Four in every 1000 people in the UK accept redundancy per month. Redundancy is not “being managed out” of a business or being sacked; it is a commercial fact of the market. After 20 years in recruitment, I see redundancy as an opportunity to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. Why? How can you play it well?

Redundancy starts off as a shock

Logically and analytically you know it is not personal. But the person sitting in the desk next to you is still safe in their job! As a result you feel upset and anger. Bosses often deliver the news clumsily “I can’t afford you” or (yes really) “it was your head or mine and I have children”.

It is the role that is being made redundant!

You are not being made redundant, the role is. You have not lost your skills, talents and experience. There is no shame attached, no judgement.

Going Forward, the Temptation is to “Panic Purchase”

I believe that you need a “wound licking” period. I was ashamed to be made redundant in 2002. My boss made it my fault for not accepting a role with a reduced sales territory. I saw this limited my earnings potential, therefore took legal action. It meant that I had a nice financial buffer of a tax-free settlement to take time out and work out what I wanted.

Don’t make any major decisions until you are over the anger. Take some time. But you will get over it, you will recover, you are enough.

Working out what you want to do

You can now re-evaluate your career to date. What work brings you joy? What could you do all day? Is now the time to change direction? How are your values being met in the office? What do you want life to look like in five years’ time and how could a new job contribute to that?

Job seeking success:

Avoid firing off unfocused CVs in a desperate attempt to get any new job. Be ready to articulate: “this is my value” as you then stand out in the numbers game of job application. I often fill my roles this way: we shape jobs around a person who knows what they can bring.

Putting it into Practice – My Best Advice for Andrea

I advised a lady in mid-life who is feeling knocked after two redundancies:

Every job exists to solve a problem for an employer. What’s that for you? Speak to the results you deliver, not how you do it! Go back through old positive appraisals to remind yourself.

Seek experienced recruiters’ guidance on where they see the opportunities are (but don’t assume we know everything or let us limit you!). Have a “chief encourager’ (friend/mentor).

Show you are training up in relevant areas; being constantly eager to learn is a vital quality. It also feels positive to be growing and achieving whilst you are searching

When networking always have a service mentality: how can you help the other first? This avoids you appearing needy. You enjoy it more and feel more powerful!

Keep turning over stones: rejection/no news at all is a fact of the job search. Every no, statistically, is closer to a yes. That’s why pursuing a course or hobby helps feed your “achiever” whilst you are looking.

This article advises on how to refer to redundancy in interview. 

I’m yet to see someone come back worse off after a redundancy. It so often forces our hand and makes us see a role that is so much better matched to us and our purpose. I know you’ll stay on the right side of my statistics!!