Redundancy is perhaps one of the most traumatic events in an employee’s working life. The impact that this has on an employee is far reaching – it does not only affect that employee but it will also affect the morale, motivation and productivity of the employees who ‘survived’.
As soon as you hear the words you know you need to begin putting a CV together, the start of a job hunt begins, but your mind and body seem frozen, suspended – where do you go from here? There is definitely life after redundancy – and it is up to you to make it happen. Remember this is not personal. You have done nothing wrong. This is not your fault! Look at the situation for what it is – an unfortunate circumstance where you have been caught in the middle.
Mourn your loss
First things first. Don’t be too quick in putting your CV together and running out to find a job, any job will do! It is important that you take some time to grieve. You have suffered a devastating loss, you are hurt, angry, confused with a ‘Why Me!’ feeling. Write down how you are feeling, talk to people, and continue to express those feelings until you feel emptied. If necessary form a support group with people in the same situation – look after each other, get yourselves through this together.
These feelings will engross you and take over and, unless you allow them time to run their course, you will carry them with you into the next job. So mourn your loss and then prepare yourself for your next step – moving ahead.
Ask the HR department for help
The Human Resources department is usually well prepared when they know that there will be redundancies in an organisation. More than likely they will have all the necessary documentation ready for you. Make sure you get your record of employment and your letter of recommendation.
You can also ask the HR department to help with your job search. They can help by also making some calls for you to potential employers. This is especially evident in organisations that have undergone a major restructuring. Most of these organisations are more than willing to assist their employees as much as they possibly can – accept the help. It is so important that you do not take the situation personally.
Begin your campaign
Make finding a job a temporary setback. Approach this with the same energy you approached your ‘ real’ job. Keep a record of who you approach, their response and the job you have applied for. Get your CV out – review it, revise it, re-write it. Think of it as a product which you need to market – how can you make it stand out, how can you make it different from other people’s, what information can you put in there.
Keep a list of all the things you did at work as well as a list of names, addresses and phone numbers of people with whom you have worked with – managers, co-workers, customers, suppliers – these people can be good referrals.
Take one or two weeks to evaluate your situation. Look at this as an opportunity to review what you do and where you want to go from here. Set some deadlines. Don’t just hide your CV in a drawer. Many people bounce back into jobs that are even better than the ones they left so, ask yourself –
- What type of job am I looking for?
- How will this job fit in with my long-term career goals?
- What type of company would I like to work for?
- What skills do I currently have?
- What skills do I need to develop?
- Who are the potential employers?
Approach a Recruitment Agency – let them assist you with your search. Professional Recruitment Agencies do not charge you to leave your CV with them – and many of them offer career counselling. A good career counselor can help you choose your path before you start applying for any job that comes along – they will help you take time to make sure you are headed in the right direction. You have an opportunity to do something different with your life. You just might need some help figuring out how to transition your skills.
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Keep yourself going
Make a list of everything you like and appreciate about yourself. Include anything you have done in the past year – boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. Ask people for letters of appreciation – your managers, co-workers and even clients can be approached. It makes a wonderful addition to your portfolio.
Keep yourself active and fit. Don’t get in front of the TV and just vegetate. This is the worst thing you can do! Being inactive will make you think and fret more, making you grieve longer and finally not even finding the energy to get out, to keep looking for work. Go walking, or jogging, but do something! If you exercise in the morning, you will be pumped up for the day.
If you have a buddy who is in the same situation, suggest he or she join you. Your friend might provide just the motivation you need to get out of bed on those days when you would rather hide under the covers.
A great way to meet people and keep yourself busy is by volunteering some of your time doing charitable work. The rewards here will be enormous and it will also keep you busy and occupied, allowing little time for self-pity and feeling hard done by. It also opens up a world of possibilities – you can do good for others, you will appreciate what you have. You may even enhance your skills, or meet some prospective employers!
Time for reflection
It’s hard to move ahead when you don’t completely understand your past choices. Are you putting yourself into job situations that may not make sense for you? Are you a workaholic? Take the time to figure out what is or was driving your behaviour. If you realise you need to break a pattern of behaviour, seek professional help. If you are still covered under your former employer’s health plan, check to see if counselling sessions are included.
People hit with major, life disrupting experiences will tend to have a blaming reaction or a coping reaction. Find the positive in the situation – ask “why was it good that this happened?” What have you learned from this experience? How has it made you stronger? Help it make you a better person.
Prospective employers are impressed with someone who can admit to being distressed or upset by a situation but who have managed to find value in the experience. “Yes, it was tough, but I made it work for me!” – You need to be that person; you need to get on with your life.
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