The professional services are a small world. What happens in one firm is whispered about in the next. So, if you find yourself ‘at risk’ – your role is being made redundant, or the firm is downsizing, or going through a round of compromise agreements – it’s vital that you maintain a dignified and resilient reputation.
Having been there more than once myself, here are my six tips to help you bounce back from adversity.
1. Get some control back.
Unless it’s happened to you, it is difficult to appreciate the feelings when you learn you might not have a job much longer. Alongside feeling shocked, hurt, angry, and upset – you are grasping for control over your worklife. One soon-to-be-made redundant person told me that he had started to have 2 tea bags in his tea. It was his way of ‘getting back’ at his employer and having a little control over his personal situation.
Whilst I am not advocating petty behaviour, do take steps to regain control over your work situation. The sooner you can do this, the sooner you can start positive steps to get your working life back on track.
2. Review the reality of your finances.
A very common first reaction to impending unemployment is a fear over paying the bills and putting food on the table. Take a long hard look at your finances and work out how long, with belt tightening, you can live on your savings. What is the minimum salary you can afford to accept? You may find that you can keep going for longer than your first estimation.
The reality may be taking on a short term role to keep financially afloat whilst you wait for the right role to come along.
3. Resist hitting back at your employer.
However much you want to hit back, it only gives temporary satisfaction and often prolongs the time before you can move on. I do encourage you to take preliminary legal advice though. It’s tempting to kick up a real fuss with your soon-to-be-former employer, but think long and hard about it. The morale high ground doesn’t pay the bills! Having been involved in a class action against a former employer, I can say that the action dragging on and on wasn’t helpful to me finding personal closure.
People have long memories, and you never know when you may need the help or support of people in your former firm. Also remember, there is a chance of redeployment within the firm at the end of the redundancy consultation process.
4. Find personal space & quality thinking time.
Inevitably, when an ‘opportunity’ is thrust upon you, such as your job being placed “at risk”, you evaluate more than just your work life. Give yourself the time and space to assess everything about your life. Unless you are clear about what you are looking for, you’ll be job hunting with with your mind still in a whirl and risking making wrong decisions.
It’s worth spending time with a coach, to help you:
- achieve clarity of thought,
- focus on what really matters and then,
- design & execute a plan to get you on your way to your next career goal.
5. Set yourself specific job hunting goals.
The moment that you start to become successful is the moment you start to move towards articulated, specific goals. This also holds when you are job hunting and rebuilding your life after redundancy. Can you make your goals more specific than just “find a new job soon”?
- What type of role do you want?
- Where do you want to travel to?
- What type of firm do you want to work for?
6. It’s very cliched, but treat redundancy as an opportunity.
You might not feel it right now, but most people do create a better existence after they have been made redundant. I’m afraid that you are going to have to trust me on this one! I’ve been made redundant twice, and come out of both in a far stronger career position as a result of going through the process. I’m not the only coach in our team who has faced career adversity. Our coaches will all be able to help you focus on what is important and how to make your next career move happen.
If your role is at risk it doesn’t automatically mean you will be made redundant. However, there is a strong likelihood – unless you are part of a large pool of people – that your role will finish. It’s important to have a plan to transition your career from being placed “at risk”. Even if that plan starts with a month off to think about what you really want from the next phase of your career.
This website has hundreds of articles about forging a successful career in the professions. Here is a link to other articles about job hunting.
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