See it as an opportunity. Look for the positives and relish in the freedom that comes with looking at the future as a blank slate, with your pen poised to write the next chapter of your story. Use the time for reflection if you can.
“Brainstorm your options. What aspects of your previous role did you enjoy, what do you want to avoid if possible? Many people enjoy ‘portfolio careers’ – could you find interim employment to tide you over and create a side hustle doing the thing you really love? Be open to all possibilities. If someone had told me a year ago that I’d have set up my own consultancy I would never have believed them. Take yourself out of your comfort zone, you never know where it might lead you.”
Take the opportunity to rethink everything about your life. Some people know they want exactly the same career after redundancy. I had to start my life again at square one, and I’m extremely fortunate that I was able to build up my work around my ongoing health issues. It was great practise for balancing my current business around my 2 young children. I think if I’d had more confidence that it would be possible for me to find a flexible way of working when I first got ill, I wouldn’t necessarily have had to hit rock bottom in the way that I did. So learning to look 'outside of the box' has definitely served me really well since I was made redundant. I feel such a lot of gratitude to have the life I now have, and none of it would have been possible without my redundancy.
Take some time to reflect on what’s happened and to come to terms with it. In the majority of cases it’s not a personal decision but a business decision, and it really helps if you can start to distance yourself from feeling unworthy. It’s not you, it’s them.
“I strongly believe that in life when things like this happen and we are forced to reroute, it’s because something far better lies ahead, we just need to trust the process – as scary as that can be. Surround yourself with people who support and motivate you. Make a plan, believe in yourself and don’t give up.”
I have always been very lucky with jobs. I tend to find a company that I like the look of, apply even when there isn’t a role being advertised and then get the role. This dramatically changed in 2015. Suddenly, I was faced with application after application being denied due to being too old (33 at the time), too experienced or not experienced enough in the specialist area they were looking for. I had never felt so deflated or rejected across my working career then in that one month. That was then, this is now… I now run a successful marketing and communications business and things are thriving.
Out of all the above the best advice I could give to you would be to get your arse out there. Meet people, speak to people, network. The most positive things that have happened to me have been as a direct result of either making something happen by arranging something, or going somewhere and ‘turning up’.
“This year marks 21 years in Internal Communications for me. I have been an IC consultant/freelancer since 2004, along side this I trained as a Coach in 2011. Today I have a portfolio career, I coach professional communicators, I freelance and work on communication projects a couple of days a week and I collaborate with other coaches and creatives - my latest collaboration being a podcast - my only rule in my portfolio career is I have to enjoy what I do.”
The redundancy changed my career path and it dented my confidence for a while. At 23 I had a high prestige job working for one of the top graduate recruiters and it was taken away from me. Even though it was no fault of my own I did question if I was good enough and didn't apply for any of those big name jobs.
I’ve found myself in this situation three times and each time it’s not been a conventional redundancy. It’s been the kind where we all play nicely, sign agreements and a cheque exchanges hands. Since holding senior positions as a Sales Director I have actually come to expect that when there is a change and for whatever reason and I am no longer required that there will be a tap on the shoulder. Perhaps because I had been through this twice I now believe I spent most of my time at my last employer looking over my shoulder waiting for that tap, I’d hoped it wouldn’t come but in June 2018 it did.