What to do if you’re made redundant

I became a careers adviser in 2009 when I was made redundant from the pharmaceutical industry. Since then I have supported over 5000 people, with almost all of them having experienced redundancy. Here’s my advice on what do if you’re at risk of redundancy or you’re made redundant. 

The emotional rollercoaster of being made redundant

The first thing I often talk about with clients who’ve been made redundant is the emotional rollercoaster that everyone goes through. It’s actually the change curve, originally devised by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. I like the revised version by John Fisher because it goes into more depth. 

Essentially though, you will experience the following:

  1. The news you’re at risk of redundancy/you are being made redundant
  2. Denial: “well, I’m only at risk, maybe they’ll change their minds”
  3. Anger: “I can’t believe this is happening, how dare they do this in the middle of a global pandemic?!”
  4. Bargaining: “I’ll take any job. It doesn’t matter if I drop £20k a year”
  5. Depression: “I’m never going to find anything”
  6. Acceptance: “I’m ready to find a job that I deserve”

Now, you will move through these emotions (with your own thoughts of course) in your own time. Some of you will be quick moving through, others slower, others will swing between the phases. It’s all normal and it’s all ok. 

Challenge your limiting beliefs

The main thing to check is if the thoughts you’re having are true aka challenging your limiting beliefs. So let’s take a common thought people have in the bargaining phase: “I’ll take anything available”

So here there’s a few things going on. First, you’re assuming that there will be nothing similar to what you’re doing now in terms of level, salary, responsibility, etc. Secondly you’re assuming that an employer will take you on at any level, salary responsibility. Thirdly, you’re assuming you’d be happy with ‘anything’. I won’t even start on the beliefs you may have about your own worth – that will be for another day! 

The thing to do is to challenge those thoughts: 

  • Is it true there’s *nothing* available for you in a job you’re qualified for? (In my experience people can’t see how their skills might transfer so if it’s not an exact match, they don’t think they could do it – in many cases they could.)
  • What could be a concern for an employer taking someone on at a lower salary/responsibility level than they were previously on? 
  • What would make you happy in your job/career? (This is where most people come to me)

Practical advice if you’re made redundant

Searching for jobs when you’ve been made redundant is the same at any other time: use online job boards (many redundancy support programmes have their own jobs boards in addition to ones like www.indeed.com). Consider using recruitment agencies, particularly those who recruit in a niche area. They’re particularly good for temporary roles, of which many lead on to permanent roles. I don’t normally recommend agencies since I believe it is the rapport you build with each individual recruiter that makes the difference, however, there are these few which are useful for women returning to work, and looking for part-time: 

I would also encourage you to consider how many days you want to work, how far you want to travel and the skills you want to use. If you need any support then please get in touch. I will do a sequel article next week on changing careers after redundancy. 


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