Job redundancy is an unfortunate but common aspect of working life. In the current climate, more people than ever are losing their jobs. While it’s inevitably a painful and stressful experience, it often marks the beginning of an exciting new career chapter.
Struggling now with a fresh redundancy? We asked some experts how best to deal with it.
Take some time to process
It’s natural to throw yourself headfirst into job applications but taking some time out — even just a day or weekend — to process what’s happened is crucial. Eleanor Tweddell, founder of redundancy consultant Another Door and author of the upcoming book, Why Losing Your Job Could Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You: Five Simple Steps to Thrive After Redundancy, emphasises the importance of “giving your brain a break to process the loss.” “You need a period to recharge and reset so spend some time doing nothing or enjoying yourself,” she says.
Breaking the news to other people makes the situation feel even more real. Doing so can also bring up feelings of shame and embarrassment. “It can feel like a burden to take home and tell your close family,” Geraldine Joaquim, a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist and founder of employee wellbeing consultancy, Mind Your Business, explains. This process of telling loved ones is only intensified when so many of us are working from home. “Speak to your family and get them onside. Get their support from the beginning,” Joaquim suggests.
Recognize it’s a trauma
Jacqui Bell, a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, Career Coach and Managing Director at recruitment firm, Robertson Bell, describes how “even a positive redundancy is still a type of psychological trauma.” A redundancy can trigger unconscious emotions to come to the fore. “From a psychological perspective patterns of shame or embarrassment can reappear,” she said. For example, taking us back to not being picked at school or a parental rejection at a young age. Bell explains how redundancy is a form of grief and is processed via the seven stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, upward turn, reconstruction, acceptance and hope.
Think about yourself beyond your job title
Chances are, if you’ve been in your current job for a significant length of time, you will identify with your current job title. However, when thinking about your next move it’s important to think outside that specific box. “Think about yourself as someone with strengths, likes and dislikes, skills to bring to the table and what you enjoy,” Tweddell advises. When you see yourself through that lens, your options look much more wide-reaching. “Think about your ideal tomorrow and work back from there,” Tweddell suggests.
Identify your values
When plotting your next move and the sorts of jobs you plan to apply for, it’s important to consider narrowing down what you’re looking for. Bell suggests doing a values-based exercise. “Find a list of values online and write down what is essential, what is desirable and what you want to avoid,” she recommends. Not only will this help you sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to job opportunities but it will also form the basis of questions you might ask in an interview. For example, if being social is a core value to you, you could ask about the company culture and staff events offering.
Treat looking for a job like a job
In the current climate, finding a job is a time-consuming process and takes commitment. Bell advises treating a job search like a job. “Get up at a decent time, get dressed and plan your day like you would a working day,” she says. Tweddell echoes this: “Try and treat your day with respect and keep it structured.”
Prioritize quality over quantity
It can be tempting to send out your resume to anyone and everyone in a desperate attempt to secure an interview. However, this isn’t necessarily the best use of your time. With the job market so competitive, it’s important to really put 100% effort into each application. Tweddell, therefore, suggests prioritising quality over quantity. “When you really connect with a role, the passion really comes through in the cover letter and resume,” she notes.
With the global pandemic, being made redundant has been normalised. It’s therefore easier than ever to share what’s happened to you. “I have seen lots of posts on Linkedin with people sharing their redundancy story and that they’re available for work,” Joaquim highlights. Announce your redundancy on social media telling people you are looking for work — you never know where it might lead you.
Get your finances in check
Often the looming dark financial cloud is the biggest worry post-redundancy. “Set yourself a project to work out your numbers and how much money you really need and by when,” Tweddell says. Look into options like rent or mortgage holidays, government schemes and loans or speak to family members and get an in-between job. You can also use this time to do admin tasks you’ve been putting off such as canceling unused subscriptions and changing utility bills. “Solid practical tasks can alleviate panic. Give yourself actions to deal with the stress,” Joaquim suggests.
Don’t be afraid to take an in-between job
Considering the search for an ideal job could be lengthy, it’s worth thinking about how you can make money in the meantime. “I suggest doing something to bring in money while you’re thinking about what to do next,” Tweddell says. While being made redundant is of course stressful it can be an amazing opportunity to take a break out from every day and reassess what is important to you and how you move forward. “Don’t feel like you have one solution and you have to do what you always have,” she added. While you’re figuring it out, don’t be embarrassed to do something else. “Think more broadly about getting a job. Think about how I can help someone right now to get money. Look in your community or locally,” Tweddell adds. “Employers like this go-getter attitude, it shows your self-motivation,” Joaquim concurs.
Take some time for yourself
Resilience is important in the current job market and taking regular breaks will give you the drive and energy to continue. “Look after your mental health and make sure you have breaks away from your job hunt. Find something you enjoy doing every day — it doesn’t have to cost much,” Joaquim advises.