Road Through Redundancy

Speaking to a friend yesterday, he was feeling pretty down because his redundancy takes effect today. The week before Christmas and BAM – no job. Just like that, after 9.5 years of service.

Now, we all know there is a lot of uncertainty, gloom & pressure in the broadcast view of the economic climate at the moment; but it is still a shock when it impacts directly on someone you know (and even more if it happens to you!)

Then after a 15 minute conversation, he was not only feeling a bit better – but he’d gone from feeling like he had no real prospects in the New Year, to having a lot to look forward to!

So how can someone’s Job Loss become their Freedom Gained? Let’s play with some perspectives.

Redundancy (and I’ve been there) is usually something that happens TO you; and like a lot of big, scary changes – it can feel forced upon you. You might feel sad, shocked, angry, hurt, confused, betrayed, and even abandoned, guilty, or ashamed.

It is pretty hard to celebrate what you enjoyed about your job in that kind of mood… and it could be very tough to enter the New Year feeling motivated about job-hunting under these circumstances. What started turning it around for my friend?

First, I asked him what his job ideas/plans were for the New Year – and I noticed that whilst he had a few ideas about where to start, he was clear he wasn’t going to go back to exactly the same type of job again. Then I asked what he would celebrate about his old job, and it turns out he didn’t think very highly of the place at all… what he did love (and what had kept him there for so long) though, was the people! Now he understood where some of the sadness around leaving was coming from, and he knew straight away who he wanted to stay in contact with (in fact he already had a plan in place for this!). He admitted that change feels scary (which it definitely does); and so by celebrating the people he loved working with, enjoying the fact that he was now leaving behind a place he didn’t like, and having plans for staying in contact with certain individuals, he immediately felt better about the whole situation.

On top of that, he knows that he can look forward to the extra support of a coaching session in the New Year, to kick-start things and ensure his next job is the one he really feels best about!

Of course – Redundancy is still a painful experience to go through, and one conversation won’t magically smooth it all over. So what can you do to make the journey a bit less bumpy? How about:

  • Allow yourself to feel (and acknowledge) all the emotions and thoughts you have about facing redundancy. Unless you’re jumping for joy, there are going to be some rough patches.
  • Set a date for when you will finish grieving the loss of your old job. Choose when you will be ready to leave it behind, and make an agreement with yourself that you’ll start stepping forward after that point.
  • Remember that whilst you may not have chosen to be in this situation, you do have the power to choose your reactions to it…

Will your choice be Loss or Gain?
I know which Christmas present I’d want to give myself.