“The company is facing hardship”, “profit on turnover is way down”, “every little bit counts”, “we need everybody to dig deep”,........and you're out the door feeling like a worthless schmuck - How to cope with redundancy.
Unfortunately, too many companies have a short-term focus on turnover and overheads, and lack a long-term vision of the value of their people. Sometimes redundancy is just used as an excuse to get rid of a less-liked employee or maybe one that threatens somebody else's career progression. Office politics are often at play. Of course there can be very genuine reasons for redundancy too, but whatever the case, each year thousands of people are left out in the cold, ejected from a career or company they really liked being a part of and showed loyalty to, with little more than a commiserating smile and a few weeks' pay. Such are the outcomes of a redundancy.
The psychological impact associated with redundancy cannot be ignored. We all like to think that we are doing our jobs well and that we are a valuable asset to the business. Nonetheless, people are left feeling betrayed, disappointed, worthless, angry, and depressed. Anxiety is usually there right from the beginning as you start to wonder how you can keep up the payments on the house, car, and credit card, without a job. Add a spouse and some kids to the mix, and the heat really is on concerning your family's future. There's no bones about it - redundancy takes an emotional toll.
The cold hard truth though, is that whatever the reason you have been made redundant, it is time to move on, and that time is now. Laying in bed or sitting at home wringing your hands or drowning yourself in a bottle, just isn’t going to help. Sure, there is an element of dealing with emotions and that will take some time. Redundancy hurts quite frankly. However the best prescription is to put your best foot forward, start knocking on doors, send out your resume, and move on. Doing this for yourself, rather than wallowing in your own misery and self-pity, will rebuild your self-esteem and put you back on the path of personal fulfilment quicker than any hate campaign or vengeance plan ever will.
Sure there may be issues to deal with – if your redundancy is at all related to your performance then honestly deal with those issues and rectify them. If you think you could have done your job better, then it is very likely your boss saw so tenfold.
But don’t smash yourself to pieces over this. Identify any shortcomings or areas of improvement, acknowledge their validity, think about how you can address them, and get moving forward. There is no point in dwelling on your previous employment for a second more. That job has gone, you were made redundant, believe it or not you are expendable, the business most likely will not fall apart due to your absence, and in a few months time there will be a natural turnover of staff and you will become just another ex-employee. I don’t apologise for that sounding harsh – it is simply the reality. I know – I’ve been there.
Redundancy, more often than not, is not some golden handshake that lets you take a holiday to Bermuda before leisurely returning to the workforce. Usually, a redundancy might encompass just a few weeks pay and whatever is owing to you in annual leave. Usually people are blind-sided by a redundancy and they are not financially prepared to lose their income.
If finances are really tight then you need to put a contingency plan in place immediately. Don’t wait until the debt collector is at the door to start planning. Until you have a new income, you are vulnerable and you have to acknowledge this. Don’t be too proud to line up some loans from friends or family. Consider whether now is the time to sell that excess junk and make a few extra bucks to tide you over. Whilst you may be concentrating on job applications and interviews, is there still some downtime to your day where you can pick up some extra cash working somewhere? This is not your new career – this is your emergency contingency plan and it is only for the short-term. You will find another job. You can’t be kept down.
Act immediately is the key to recovering from redundancy. Not only will your resume not have a huge gap in it (if you get right back up there you will be going for interviews within a week of finishing up at your old place of work), but more importantly melancholy simply want have time to find a home in your mind.
Be strong. You are not your job. You are a human being with value and dignity. Yes, your career plan may have gone astray, but you can get it back on track. I must say though, that it is only you who can get it back on track. Nobody else can do it for you. There are no knights in shining armour. You need to pick yourself up straight away, dust yourself down, and launch into finding a new career.
So you’ve read this article. You’ve realised that your future is in your hands, and your hands only. You now know that the only healthy way forward is to put this redundancy business behind you and launch yourself into finding a new career and offering your excellent skill set to a new employer. So get out there! Get moving! You are in capable hands – yours.