Seven years ago, almost to the day, I was made redundant.
Needless to say, I was somewhat upset (in truth, enormously upset, stressed and angry!). Oddly the lady that told me I was being made redundant, said to me “One day you’ll look back on this and think it’s one of the best things that ever happened to you.”
It was really not what I wanted to hear, but she was right, and now I am going to say exactly the same thing to you, if you have been made redundant.
This is going to be the best thing that ever happened to you.
It should be better coming from me as I’m not the one making you redundant! Obviously, I also have experience of being in this situation myself as well as seeing plenty of clients go through it.
Seven years on and I now run my own business, working with clients that I love and working in a team that I love. All of which I’ve had control over.
Redundancy isn’t something that’s only relevant during a global pandemic, it’s something that is always there. The possibility that your job could be deemed surplus to requirements.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. In fact, I am going to try and make you view redundancy as an entirely positive situation.
The Immediate Aftermath
It’s important not to let your emotions get the better of you.
Yes, it will feel scary because you are being taken out of your comfort zone. Please understand that this is normal, there is nothing wrong with you. But also that there is nothing to fear.
“What is on the other side of fear? Nothing.”Jamie Foxx
Don’t be ashamed, this can happen to anyone and is usually not a reflection on you. I know this is easier said than done, but to help you overcome any feeling of embarrassment you need to talk about it. Use your support network and discuss what has happened. Being open about it will help, I know this from experience.
Try to stay on the positive side with any discussion. Avoid descending into blame, anger and conspiracy theories. Think towards the future and opportunities.
During this initial period it’s really important not to fall into bad habits that will stay with you. In the next section we’ll look at trying to keep things consistent in your life.
Ban yourself from making any big decisions too soon. Gather your intel first. Don’t be the person that has a miserable time in their job, is made redundant and then gets a job in three months time in the exact same role. Make use of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Take Action and Stay Active
Just because you have been made redundant does not mean you are jobless. Your job is even more important now. Your job is to fulfill your true potential.
Act as if nothing has changed in terms of how you use your working week. Get up as if you still have a day’s work to do and get stuck into taking action first thing.
In the words of Brian Tracey: “Eat That Frog”. Do something that moves you forward every day and get it done early so there is no excuse later on in the day. The standard things, like preparing your CV, updating LinkedIn, searching for opportunities, making applications and following up.
But alongside these things do something for YOU like reading, having breakfast with your family and exercising.
First up, address the redundancy issue head on. Many of my clients are fearful of the question “Why did you leave your last role?”. This does not need to be a ‘fear question’ if you practice a positive answer. Aim to get to a point where you seamlessly address this in your interview. Follow this process:
- When coming up with your answer, stay well away from being negative about your previous employer and don’t give excuses.
- Practice giving your answer to a mirror or whoever is handy every day.
- As you practice, refine it until you have an answer that makes you look forward to the question coming up.
On that note, stay on good terms with your previous employer. It’s a great time to ask them for a good reference; not a good time to tell them, or anyone else, exactly what you really think about them!
Consider what were the silver linings of your role? What are your strengths? What did you actually enjoy about it. Use these as prompts in your search for new employment. Harvest your experience and hard work for aspects you can carry forward.
Enjoy your redundancy. Yes, enjoy it! This is a great opportunity for you. Hopefully you will have a redundancy package to support you for a while. You’ve earned this time to reflect on where you are and where you want to go.
Sure, you can use this time to really think about your future, get stuck into finding new work and practicing your skills. But don’t just work, work, work. Give yourself some self care and rewards. Make it an enjoyable experience. What have you been meaning to do in your spare time, but found too difficult while you were working full time?
Have you always wanted to get into meditation? Exercise consistently? Spend quality time with the family more regularly?
What Do you Want Your Life to be Like When You Grow Up?
You have the chance to create what you really want. This is what you’ve been dreaming of secretly, and now you can systematically work out what you want to do.
Carry out a ‘perfect work environment’ exercise. This simply involves visualising your perfect day at work. Think of:
- What does the environment look like?
- Who are the people I’m working with?
- What hours am I working?
- What tasks am I doing?
- Is this my own company or somebody else’s?
Try to envisage the most extreme, positive scenario. You can then work back from this and think of who you would need to be to have this scenario. What journey would you need to go through to end up with this perfect day?
Perhaps you have been putting off decisions about your future while you were too busy with work. You now have a situation where you are able to make those decisions and, in fact, need to.
We need to drastically improve the image of redundancy, it has become somewhat of a dirty word. This is how to make your redundancy positive and even enjoyable:
- Remove the fear of redundancy, instead bring in a feeling of excitement and opportunity for what the future holds.
- Banish any negative thoughts about your former employer.
- Be consistent with how you conduct yourself during the time you have between employment.
- Don’t jump into the next job, assess your options and be open-minded.
- Remain an employee of your own business, even if you later become an employee of someone else’s. Act as if you are still engaged in work and stay active.
- Make it fun. Do the things you’ve always wanted to do with your free time. Think about how you can have more of that in your future work.
This is a chance to turn your life around. Not many people get the opportunity that redundancy provides.
It might seem a crazy way to think about redundancy, but it’s worked with hundreds of our clients. Don’t miss out on it!