As I sat there a few years ago picking up the pieces of a redundancy, it dawned on me; if I could work so hard for another company and give so much loyalty for them to meet their targets and still be laid off, why on earth couldn’t I just channel all of that energy into working for myself? Surely, at least one benefit would be that I couldn’t fire myself!
Being made redundant can be daunting
to say the least. Especially if you are like I was and didn’t see it coming. I remember receiving the call and being told that my name was on the list of employees who were about to be axed. Never would I have dreamed that someone so committed, so passionate about the role and so willing to give one hundred percent could be fired without the bat of an eyelid. What a wake up call it was.
Years later, I sit and reflect on what an absolute blessing in disguise being laid off was for me. Although, at the time I felt I was on top of my game, I now realise that I had become comfortable and complacent. I wasn’t learning anything new and was just mastering being the Queen of my own castle. When that castle crumbled, it opened up a whole new world of discovery into what I really wanted to do and my life purpose.
It was a time of great reflection for me, which was something I didn’t make a lot of room for when I was acting the part of a busy manager. Losing my J.O.B. was the turning point in my life that propelled me into becoming an entrepreneur. While working for someone else, I never contemplated entrepreneurship, neither did I have the guts to step out of the supposed safety of the corporate world, into something that I believed to be less stable. My redundancy soon blew the theory out of the water that working for someone else was much more secure than running my own business. Fast forward six years and I can truly say that life doesn’t only begin at 40 but it can also begin after a redundancy.
If you’re in the process of going through or have recently experienced the shattering life breaker of a redundancy, here are a few things you may want to consider.
1. There’s life after redundancy – Yes, there is, believe it or not, losing your job is not the end of your world. Once you’ve gotten over the initial shame and feelings of failure and you’ve come to terms with the fact that you are going to face a dramatic life change, it’s important to take stock of all of the experience you’ve accumulated along the way and realise that there’s a whole world out there just waiting for your expertise.
2. Take time to reflect – There’s a tendency once the bills start piling up to get anxious and grab at the first offer that comes along. Don’t take the first thing that’s handed to you. You’re worth more! Take time to ponder what you really want to do in life. Get really curious with yourself and ask yourself questions like, “What would I do next if I knew I couldn’t fail?” This may be the question that charts your course into a work life that you’ve always dreamed of but were too afraid to explore. It certainly did this for me.
3. Renew your resume – I cannot stress how important this exercise is to your self esteem and self worth after losing your job. Chances are if you were at that company forever and believed you’d be an obvious recipient of the longest standing employee award; you probably haven’t seen the need to update your resume lately. Well, now is a great time to write down all of the new skills and competences you’ve chalked up while going along your daily grind. You’ll be shocked at how much you’ve learned and grown. Updating your resume will put you into a much clearer and confident mind space. It’s also a meaningful exercise to unearth your value and worth when planning your next career move.
4. Get over yourself quickly – There’s no doubt that losing your job can be one of the most shameful life experiences. Well it was for me. But I had to set my face like flint, get a big bucket and dump the shame right in it. Shame and guilt are crippling to your movement forward. Stop asking what you could have done differently and channel your energy into something more worthwhile, like planning your next steps. Although this may seem hard, this is the time to get over yourself quickly and not be afraid to discuss the journey with others. The more open you can be about the situation is the less shame you’ll feel personally.
5. Plan Financially – Give yourself a timeline of when you want to have new employment and make sure that your budget is adjusted to meet the demand. Don’t be too quick to go and blow all of your redundancy payout on a dream holiday to Hawaii. Remember that after the euphoria of your 2 weeks in paradise, you’ll have to come right back down to earth and deal with any debts that may have accumulated while you were sipping Pina Coladas.
6. Choose your inner circle carefully – This is a time that you’ll need lots of emotional support, so make sure that you have a strong circle of people around you who can offer encouragement, sound advice, a listening ear and the truth when you need to hear it. Get rid of the naysayers and the people who are secretly happy that you’ve been taken down a few pegs.
7. Disengage from the old – Walking away can be hard after all of the great relationships you may have made throughout your time at the company. But by no means should you be calling or receiving calls from your old work colleagues in hope of hearing that the person responsible for firing you has met a deadly fate. Remember, anyone who calls you all the time to give you the latest scoop on your old boss and colleagues is still gainfully employed, while you are not. Spending too much time engaging in the past can be damaging to the emotional leaps you now need to take toward your future.
8. Don’t burn bridges – There’s a tendency to want to give the company you’re exiting a taste of their own medicine by leaving things undone and giving a piece of your mind to all of the colleagues that you never really liked. Avoid this temptation like the plague. It’s vital that you leave the company on good standing with your reputation in tact. Try your best to complete outstanding projects, tidy up the filing system to ensure that anyone coming after you can make sense of what you’ve left behind. Put your best face on, turn in all of the company belongings and walk out of there with your head held high. Exiting with a good attitude will definitely determine your altitude and speak volumes about your character.
Facing a redundancy is among one of the hardest situations one can face and in some situations can seem almost deathlike. But there’s definitely life after redundancy. You’re not a failure, it’s just a bump in the road that you are more than able to ride over.