How to deal with redundancy

Have you ever lost
a job you loved? Maybe you’ve suffered
a crisis of confidence after a long and successful
career as a great company was brought to an abrupt end. I want to know what it’s
like to deal with redundancy, and bounce back when it feels
like your world is falling apart. My name’s Kimberly, and I
used to work for Sainsbury’s. I worked straight
out of university, did their graduate
training scheme, and worked for
them for 22 years. Ending up as marketing
and PR manager for beers, wines, and spirits. I was made redundant, and it
came as a complete shock to me, and just saw me ending
my career there, because I really
enjoyed what I did. I had a call from my boss. Sadly she told me that I
was one of the ones at risk. How did you feel? I burst into tears. I hadn’t long been back
from maternity leave, so I had a small baby. We’d just done an extension
to our house and remortgaged, I was just trying to think,
what am I going to do for money. I need to pay the bills,
couldn’t see a future outside of Sainsbury’s. Maternity leave can sometimes
knock your confidence. Did you feel confident
at that point? No. I’d been out of the
game for a year. So it there’s a lot to come
back to, a lot to learn. Yeah, I was just probably at my
lowest confidence level anyway, and then it was a big knock. It isn’t unusual
to feel helpless in a situation like this. Writer and broadcaster
Christina Patterson was made redundant after a 10
year career at the independent. In her book, The Art
of Not Falling Apart, she examines how to cope
when life goes wrong. I’ve lost people
very close to me, and I’ve had breast
cancer twice, and I’m afraid to say it
sounds awful to say it, it felt like the
worst thing that ever happened to me in my life. There was a moment when
I talked to the editor, and he told me he wanted
to freshen the pages up, which is not a
phrase that is ever going to gladden your soul. And I literally felt as if
I was falling off a cliff. And I walked out of that
office, and I didn’t stop shaking for two weeks. I lost eight pounds
in four days. I mean normally I’m thrilled
to lose a pound or two, but when you lose
eight pounds in four days you think oh my god,
something’s really wrong here. It’s a trauma, and that’s how
the body reacts in trauma. So I think you shouldn’t be
surprised that happens to you. Kimberly cancer s lucky that the
Sainsbury’s redundancy package provided her with
lots of support. Mel Barclay is head of career
transition at LHH Penner. She helped Kimberly when
she was at her lowest. She was feeling very
vulnerable, and I think she was unaware
of what the job market held for her personally. So she came to us for programme
support where she had coaching, one to one coaching with a
career transition consultant. She joined in workshops
and virtual classrooms and general networking events
to build her confidence, and through that
she then decided to go down the self
employment route, and set up her own business. Feel free to take notes. They were so useful. You could choose
what courses and what sessions you wanted to attend,
so I did lots on setting up your own business, things
about social media, how to do a website, how
to be on Facebook. Tax, that– you know,
quite practical things. And also things about
building confidence, again. Because it really,
really suffered. I was also offered
counselling which I’m very glad that I took up. I wasn’t going to, but I
thought it was extremely useful, and really helped
me change my mindset about coming out of redundancy
positively rather than feeling very negative about it. There is something
amazing about talking to someone who is very clever
at the end of the phone, and always has an answer
for what you’ve got to say. I could have seen
someone face to face, but I quite liked the fact
that he didn’t see me. My first session I pretty
much spent in floods of tears. It was just very, very
cathartic, and very, very useful. You kind of go through
this arc of emotions. Why was it me? And it’s anger,
then you’re upset. And it just helped me to
talk to somebody about it, and that it’s not me, it’s
just a massive business, and they have to do this. And there are brighter
things on the other side. The first thing you’ll need to
do is to kind of get a grip, and get some support. And make sure that you don’t
allow yourself to feel crushed, because if you’re wandering
around looking absolutely miserable, nobody’s
going to think, I know exactly the
person I need to help me with my project, or
a job, or whatever. It’s going to be that I’m
really miserable person who looks as though they’re
about to slit their wrists. You need to be kind of
as energetic and positive as you can be in
the circumstances, while also acknowledge
that you are going to be feeling pretty awful. There’s a lot of fear
around age discrimination, and a lot of people
coming in who are sort of perhaps not that
far off what they anticipated to be retirement feel quite so
fatalistic about their chances in the job market. But what we will do is we’ll try
and focus on their strengths. As a result of being in an
organisation for 25 years, you’ve acquired a huge amount
of skill and experience which another organisation
would like to have. And they will find
you a role for you, because a younger
person hasn’t got that. Redundancy can also leave
you feeling like you’ve lost part of your identity. It is like the
worst breakup ever, because it’s been
part of your life. All my friends know me as
working at Sainsbury’s. It’s where I met my husband. So yeah, just suddenly to
be without that huge chunk in your life was really sad. But it can present
an opportunity to reinvent yourself. Did you know what you want to
do when you were about to leave? I was going to
set off on my own. And so those lost 12 weeks,
even though I was still working, was sort of prepping
for going out there into the big wide world. At Sainsbury’s I used to run
any wine events, wine tastings, write copy for magazines, and
