged to follow strict procedures when making any of their staff redundant. This includes making sure that you receive an explanation in writing, and that the job losses are genuine redundancies and not just an excuse for dismissing certain people. Regardless of the length of your employment you will be entitled to some notice pay. Redundancy pay is due if you have been with your employer for two years or longer. Your employer should also try to find you alternative work in the organisation if it can. They have to also ensure that the selection process is fair and objective. Check your employment contract for details, including likely compensation. Check your contract line by line to know what your entitlements are.
It is just a phase that will surely pass. No one can get you down except yourself.
8. Take charge of your finances
When you receive your redundancy payment, don’t get tempted to take a gap year or buy that lovely car straight away. It is necessary to draw up a list of your monthly outgoings and try to determine a budget going forward. This will give you a plan, so that you know exactly how far your money will go, and how long you can give yourself within which to find a new position.
You may be entitled to state benefits during your period of unemployment, so you must register immediately you stop working. To find out exactly how much you can claim, visit your local Jobcentre Plus.
9. Update your CV
Now is the time to take an audit of your skills, competencies and accomplishments that you bring to a job. Use the details to update your CV. Your organization may provide you with the help of an outplacement service. If they do, be sure to take full advantage of this. They may also pay for courses that will upgrade your skill set. It is also important that you get as many written references from your current employer as you can.
10. Start networking today like there is no tomorrow
First, note that networking opportunities are everywhere! “Networking happens everywhere,” says Eric Winegardner, Vice President at Monster Worldwide.
You can network wherever and whenever you find people. Are you already on LinkedIn? If not, go and sign up for an account straightaway. You may not feel like it right now, but it is important that you let everyone in your network know that you are back on the job market. Job leads do come from anywhere. Tap all your contacts and network to improve your chances of finding a new position.
11. It’s time to find your next job
Once you’ve sorted your finances, updated your CV and set yourself a deadline, you can then start to search for work with a sense of focus. If you have been employed for at least two years, you should be given some time off with pay during your notice period to look for a new job. Take advantage of this time off even if you feel disgruntled or angry with your employer. With your updated CV, look everywhere for job opportunities and read up on interview techniques. Plan, prepare and practice for an interview. In the interim, you could try working part-time or as a freelancer while you weigh up your next move.
12. Keep a smile on your face
You might feel like there is nothing to smile about at times but make an effort to keep a smile on your face. Life is good because you are still alive and kicking. You can walk about and look for jobs, you are not defined by your current situation. It is just a phase that will surely pass. No one can get you down except yourself. Cheer up and love life!