Tips and insights on how to survive a redundancy and make the most of what can be a painful and emotional time.
At 25 I was made redundant. It was not something that I really ever expected to happen in my career, particularly because I was working in the public service at the time; however it proved to be one of the best things that happened to me.
NOTE: I was still terrified, cried a LOT and wondered what the hell I was doing.
But, after I got that out of my system, I embraced the next chapter with both hands and have spent the past 14 months challenging myself like never before.
Redundancy is different for everyone so I don’t claim to know it all, but I want to share with you what I learned:
- Take a deep breath—yes, this can be a painful and awkward experience but ultimately, YOU WILL SURVIVE. And, sometimes you’ll even come out the other side more positive and happy than before. You know how I know this? Because that’s what happened to me. I did not realise how unhappy I truly was until I’d left. My first night ‘unemployed’ was the best night’s sleep I’d had in as long as I could remember.
- Talk to your tribe—you know, that group of people you’ve built around you for exactly these times. The people you can talk honestly to and know that they are a trusted source of guidance and insight. Tell them what you’re thinking and feeling. This is a time of change for you and you might find that as you move onto ‘what’s next’ the people around you change too. Some might be supportive, others not so much, and others might just not get it. You might also find support in unlikeliest of sources. Embrace them.
- Step back & avoid making any rash decisions—your panic is telling you to jump straight into the job hunting but give yourself a break. Grieve the loss of your job if you have to. Don’t gloss over what can be a big change in your life. Give it the time it deserves without dwelling on it. How much time really depends on your circumstance.
- Think about the positives—in many situations like this, people tend only to focus on the negative, when in fact these situations can bring with them many positive things. This change is an opportunity to reinvent yourself if you wish. You don’t have to return to the same industry or job. Consider (your situation permitting) further study, an extended holiday or undertaking unpaid or volunteer work as a means of giving back.
- Look at your finances—find out what position you’re in and what options/time that affords you. If you’re smart with your payout, you can survive on it for longer than you might realise. Things might be tight but it doesn’t mean you have to sell your house. Consider renting out spare rooms; taking a part time job in a generalist field while you’re planning your next career move; sell unused items/furniture/clothing online (you know it’s been on your to-do list for a while, but now is the perfect time). It all helps your cash flow situation. When you know where you stand, you can make an informed decision about your next move.