Coping with redundancy

This section of the website is in continuous development. Why have I published this anyway, against all the ‘rules’? This is not a commercial website and I hope you can find something useful on here already and developing this will take a while as I do this in my spare time alongside my full time work as a career professional.

If you are going through redundancy or your are awaiting whether you are going to be made redundant, I don’t have to tell you that this is a very upsetting, stressful and difficult time.

There are things you can do to prepare or ameliorate the effects of redundancy of course. Generally speaking, the process can be the same as the one for planning your next step. The difference is the speed by which you probably will need to go through the process.

One thing that is important to a lot of people is the lack of time in which to find and take up a new position so you don’t get into financial, emotional or health difficulties. 

On this page I’ll go through the process of career planning at a different pace, adapted to a situation where you need to find your next option quickly. I hope it’s helpful in making a stressful time more manageable.

Step 1: Assessment of where you are

where are you with your needs?

Have a look to assess where your needs are most stringent. You will probably be affected at all levels. Usually your opportunity to get fulfilment through work and your self-esteem get a knock. Your relationships may become strained and your feeling of stability and financial securing will understandably be much lower. In the worst case, depending on your financial situation, the roof over your head may be at risk.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, assess risk and what you can do to make your situation more secure is crucial. Have a look at the pyramid and see where you feel you are.

If you have needs at level 1, you need to find a new job now, whatever it is… You can always find a better job later. You also need to register with the job centre if you need help. Alternatively, you need to find a way to secure enough financial means to tide you over until you do find a job. Depending on your situation, be aware that borrowing is rarely the way and may make the situation far worse. It can only be a very, very, very last resort and be very careful.

Equally, if you feel you are all right for the time being at level 1, but you feel level 2 is a real worry because you feel your stability is seriously affected in the middle to long term, you may want to assess where this comes from. It is well possible that your feeling of instability and fear of the future is ‘just’ a feeling. I’ve put just in inverted commas because the feeling is real and needs to be taken seriously. What can you do to find reassurance. Sometimes pampering yourself is all that is needed, but if you feel you need professional help, don’t hesitate to talk to your GP or to a member of your family, a friend or a stranger or charity.

Your feeling of lack of stability for the future could also come from other factors such as physical ability, age, citizenship status and a range of other things outside of your control. Think about the control you DO have and what you can do to minimise risk. Talk to your local Citizen’s Advise Bureau if you feel they could help. If it’s age, ability or even gender, you may need to find ways to increase your chance of finding a new job to compensate for any negative outcome.

If you are still in a job and you will be made redundant soon, do your best to get references, positive written feedback, recommendations and other things you feel are goign to help in whichever (fair and legal) way you can. Gather as much as possible while you can. Also, have a look at the planning section on this website and see if you can find useful hints and tips to make you stand out and to compensate for anything that you feel may work against you providing future stability and relative security. 

Level 3 is really important. Make sure you take care of your friends, family and wider relations for two reasons. They are going to be excellent moral and emotional support for help you get through this. If they are close to you, they will also feel the strain with you, and that’s not you burdening them but them caring about you. So, please don’t worry about this or be embarrassed. It’s all good! Make sure you keep your closest friends and family up to date on what is happening. This will help them put things in context if you feel you can’t cope and you are not your normal self. It will also help you share the burden and it will help keep things within your circle on a level.

On the other hand, try not to overburden friends with your troubles. However much they want to help, every person has their limit. Your friends are there to help but they are not your counsellor, nor is your family. If you feel you need that kind of support, it’s best to talk to your GP or looking for a charity and other people in the same situation. You could even think about colleagues and setting up a support group to help eachother.

Level 4 is more about how you feel rather than practical things. Not having a job can affect your self exteem. So too can having a job for which you are overqualified or a job that doesn’t fit your longer term goals. As far as self esteem goes, the first situation is one to get out of as soon as possible. I’ve seen a lot of people see their stint of unemployment as an extended holiday, but it usually only lasts so long after which the black hole of boredom or worse looms.

The best way to build up your self esteem is to find a next opportunity that’s as good, if not better, than the one you left or had to leave. I’m sure you know best what the next step down is as it’s personal. If you’re hitting rock bottom for a while, it’s best to look for something to build up your self esteem again. This can be through volunteering, which will in turn give you additional skills, work history (yes this counts!) and keeps your social skills/confidence, self esteem and mental health on an even keel. You can ideally choose activities that will add to your profile. Studying or engage in professional development is another idea that can work.

This last point may go quite a long way in fulfilling level 5 as well. Volunteering or doing addtional training can be a real confidence builder. Ideally, though, this level is linked to you achieving another good job that fits in with your skills and abilities as well as your interests. To achieve this, keep your mind open, just as you would need to keep your mind open if you need to find a job urgently because the lower levels are lacking in fulfilment.

Step 2: Building the tools you need

Now you know where you are and you know what your most urgent needs are, you have an idea of what step to take next. Do you have the tools to be successful?

There are certain things you can’t do without:

  • A CV and interviewing skills are the least you need
  • A good idea of where to find vacancies comes in handy as well
  • You also need a bit of money to be able to go to job interviews and buy the clothes you need for those if you don’t have them already
  • On top of that, tell everyone you know you’re looking for a job

Other things that are good to have are linked to increasing your chances for finding a good job that suits you:

  • Networking: tell everyone you know you’re looking for a new opportunity and also tell them what you are looking for
  • Portfolio: if your profession requires a portfolio or if you have to do auditions, make sure that it’s up to scratch
  • A LinkedIn profile that really promotes you
  • Confidence and a ‘can do’ cheeky attitude: even if there is no vacancy, with confidence you can contact interesting parties to show what you have to offer and to promote yourself with them
  • Creativity: to find new ways of getting your foot in the door

If you can and it’s appropriate, involve your family and friends in this and keep them involved.

Also have a look in the ‘Moving into work‘ section on here and the pages linked to this.

Step 3: Where are the best opportunities? – come up with a plan

What do you need to do to reach your next destination? Where are the (best) jobs?

If you have to find a job (any job) quickly, then you’ll probably look at the local papers, have told your family, look at Jobcentre Plus vacancies and have looked at vacancy websites. You can find links on the ‘Links page‘ on here.

If you’re looking for a position that fits in with your longer term career plan, your talent and skillset, then usually there is a bit more involved. Finding a job that ties you over will give you a bit more time and opportunity to do this properly, if you don’t have the time now. Possibilities could be:

  • You have to move to another part of the country (or even another country) to find the opportunities you want – there is nothing available locally that has the things you are looking for. Obviously this is very involved and likely involves moving house.
  • You have to start into a new industry, in a job that is related to what you have done before
  • You want to study full time for a while to get additional qualifications.

None of these decisions are necessarily easy. You need to weigh up the pros and cons taking into account your life situation. Decions like this will have a real and sometimes severe impact on other aspects of your life and require very careful consideration. Here especially, you need to keep all the other people who are affected by any decisions involved.

Step 4: How get there?