Returning to work…after redundancy

When it comes to redundancy I have lots of valuable experience. Over the years I have supported over 4500 people who have been made redundant as well as being made redundant myself in 2009 and I have learnt some important lessons about returning to work after redundancy.

If you are currently facing redundancy or if you have been made redundant and are looking for a new role there are two key points you need to know:

  1. Everyone reacts differently, and it is important to remember that this is perfectly normal. Being made redundant is a traumatic time in anyone's career; even if they are secretly hoping for it to happen. You may go through a cycle of emotions ranging from denial to anger to depression to acceptance. You may go through feelings of elation to despair; from a blur of applying for new jobs to the complete lack of motivation to even turn on the computer to search, let along actually sit down and write an application.You may feel anger towards your (ex-) employer, your family, friends and colleagues. You may feel a sense of betrayal, denial or disbelief. You may feel all of this very quickly or it may happen over many months. You will feel that you are turning a corner and then may find you slip back into a moment ( or longer) of frustration and self-doubt. Some phases will last longer than others and some colleagues will move through them at a completely different pace to you. It is important that you recognise that you need to work at your own speed. I have good news for you though. It will pass and you will come out the other side.2. In my experience more than 95% of people I speak to a year after being made redundant are happy in their new role and generally say to us how happy they are that it happened - 'it was the kick I needed to do something different' is a common phrase I hear when all the dust has settled.

Bearing those important points in mind, when you are ready and thinking about applying for a new role I would suggest you stay calm and get support - through your HR team, an outplacement team (if provided), a careers coach and your friends and family.

Be realistic about the jobs you are applying for; you don't need to take a huge pay cut or rush out and pay for training. Spend a week or more if you can thinking about what you would like to do. Ask yourself:

  • Do I want to do something similar, completely different?
  • What have I enjoyed in your career so far?
  • Will I need to leave the company?
  • Who else do I know who has been made redundant?
  • What did they do and were they successful?

As you can see, a significant number of questions before 'what job can I get?'. Be strategic in your approach, this is where a coach can help. Like with any career break start by focusing on your strengths, then start applying for things which interest you. Think about location and salary as well as the most important factor: passion. Being made redundant could be exactly what you need for a new start or new career but there is no need to move sector if you don't wish to.

Finally I would encourage you to remember that redundancy is very common, it is not the black mark against you that people think it is and employers are very used to gaps on CVs - it's what you do in that gap which counts! Think about how you will use any time off you have - finishing that DIY you have been meaning to do, spending time with the family, volunteering etc.

Have you been made redundant before? What would your top tips be? I would love to hear and share them. Comment below.


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