Making your comeback after redundancy

Redundancy can be a devastating experience and bouncing back is not always as easy as it sounds. Don’t fall into the trap of despondency. So many people report that redundancy was just what they needed in hindsight. It forces you to assess many aspects of your career so far and gives you the opportunity for change. It may feel raw now but you have a bright future ahead.

Keep a sense of perspective in the face of redundancy

Firstly, being made redundant from a job doesn’t mean that you are worth any less as a human being or indeed a colleague. Reasons for redundancy are wide-ranging and whilst, for this employer, and at this particular moment in time your position was untenable, it has no reflection on your value to another employer at a different point in time. There are countless examples of extraordinarily successful people facing traumatic redundancy at some point in their careers. It does not define you, it does not reflect your capabilities and it certainly doesn’t make you any less of a person. Park those thoughts now and embrace your future!

Assess your situation

Before catastrophizing your situation, take stock. How long do you have before your savings are severely diminished? Do you have a supportive partner who can help out in hard times? What are your major financial commitments and is there any way of reducing them temporarily? Be practical and strategic. Sometimes a financial shock is what we need to get our outgoings in order and you’ll benefit in the long run. Is your luxury wine subscription really a priority right now? Do you need a premium gym subscription when you never use the pool? These savings may seem minimal but the process of organising your finances will put you in a much better frame of mind for making career decisions.

Reflect on your career so far

Did you like your job? Are you really going to be sad to leave? The answer may be a definitive ‘yes’ and in that case, it’s important to assess why. Was it the day-to-day tasks? Was it your colleagues or company culture? Jobs can look very similar on paper but real-life experiences can be miles apart. Identify what made you happy in your job and research companies that are similar. Ask questions about how they work in order to get a sense of whether that’s what you want. For example, do they have a very structured target and review process or do they assess performance in a more informal manner? These sorts of processes attract different types of employees and if you know that you need formal structure, you’ll be unlikely to thrive in a more relaxed environment.

Many people find that redundancy highlights the fact that they weren’t happy anyway. Now is your opportunity for change. Don’t dismiss retraining, however old you are. The world of work changes all the time and discovering your passion in later life is not uncommon. Think about going freelance too. In fact, your previous employer may jump at the chance to take you on in a consultant capacity and they just couldn’t justify the ongoing financial commitment of employing you full-time. Don’t make the mistake of panicking and jumping into another job you hate – move forward, move sideways but don’t move back!

Don’t assume future employers will judge your redundancy

Don’t let redundancy hit your professional confidence too hard. We live in pretty choppy waters at the moment and career hiccups are to be expected. Intelligent employers will not judge the fact that you’ve been made redundant and you have a golden opportunity to demonstrate your resilience. Don’t be ashamed, turn it into a positive. How have you built on disappointment? How have you reflected? How have you adapted? These are all really positive traits in an employee. No job is without tricky situations and a few setbacks. Knowing that your employee will take these challenges on practically and pragmatically is fantastic.

If you need more persuasion that redundancy is an opportunity in disguise check out this brilliant book by Eleanor Tweddell Why Losing Your Job Could be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You: Five Simple Steps to Thrive after Redundancy

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