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Responding to Redundancy

If you didn’t see it coming, redundancy can be a total shock. So what can you do? Here are The Change Agent’s suggestions.

You are not redundant, your role is!

“I have been made redundant before and it’s a terrible blow; redundancy is a rotten word because it makes you think you are useless”. Billy Connolly

Our work says something about who we are, it is a major part of our identity so when that is taken away, we are bound to feel a bit lost.  Don’t forget that it is the role you were doing in that company that is no longer valued or needed and NOT you.  Your intrinsic value is unchanged.  There is no reference to “uselessness” in the definition of “redundancy” but “useless” is often what we hear and then the scrapheap beckons. But as a human being, your are never useless.  Your current employer might not need you (in that role!) but your family and friends still need you, your community does and there will be other customers for your skills and knowledge.  Sure, you might need some training and updating, but unlike this Walkman (remember these?), you can be “repurposed”!

Now this is redundancy!

Emotions are bound to run high but don’t be bound by them

It is natural to feel unsettled. Work gives us so much structure, social interaction and purpose, as well as paying the bills. That’s why the impact is likened to a bereavement. The status quo is very underrated and we take so much of our lives for granted.  Just take a moment to think of how much of your day is known to you and how much will be thrown up in the air by this change.  Recognise that this can be upsetting.  Don’t deny your emotions, process them, but remember that anger, resentment or depression could prevent you from moving on, making good decisions and being attractive to other employers. Indeed, those emotions could result in you discounting other opportunities with your current employer.  Seek counselling if you are finding it difficult to move on from these feelings.  Finally, be honest about your situation with family, friends and business contacts.  No need to feel ashamed or embarrassed plus your network might be able to put you in touch with new opportunities.


Take a deep breath and then get all the facts

If the news came as a shock, the finer details and the rationale for it can be difficult to take in at first.  If you need a bit of time to process the news and reflect, say so and don’t allow yourself to be rushed. Then as soon as you’re ready, make sure you understand:

  • What will the company expect from you?
  • Notice period and severance
  • Restrictions on your job search such as garden leave
  • Any allowance for time off for interviews
  • Outplacement support

If you are at all unsure of your rights, or you are uncomfortable with the terms, seek the independent advice of a solicitor or independent HR consultant.  This is sometimes part of the redundancy package or union support.  Once you have the information, plan your next steps and assess your financial situation.  If you are a manager who is displaced with your team, you need to support the team but make sure that someone is supporting you too.  Don’t let the emotions of the team affect your ability to deal with your situation.


Take your time

Redundancy is not a full stop on your career. It is a comma. A pause. You didn’t ask for this but you have been given the opportunity to get off the hamster wheel and reflect.  If you can avoid doing so, don’t rush into another job as now could be the time to do something different. Learn a new skill? Go back to what you really enjoy? Set up on your own?

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” Dalai Lama

In the thick of it, it can be difficult to view redundancy as a welcome opportunity to start afresh or a test of character to relish.  But it could be an important stepping stone to something bigger and better.


Redundancy: a stepping stone to something greater?


Make finding work your job

If your employer hasn’t provided it, get help in making sure that your CV is up to date – and professional – and get interview practice.  Confirm with HR whom future employers should contact for references.  If you are not ready to target your C.V. to a particular role, make sure that you have captured all your achievements and career history so your C.V. is comprehensive and accurate. This is far easier to do when you have the people, the HR system and your work brain to hand! Don’t wait until you have left to get round to it.

As you move towards your last day, look beyond it and fill your free time with meetings with agencies and important contacts. Getting yourself out of the house and staying in a work routine will keep you focussed and make the transition into your next role much easier.

Throughout the process, and definitely once you’ve left your employer, diarise regular exercise. The endorphins will help you stay positive, provide social contact and keep you energised.  Stay off the sofa and away from the telly.  It will sap your energy.  Do you want “Pointless” to become a metaphor for your job search?

The sofa is not your friend!


Seek feedback

As you go through the search process for your next role, be prepared for setbacks and rejection.  Seek feedback on your interview performance and hone your skills.  Make sure that your expectations are realistic by researching the job market.  Consider engaging a coach.  I can help you stay resilient through the search process, work through your options and if necessary, refresh your C.V. and interview technique.  An introductory coaching session is free so call me on 07990 514537 and find out more.

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