It’s over a decade ago now but I will never forget the shock, and then to be honest, the shame of redundancy – how it really felt to be told I wasn’t needed any more.
Nowadays redundancy is just part of the market and the world. It is just a downside of business, YOU ARE NOT A LOSER OR ALONE. I can separate it out now and see my job was made redundant, not me. I am not a job; I am a unique combination of skills.
This is how it was a gift:
1. It got me off the treadmill
Due to a raging eldest child syndrome, I felt an overdeveloped sense of responsibility to myself, and others at work. I was keeping up appearances, but inwardly hating what I was doing. I thought I’d let everyone down if I left and so felt completely trapped.
2. It made me think about what I really, really wanted
In any career coach book now, you will find minimum of a chapter asking you to stand back and assess what it is you want to do. This is really where the rubber hits the road and redundancy becomes a gift. Try my mind mapping exercise to build your dream job.
3. I got a little bit of tax-free money
I realised you could survive without a job. It was the only time in my adult life that I had not worked and I needed someone to push me off the cliff as it were.
It was the first time I had negotiated on my own behalf and that was a great experience. If you’re in the UK, check out the government website on how to advocate for yourself. Top, top tip… in the first conversation, listen and say NOTHING. Stay calm, you will not snap in two!
4. I did some things I would never normally do
I had worked since leaving uni. It is such an outmoded model now, to study then work work work. I didn’t even do a gap year until my husband and I got married years later. I did a yoga retreat in the Canaries. I did a counseling course. I went into a church and got back in touch with my spiritual side. From there on, that has given me confidence and a peace that I was never going to find at work. My perspective is more broad, I can apply experiences I learned post-redundancy out of work, back into work.
5. Nothing broke when I left work
I kept my network (who, in fact, got me my next job…right back in a subsidiary of the company that I had left!). For your network, you are frozen in time. They don’t feel your shame or hear your inner critic. If they have a use for you,they will find you a job.
6. I became intentional about how I wanted my life to look
I read a brilliant book, by Fiona Harrold called Be Your Own Life Coach. I am so grateful to that little book. I wrote out how I wanted my life to look – in every sense. Do you know what, every single thing on that list has come to pass, from marrying the RIGHT guy, to having children (late, but I got them), to having creative outlets (dress-making)..to writing (my lovely blog!) to encouraging women that you don’t have to be perfect just keep moving (my podcast!). I’ve got a whole new list now. Write your dreams down. Hundreds of ‘em.
7. I became a better recruiter because I had the battle scars to show
I was able to say to each person that came in, looking for work after being made redundant, YOU WILL BE BETTER OFF. I know, I’ve been there. You’ll be a better boss, a more empathetic colleague. That’s gratifying.
8. It was the making of me
I became one of the number of who had been made redundant and it was a positive step for all of them. I got to re-calibrate. I didn’t completely re-invent, I just tacked a few degrees to the left and got on a better trade route.
If you are in danger of being made redundant, or it has just happened to you, I want you to know you’ll get out the other side. Leverage the network, stay tuned on this blog and many others for tips. Listen to my podcast and watch my Youtube channel; it is all about encouraging you, Brand You.
I know there is a financial consideration and once the buffer of any tax-free payment is up, you will be worried. Volunteer to keep yourself busy and distracted. Do an internship to see if there is another career you’d like. Speak to every single person you know and tell them you are ready to get back to work. Do your elevator pitch. Don’t worry, before you know it you will be a good news story for someone else.
Redundancy rights at Gov.uk