You’ve just been told you are at risk of redundancy. Chances are that the news came as a shock (even if you were expecting it), and you are now fearing the worse. However, redundancy may be just the stimulus to help you move your career to the next place. Read on for seven tips to help you quickly get your career back on track.
1. Assimilate the news in private.
Don’t let the way you react to the news colour the view people have of you in the firm.Try to get out of the building immediately after being told – don’t worry about giving an explanation – what are they going to do, fire you? Let’s be honest, you are not going to be able to focus on your work at this time anyway.
Give yourself a little time and space to come to terms with the possible redundancy and to let your emotions out. You really don’t want to do this in the workplace! It may be useful to talk with someone from your support team about the options that are open to you.
2. Take a trip on the redundancy roller coaster.
Having involuntarily changed roles four times in my past working life, I know that gut wrenching wondering whether you will ever get a job again. Or how you will pay the bills? Or will you be seen as damaged goods by other employers? What will your work colleagues say? How will you face them . . .?
Whilst is isn’t easy, it helps to accept that it is very normal for your emotions to be wobbly in the short-term. You will go through the stages of denial and anger before you can move forward. Everyone has different coping mechanisms; however most people find it beneficial to talk with trusted friends and family. This is one of the reasons we advocate building a strong support team for your career.
3. Crunch the numbers.
How am I going to pay the bills? This is for everyone, almost without exception, a present and real fear when we face the prospect of redundancy. This is the time to take a long hard look at your finances, and work out how long you could survive without paid employment. Knowing how long you can remain unemployed is a great way to start planning what the future looks like. It’s important to minimise your outgoings in the short & medium term, as well as making sure you get all the financial help you are entitled to, e.g. your redundancy payout and state benefits.
4. Take stock.
It can be very tempting to aim to go straight into the job hunt and look for a similar role in a similar firm. Resist the temptation! This is your opportunity to take stock and find a new job that will tick all your boxes. Remember that career success isn’t linked to becoming a partner. It’s much more important to be happy and fulfilled than to have a flashy job title.
It is better to delay refreshing your CV until you are certain what your ideal role looks like. Many people, (including me!) report that – in hindsight – redundancy was the best thing that could ever have happen to them.
It’s worth answering the question, “If redundancy is the best thing that is ever going to happen to me, what going to be different about the future?”
5. Try not to be a victim.
In the initial stages of the consultation process it’s exceptionally difficult to deal with the lack of personal control, and very easy to take on the role of a victim. We all wonder: “Why me?”, “Am I not good enough?”, “What have I done wrong?”, “If only I had. . .”. Remember that it is your role being made redundant, not you personally.
To help you get back into the driving seat – remember to tell people that ‘your role is being made redundant’, rather than ‘I’m being made redundant’; and identify positive choices that you can take if you do find yourself without a job after the consultation period.
6. Call in the favours.
Having experienced it twice, I’m not actually sure that it is better to avoid redundancy. The morale during and immediately after a downsizing is always fairly low, and even the survivors suffer. It takes a while for the newly-slimmed down organisation or team to define its new normal. Whereas, those people who leave have a new start to their career, and often end up with better career prospects as a result of redundancies.
There is also something called survivor’s guilt after a round of redundancies. As a result people, whose roles are not at risk, will want to help you out. This is not the time to say “No – I’ll be fine.” This is one of the few times in your life when you will receive many no-strings-attached offers of help. Accept them!
As a minimum, you should be prepared to ask – “Who do you recommend that I can talk to? Who can help me?”
7. Warm up the network and start building your profile.
Whilst being put at risk is no guarantee that you will be jobless in the near future, it is safe to say that the fat lady is starting to warm up her vocal cords. The best way to find a new role is through your personal and professional network. Do let people know that there is a strong possibility you will be looking for a new role – and ask them if they know anyone who you should speak to, anyone who would help with your job hunting. Your employers have a duty to help you find a new role – including paid time off to attend interviews.
Don’t let redundancy stop you!
Redundancy doesn’t have to be the end of the line for your career in the professions. Sometimes, particularly if we have got into a rut, it is exactly the stimulant we need to kick start our careers in a new, more exciting, and more fulfilling direction. Talking to an executive coach can really help you work out what’s really important to you.
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