1. It starts with the right mindset
You’ve been told that it is your job role which has been redundant, not you and you know you should not take it personally. This is true, but it still hurts and it’s best to accept that there will be an initial period when your self-esteem will be hit. This initial period should ideally be for a few days (or hours!) and definitely not weeks or months.
Sometimes the writing is on the wall that redundancy is possible or imminent, especially during recession. Other times, it comes like a bolt out of the blue. Either way, once it has happened try to use the initial period productively.
Don’t immediately start applying for other jobs, unless you are absolutely clear that they are right for you. A few days, just thinking about what you really enjoy and what you have to offer in terms of personal traits and skills can often lead to ‘out of the box’ job ideas rather than automatically seek the same type of role from which you have been made redundant. Getting out and about is best, either spending time with family and friends or taking long walks and other exercise which can help clear the head. Just try and avoid looking at four walls!
If redundancy happens, we can be affected in just two ways – it can make us weaker or it can make us stronger. It’s worth bearing in mind that 120,000 people became redundant in the UK, Feb-Apr 2014, voluntary or involuntary (source: Office of National Statistics). Basically, if it has happened to you – you are not alone and what matters, is how you deal with it.
2. Decide what you want
One of the best ways to deal with it, is to take it as an opportunity to really consider what is right for you. Yes, yes I hear you say, everyone says that! But some people do hit the panic button and only focus on the same type of role from which they were made redundant. This is fine if you really enjoyed that role and you felt that it was absolutely the right career path for you. If this is the case, then you are likely to have found your passion and should focus on finding it again.
If it is not the case, then it will be worthwhile to write down the plus and minuses of the last role and use it as a starting point to decide which career path is going to consistently stimulate and motivate you. This is the time to be really honest with yourself. What are your natural talents? What are your life values? What skills can you offer? What skills do you want to learn? What do you enjoy? What do you want your life to mean? The answer to the last question may show that you need to learn more or do more to achieve the knowledge and skills to reach your life goals. This may seem scary as it could take you out of your ‘comfort zone’ but it will be worth it!
Regardless of age, many people take redundancy as the ‘push’ they needed to start working for themselves and find the entrepreneurial spirit they didn’t know they had!
3. Make your Job Search your Job
A basic human need is to have Purpose and it brings out the best in us. When we have Purpose then our minds are focused on a goal and we feel more in control. We can pre-empt hurdles we are likely to face and not be in a constant state of reacting to situations, which just drains us of energy. If you have been made redundant then treating your Job Search as your Job can bring about remarkable results. You are, in effect, treating it as a project which has a start, middle and end and every day you are looking in the mirror at your new boss! This isn’t meant to be frightening but a reminder that you are in control of what you have achieved that day and what you will achieve the next. In fact the starting point is the ‘end’. Professional or unskilled, whatever your background and experience, write down the timescale for obtaining the role you have chosen. You may be under pressure but you should make the timescale realistic. Obviously there are exceptions and it depends on the level and type of role you are seeking, but allow three – six months. Then list the activity you need to do every month, week and day to work your plan. There will be good days and not so good days so don’t hesitate to get help from family, friends and professionals to keep on track.
You may find that your activity leads to changes in your original goal and you obtain a role you had not previously considered- but it ticks the boxes. This is because you are keeping an open-mind and your activity has created fresh opportunities. However, your goal of finding your ‘career of choice’ will have been achieved!