The coronavirus pandemic has led to a lot of economic uncertainty and we are already seeing the repercussions of this in the job market, with widespread redundancies.
Even when it’s on an individual’s radar, the actual act of being made redundant usually comes as a shock.
For lots of people, the aftermath is incredibly tough, too. Not only in terms of professionally finding your feet again, but mentally as well.
Redundancy is often coupled with a loss in confidence and huge amount of self-doubt, which can lead to a whole host of mental health problems – and often does.
While employers are currently being urged to consider alternative options for redundancy, it’s something that is likely to affect a whole host of sectors over the coming months.
We asked people who have experienced redundancy first-hand to share what they learned from it and how they got through it.
Remember – you did not fail. Your company might have failed or the economy changed, but these economic changes happen way out of your control. It is not a personal slight.
The biggest thing I’ve learned after being made redundant is that it can be a massive opportunity. Like having babies, there’s never a right time.
It is possible to create an entirely new career path for yourself and that it’s absolutely fine not to do ‘what’s expected’.
I do think, though, that you can use redundancy as an opportunity to reflect on whether your last role was most suitable to your skills and your current life goals. And if you need to make changes in your work life, it’s an opportunity to do so.
Stay positive. For me it turned out to be an opportunity, a nudge that I needed to move on after so long that I didn’t know I needed – but I recognise it isn’t the same for everyone.
The biggest thing I learned is that things don’t stay the same forever – so although you are redundant you won’t be forever and you have to stay as focused as possible in the time it takes you to get another job.
There may be other options available to you, such as starting a new business.
I think it’s worth exploring all options for work, to keep your mind busy and positive while you are out of work. I worked part-time while I set up the business acting as a freelance marketer for other small businesses and managed to get a job working for a customer services call centre that was home-based.
If you’re trapped in a job you don’t really like, redundancy can be a blessing. It can be really difficult to break out of a job you don’t really enjoy, especially if it’s well paid with an attractive package of benefits.
When I was working in my previous role it was a great tax-free salary and an excellent package of benefits but the job was frustrating as I was not given sufficient autonomy. In the end I was glad to be made redundant.
Hearing the words ‘I’m sorry, but we have to let you go’ after 20 years being employed in the marketing industry is devastating and you instantly feel as though your whole world is falling apart. However, without that devastation, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
My advice for those in a similar position would be to do your research, look at the gaps in the market, and see whether entrepreneurship is for you. If not, how could you add value to another organisation with the skills you have? Perhaps you have a really interesting background that makes you unique and has given you the characteristics needed to make a difference that a firm might not realise they need to make?
In hindsight, being made redundant was the best thing to happen to me in the long-run.
Don’t be afraid to have to start over again. There are organisations that exist that can help you with financial management and career planning, so take advantage.
Redundancy changed my life – I went freelance and now own a marketing agency.
The main things I learned were that plans can be seemingly ruined but can lead to brilliant, unexpected change.
Also, don’t burn bridges. Paths have crossed in the years since this happened and you just never know who will pop up in your future circles.
Don’t wait too long to get back on the horse. I think it really helped me to get another job as quickly as I could, albeit on a contract basis. It kept my skills sharp, kept the money coming in and ensured that I wasn’t tempted to feel sorry for myself.
Also, look into the support that’s available. I’d admit to being ignorant about the range of government and privately-funded schemes out there to help people who are out of work, looking to up-skill and needing a helping hand back into the workplace.
There seems to be loads of schemes out there, it just takes a bit of time to look into them and prioritise which is right for you and your circumstances.
Ask for support from the people around you. We don’t usually think redundancy can lead to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, but it can. It’s a huge life change, so it’s likely you’ll be impacted emotionally in some way.
Also, contacting other people who have found themselves in similar positions – particularly in your industry – is incredibly helpful.
They might be able to offer practical advice, while friends and family can help emotionally.
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