Reflections on Redundancy

As I write this, I am listening to my neighbour’s decorator warbling the same – very out of tune – line from an 80’s classic (I believe it’s I Think We’re Alone Now), over, and over, and over….. He has been singing the same song for the last 3 days on and off, and has a cracking set of lungs on him.

How do I know this? Because I am currently out of work, and spending most of my days at home in front of my laptop; filling in job applications and sending emails to people who I hope will become key contacts and, ultimately, help me to secure my next job.

I have been thinking about writing this post for quite a while now; but for one reason or another have persisted in putting it off. Redundancy is a very personal thing to talk about; but ultimately is not something to be ashamed of and can, I believe, work out for the best in the long run. So, here are my reflections on redundancy, the effect it can have; and how to make the most out of the situation.

Take Time to Unwind 

Being told that you are being made redundant has most likely come as a huge shock – even if it hasn’t; that doesn’t stop the fear, anger and general disbelief from knocking the breath out of you. When you’re going through the process, it can feel like you’re gliding through it on autopilot. It’s not until you reach the end, have left your old office for the very last time, and are finally home; that the emotional toll really hits. Make sure you take some time to yourself to come to terms with the change, relax and recuperate; before going into anything new – you’ll thank yourself for giving your mind a rest in the long run.

Find the Positive in the Negative

Although at the time it may feel like everything is going wrong; on reflection, you may find that this turn of events is a blessing in disguise. Maybe you were actually feeling undervalued in your previous role; or perhaps you’d been thinking about taking the next step, but were afraid to commit to moving on. Redundancy means that all ties with your previous working life are cut; and you are free to make a fresh start, without the constant worry at the back of your mind that, perhaps, you weren’t doing the right thing after all.

Review, Reflect and Remind

This is a perfect opportunity to look back over your career to date, and reflect on your own personal growth over the last few years.

When I joined my last employer; I was 22 years old and straight out of university. I was terrified to answer the phone in case I had to *shock horror* speak to a customer; I was more focused on keeping everyone happy and never saying no than on making my own life easier; and I couldn’t have stood up to speak – confidently – in a room full of strangers if it was going to save my life. When I left, I had successfully worked my way into the marketing role I had wanted; project managed national product launches; learned to manage expectations; and presented in a room of 30+ peers; among them senior company directors.

When you’re setting your thoughts in order and preparing to apply for new roles, or even if you’re just having a bad day and it feels like the world is against you; take a few minutes to look back on where you were 5 years ago, and where you might be another 5 years down the line. The difference between those 2 places is astonishing, and it will do wonders to help crush your inner demons.

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Don’t take Rejection Personally

Ah, that old stinger.You’ve filled in the application (in itself; possibly a small dissertation), completed the written task, prepared the presentation and nailed it…. but still didn’t get the outcome you were hoping for. That ominous “they really liked you, but….” can sink your spirits in a heartbeat and leave you thinking all sorts of crazy things about your ability to get any job at all.

Stop it.

As wonderful as it would be to walk straight into the first job you apply for; for the vast majority of us, this is just not going to be the case. Inevitably, it’s going to take a few attempts to get there, and that is nothing to be demoralised by. Every presentation and every interview is an experience to practise your technique, take feedback on board and work it into your future applications. Similarly, if you feel like in interview has gone badly; think about why that was, make a note, and learn from it. Chin up, push on.

Learn Something New

If you’ve got a bit of extra time on your hands; why not use it to learn something new and add another string to your bow? Whether that is adding another professional skill to your portfolio through freelancing or free/paid for courses; or something completely personal and not at all linked to your line of work, take your mind off things and expand your repertoire.

And finally, remember…..

This, too, shall pass.

Go forth and be awesome!

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