By Catherine Adenle
No job is for life any more! For this reason, it’s critical for us all to know how to cope better with job loss and be career adaptable. Those days when you could land a job straight after leaving school or university and keep the job until you chose to move on or retire are long gone. Restructuring, merging, change, innovation and technology have changed the security of jobs.
Even in traditionally safe businesses like the Civil Service, job loss has become a fact of life as organizations are forced to change to keep up with the pace of market shifts and pressures. Knowing how to cope better with job loss will help you to plan and probably make you more successful in your career.
Why me? I am hardworking and productive.
Trust me; it is better not to take it personally. Redundancy is a numbers game, so reducing overheads and cutting positions which have been judged expendable for a variety of reasons is part of the game. For instance, imagine you own a business that’s struggling and about to shut down due to fierce completion and financial constraints. Then, you realize that you can get some services provided by your business for a fraction of the cost somewhere else where the service will be provided by a third party. Not only will this improve your profit margin, but it will also let you stay afloat. Wouldn’t you let go of your current in-house teams that are providing the same services for a lot more money?
Although you may have seen redundancy coming and even take the final redundancy notice as a kind of relief from the uncertainty. However, when it happens, it’s likely that you will feel angry, betrayed and possibly get a bit desperate. These are all perfectly natural emotions but, as ever, it’s how you respond that matters.
When you get the official confirmation, stay calm. Try to focus on the fact that it’s your role that has been made redundant, not you or your skills. I know that it doesn’t change the basic situation, but it will help greatly in preserving your self-esteem. It’s not your fault, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, take a fresh look at your life and see how this window of opportunity can be turned to walls of successes.
The feelings of ‘Loss’ will set in
When your role is made redundant, beyond the loss of income, losing your job also comes with other major losses, some of which may be even more difficult to deal with like the:
All of these feelings are normal, but you have to be pragmatic in dealing with the situation by taking the bull by the horns. Focus on what you have power over and not what you cannot change. See the setback as a temporary thing and think of it as an opportunity to do what’s best for you. Have a plan to look for another job or start your own business and stick to it.
You may have wanted to reshape or change your career for a long time or relocate or adjust your work-life balance. This is the ideal opportunity for you. One of your rights when facing severance is that your employer must give you time off to look for a new job, so use this time wisely to consider all your options.
Your redundancy package and what to do with it
First, find out and know what’s on offer. All over the world, some employers just pay nothing or pay the bare minimum. Others offer more attractive packages. Be careful not to risk losing any offer by getting angry before your appointed leaving date, or by refusing any alternative position they offer you. Your time is yours, take it to re-evaluate before making any decision. Don’t forget that you can discuss with your mentors, friends and family if necessary.
If you are offered another role which turns out to be unsuitable you are not obliged to take it. You have to politely reject it.
What to do with the lump sum of money
Depending on how much you get, you may decide to start your own business or pay off a big lump of your mortgage. If you haven’t got any immediate plans, think long and hard before you blow the lot because the money goes quicker than envisaged.
It could take you longer than you think to find another job, and you don’t want to be homeless or pounding the pavements penniless while looking for another job.
Straight away, if you reside in the UK, sign on for job seekers allowance with JobCentre Plus or the Benefits office. The financial support they provide is part of the reason you pay your taxes every month when you work and by not registering you’re throwing away money that you are entitled to. They will also be able to provide you with useful job hunting information.
Start job hunting using every technique you can think of, including registering on job websites and with recruitment agencies. Read the local and national jobs pages regularly and, if you have a good idea of the companies you want to be working for, approach potential employers directly.
Infographic: 20 Smartest Ways to Snag a Job Now
Explaining redundancy to a potential employer
Regardless of how tough your job search is, it’s absolutely important that you maintain a positive attitude during a job search. Knowing how to cope better with job loss is the first, but staying positive is what will let you move forward. Unless you were made redundant for gross misconduct, redundancy or loss of a job is common these days so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It happens every day to highly placed and good people like you. Be honest and direct with your potential employer and put a positive spin on things in front of interviewers.
If you are asked during a job interview, you can say, “It was a challenge but I’ve overcome the temporary setback, at the same time, I’m pleased to have been given the opportunity to now utilize my transferable skills for my career and take things in a new direction.”
Show your potential employer how tough, resilient and adaptable you are. People admire and desire those qualities in employees and it will improve your chances of landing the job you want. Remember, if you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.
Taking it day by day
Don’t get disgruntled if you are still looking for a job and it seems like everyone you know has an offer. Most experienced job seekers often search for months before finding the right opportunity. You have to unplug yourself from negativity and create positivity to improve your job search. Focus on what can be instead of the obstacles, create a new opportunity in your mind and work towards it.
Remember that job hunting takes time and energy. So it is important to become a Superstar Job Seeker, remain confident, cool and collected but prepared. 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 continue to love life!
If you have other tips that will help anyone to cope better with job loss, share them or share your experience and success story with us by adding your comment below.