on the backs of the wine labels. I do similar things now
for other companies. I had managed to line up
a job while I was still at Sainsbury’s, and I started
work on that the following week after I left Sainsbury’s. Kimberly received a
generous redundancy package, which she could have
lived off for a year while she worked
out what to do next. But she didn’t want
to touch her lump sum, so she didn’t waste any time. Lots of people hurry
to get a similar role to the one they had before. If you can financially
take time out, it could be worth
considering your options. Yeah? Wherever possible we encourage
people to take some time out between leaving a role and
starting something else, mainly because it helps
them to sort of settle any feelings of resentment
or anxiety they’ve had. And most people
just need time out to sort of recharge
the batteries. It is a very emotional
process, and most people really need a bit of
restorative time to be at their best for the next role. As much as it’s important for
people to get another job, particularly to
pay their mortgage and to keep their
families together, we also think it is an
opportunity for them to explore things. Because if they don’t,
and they don’t actually satisfy that
particular career itch, they may regret just jumping
into another role too quickly, and potentially be
at risk of trying to find something else again
in a short period of time. And if you take
that extra time out, it can be a chance to truly
reinvent your working life. I was very clear. I didn’t want to
get another job job. You know, I wasn’t interested in
climbing some corporate ladder. I wanted to piece together a
portfolio of different things. A public service
strand, which is unpaid. I have a creative strand,
which is book writing. I have a commercial strand,
which is consultancy. And I think it’s almost a
kind of millennial approach. How can I piece
together a work life that for me ticks the different
boxes of a bit of money here, a bit of status there, a bit
of creative satisfaction there, a bit of public service there. And everybody will have
their own response to that. And for some it will
be a different job. It might be retraining
for a new career, or it might be putting
together a package. Larva coming out. Redundancy you can also
present an opportunity to redefine your
work life balance. Kimberly works from home
now, and sees much more of her husband and children. She doesn’t miss waking
up at 5 AM every morning, or the long commutes
into London. My alarm goes off
at 7:00, so it’s quite nice to have a lie
in, and get the kids up, and able to spend time with
them, give them breakfast. So much more of a nice
sort of family morning. And take them to kid– to school and nursery, and
come back and start work. What are you doing, you monkey. They love it. They love having
mommy around more. In the past they’ve
not known who’s going to be there
when they wake up. Now it’s always me,
so they just love it. Well, my husband works from
home as well, but pretty much we don’t see each
other during the day. But it’s nice because he go to
spend more time with the kids now. He’s having loads
more family time. Kitchen table. You’ve done good. Yes. Say it. I used the word
proud, but I mean had I gone through
that same thing, I know that I
would have probably kind of inside freaked. What the hell am I going to do? I’d have gone out, probably
gone to another big company, look at the security
of that role, I think, is incredibly brave. He’s never said anything
like that to me before. It’s like Mister and Missus. I’m glad I was a service. Kimberly loved her old job,
and was devastated at first, but she advises anyone
in a similar situation to try to stay calm. Take as much advice as you can
from your friends and family, anyone in the same business
that you’re working in, and just take the time
to work out what’s going to be best for you. Take a leap. Take a leap of faith if
you want to go alone, because it is
extremely rewarding. But obviously do
your research first. I love the job itself,
I know, I really, really used to enjoy
going into work. I enjoy spending time
with my colleagues. But I say my life is
so much better now that I don’t miss it. So if you’ve just
been made redundant, you feel like your life has
been turned upside down, and you don’t know what to do
next, consider the following. Take professional
advice, whether it’s counselling or career coaching,
it’ll help focus your mind. Try to stay positive. You may feel like
you’re falling apart, but that isn’t an image
you want to present the rest of the world
when you’re networking. Take time to consider
your options. If you rush into something,
you may live to regret it. And don’t panic. You might be in
a state of shock, but things will get better. And who knows, redundancy
may be the catalyst you need to build a better career.

7 Replies to “How to deal with redundancy”

  1. Lost my job at 45. Haven't worked in 3 years. Nobody wants older Engineers, just cheap graduates with no responsibilities outside of work. I'm on the scrap heap and have lost any hope of a future. I lost my house, girlfriend and now my mental health is fucked. Tell me, what career can a guy approaching 50 get these days with ageism so rampant in the workplace. Options my arse.

  2. Good content, big fan, keep doing the good work, best would be to post some useful links too for those who needs help.

  3. It's far too risky nowadays to have a limited set of skills. We all need to diversify our skills and ensure that we have a flexible mindset for change – after all, many organisations/corporations aren't that dedicated their employees. We're all just a number to them and replaceable at any time.

  4. It's so true… it can feel like you're world is caving in. That is completely normal! I've worked with many women to overcome redundancy, and the feelings of grief that people may feel (even if they didn't like their job!), happens to everyone!

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