Whether redundancy occurs due to a corporate restructuring, economic downturn, or a change in company direction, it's usually one of the most challenging and disheartening experiences in your career.
However, it can also be an opportunity for reinvention and growth.
In this blog post, I’ll be sharing what I learned from my own redundancy experience when it came to deciding what to do next.
My redundancy experience
Exactly ten years ago, due to redundancy, I left a large national organisation where I’d worked for 18 years. During that time, I had a total of six roles. The first one was for 7 years and then over the rest of my time, I gradually took on more and more team and project responsibility, and more senior roles.
I absolutely loved it and I never considered leaving. Even though at times there were frustrations, it was ok; no job is 100% perfect.
However, as sometimes happens when you least expect it, you’re having to work out what’s next before you’re ready. Because what you thought was next, isn’t there.
Even though for me, there was a role I could do, it wasn’t what I wanted, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to play to my strengths.
Therefore, I made the difficult decision to take the redundancy and leave, a not insignificant moment in my career.
What to do next after redundancy
✔️ Give yourself the gift of time.
Take a step back and allow yourself to process your emotions and thoughts. It's absolutely ok to feel a mix of emotions including shock, anger, sadness, fear and frustration.
I realised that I needed to give myself permission to grieve the loss of the role I loved in an organisation I'd worked in for nearly two decades.
It had become an integral part of my identity and routine, and you can't let that go overnight.
✔️ Work out what you want.
Take time to work out what you want. You don't have to accept the first job you're offered because you feel desperate and just want to be employed.
By the same token, don't take a scattergun approach by applying for everything in sight. Take time to review and evaluate your strongest skills, the stuff you like doing and are good at.
It all helps when it comes to working out which roles will be a good fit for you.
✔️ Explore your options.
Take time to think about the career options you could go for. You might want to look for a similar role in a different organisations, explore consulting or freelance opportunities, or even start your .own business.
Chat to mentors, coaches or peers to gain insights into what's possible for you.
✔️ Process your emotions.
Accept that you're going to feel crappy for a bit - even before you leave. It's normal to feel worthless, underappreciated and have a crisis of confidence because you feel like you weren't good enough to keep.
Admit that's how you feel, be with as long as you need and then focus on taking steps to move on.
A lot will be impacted by your redundancy and it's likely to be an emotional time.
And do seek support where you need it.
✔️ Focus on building your network of connections.
Initially, it can help to share with others who have experienced redundancy. You've likely built a valuable professional network over the years.
Reach out to let people know what you’re searching for in your next role. You never know what’s out there unless you ask.
The relationships I built in my previous roles led to a lot of referrals and work in a way I’d never anticipated, particularly via online networking platforms like LinkedIn.
✔️ Invest in your learning and development.
Continuously learning and growing is pretty essential, especially in a rapidly changing job market. Think about where you’d like to further develop and expand your skillset and knowledge base.
There are so many options such as online courses, workshops, or certifications you can take advantage of. Or you can go to industry events and conferences to meet new people and learn about new opportunities.
All of these will help you stay competitive and feel confident in your abilities.
Worried about doing interviews again? Take a read of my blog: The top interview mistakes you might not realise you’re making to avoid common mistakes and give you confidence in the process.
✔️ Set clear goals.
Once you’re a bit clearer on what you have to offer, then you can start to think about goal setting. It helps you stay focused and motivated knowing what you want to achieve in the next step in your career.
✔️ Be adaptable.
Embrace the chance for a change and be open to exploring opportunities that may be different from what you’ve done previously.
Consider industries or positions that align with your skills but present a fresh and exciting challenge.
Flexibility is always a key asset especially when it comes to finding the right fit for your next career move.
✔️ Don’t neglect your health and well-being.
Redundancy is a stressful and uncertain time and can take its toll on your physical and mental well-being.
Think about the activities that you enjoy and schedule time for them in your diary. Feeling happy and relaxed will help your well-being and positivity.
✔️ Stay positive.
Job searching, especially with redundancy hanging over you, can be challenging. Maintaining your positivity and resilience in the face of setbacks isn’t easy.
Take time to reframe your thinking and start to view rejections as a step closer to the right opportunity.
Challenges can be opportunities for learning and personal and professional growth.
✔️ Don’t go it alone.
Seek professional guidance from career and leadership coaches or mentors who have experience supporting individuals through career changes. Their expertise can provide valuable insights, assist in identifying your strengths, and offer professional support to make informed decisions about potential career paths.
And the biggest thing – don’t take any of it personally. Even if it feels personal, it probably isn’t.
Harbouring resentment, bitterness, frustration and anger will only hurt you in the long run.
Reframing redundancy as a chance for new beginnings
Redundancy might feel like it’s the end of your career, but it's not. Instead, it can be the beginning of a new and exciting chapter.
I’ve been through redundancy and I’ve also coached many clients to positively come out the other side of what can be a pretty devastating experience. From these experiences, I have seen that often the worst things that happen to us can turn out to be the best things.
You have a unique blend of skills, experience, and perspective that can drive your success in a wide range of endeavours.
By taking time to reflect, set clear goals, explore your options, and embrace change, you can get through with confidence and emerge stronger and more empowered than ever before.
It's also easier when you have the support you need in your corner rather than to have to go it alone.
If you'd like help to get clarity about your next steps as you go through the redundancy process and to feel confident about what you have to offer, then get in touch and ask me about my Redundancy Recovery Programme.
This is a one day bespoke 1:1 coaching programme that will support you to survive and thrive both during and after redundancy.
Because redundancy needn’t be the end of the world. Sometimes, it can mean the start of a new one.