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How to bounce back from redundancy

17 Jul 07:00 by Adam Pyle

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Being made redundant is a challenge few professionals will be able to avoid in their working lives. Knowing how to cope and even thrive in these tough conditions will make you a resilient and well-rounded marketer.

Redundancy is just not something that people feel comfortable talking about; it’s a dehumanising concept that we tend to avoid until the reality hits us head on. Even the dialogue around redundancy indicates how little we really process the damage it can do. When we talk of employees ‘losing their jobs’, we use language that is slightly unhelpful, making it seem like it is the fault of the employee themselves, and not acknowledging the circumstances surrounding it. This attitude is at odds with the reality, especially when studies reveal that those who have been made redundant in the past continue to have trust issues years after they ‘lose their job’.

Yet, as hard as redundancy is, there are ways of coping and, ultimately, thriving. This does mean acknowledging a variety of emotions; everyone should understand that processing the many feelings that come with redundancy can be an emotional rollercoaster. The day you are made redundant may feel vastly different from your feelings six months down the line, but it is still the same healing process.

So, from before it happens until six months down the line, here are tips for coping with redundancy:

Even whilst working you must be prepared

It might seem counter-productive, but there are good reasons to keep a slight detachment from your current role.

The first reason is a more brutal one: nobody is ever in a position of absolute work security. Anyone with eyes on a career will always be assessing their options, looking at the gaps in their CV and adjusting their skillset accordingly. In the redundancy context, this detachment can give you the drive that allows you to learn skills that will make you more employable should you ever need a new job. 

The second reason is the healthier one though. You need to separate your sense of self from your job role, both for a better work-life balance and because attaching your self-worth totally to a career can be potentially fatal for your wellbeing, especially during a pandemic that has significantly stripped both demand and supply out of the economy.

If it happens, don’t beat yourself up too much

Redundancy causes many differing emotions; these can include shock, anger, sadness and even a faux acceptance that often masks a greater sense of loss. On day one, it’s important to get away from your workspace and take room to breathe; do not rush into any fast decisions, assess your options only after you have taken time to yourself.

During that time, you can visualise what you want to happen in the near future and remind yourself that you can handle whatever comes next. You have been successful before, and you will be again. In the immediate aftermath of being made redundant this is what matters most.

Then don’t isolate yourself.

The first worry is usually a monetary one, but the first real loss will be immediately obvious; there will be a large chunk of your day that won’t be accounted for anymore. We spent most of our waking day with work colleagues and they form a large part of our communications and social interactions during a typical working week. You must learn, at least temporarily, how to process new social interactions, especially around how to introduce yourself as a jobseeker. This is obviously true in dealing with potential new job opportunities, but it does apply to conversations with friends and family too.

Ask others how they have coped with redundancy and gently grill them about how they started the process of looking for work; they will have many tips for you to follow but, more importantly, lots of pitfalls to avoid.

But don’t forget to process your loss

Losing a job means losing perceived status, tangible security, options for entertainment because of disposable income and the routine that governs your day. These are all universal feelings, but there are personal elements that will affect you in a unique way that must be accounted for in the healing process.

Write down, or vocalise, what the loss is to you and what it means to be made redundant. This will allow some of those feelings we often suppress to come out in a mature, healthy way.

And then rebuild yourself

Now that you have processed the loss, you have the foundations to rebuild yourself and move on from the damage that redundancy may have caused.

In the same way that you wrote down what you felt you had lost, write down all that you achieved in your previous roles. This allows you to do two things; firstly, it rebuilds your confidence, secondly, it gets you ready for the interviewing process by allowing you to internalise a common question asked of candidates about what they are most proud of from their working life.

Take your time, if you can

Now that you have articulated your achievements, think about the career process a little more. More specifically, think about what sort of role you want to go in to. Do you want to change professions? Do you want to make your side hustle your career? Did you like your previous career and have ambitions for a role in the same industry?

These are important questions that you might think about in day-to-day life, but not have the motivation to act upon. Redundancy is hard but it does give you time to work on those aspects of yourself that might feel unfulfilled. Many have turned their careers around and pursued their wider dreams in the most desperate of situations; JK Rowling is the most obvious example.

Whatever your situation, move forward

You might have a financial pay off to your redundancy – and you can get an idea of your rights by reading our article on them here – that allows you thinking time but there are those whose need for immediate employment is urgent. It would be wrong to suggest that both circumstances are the same.

That doesn’t mean that those taking a temporary job cannot learn from the experience. Your new role may have more thinking time than your previous career and allow you to process future aspirations more clearly; for example, moving from a noisy office to a delivery driver role might give you more time for reflection than you had before. Even in a busy environment, a temporary position can certainly give you a clearer focus on what you don’t want to do.

The important thing is, at this point, to be thinking towards the future and it's, hopefully, much brighter than it looked six months earlier.

Bouncing back from redundancy is a process that takes time and effort. The important thing is to give yourself space, taking the lessons you can learn from the process but realising that it’s not a knock on you personally. This does take time but breaking down your situation in to bite sized chunks, rather than seeing it as one large problem, can reap rewards in the long run.

This is usually a six-month process but even if you find another job immediately, redundancy, though a hugely negative experience, can give you the chance to refresh your outlook. It’s important that you do that because, without it, the work-life balance will always be skewed.

 

If you're ready to get back out there, want to see what's on offer or simply ready to move up the career ladder then you can start your search for a new role on CIM Marketing Jobs