I’ve been made redundant twice within the last ten years.
It was a very painful process, followed by a nervous breakdown and a lengthy period of depression. I lost my working visa in the UK, boyfriend, apartment – and all this in one week.
The first couple of chapters of my novel ‘Snow Job: The Big Game’ (https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B071YWNSZ7) are almost autobiographical, based on the story of how I lost my job in the 2008 financial crisis at Lehman Brothers and found a new one with the help of the magic job search spreadsheet.
So here is what I would now recommend to myself eight years ago, after being told it would not be necessary to return to my desk. Back then it seemed like the end of the world.
1. Calm down. When one door shuts, another one (a better one) will sooner or later open up. This is an axiom. Of course we can dig ourselves a hole, complain, feel sorry for ourselves and try to justify our destructive actions (or lack of action). But the thing is, the same actions always bring you to the same result. So change the initial action: get up from your couch, learn new skills, tailor your CV to a specific vacancy, do your research on the hiring manager/firm/industry you want to join, go to the relevant events, professional exhibitions and shows, meet people, follow them up, create opportunities for yourself.
2. Develop your personal brand and increase your social capital via social media and professional publications. It is very simple – the better you are known in your industry, the higher your chances of finding new employment, a promotion and a raise.
3. Know what you want. Clearly this is easier said than done. Many people struggle to figure it out all their lives, and it is a problem. Navigator is not going to bring you anywhere if you didn’t enter the address. It is crucial to understand where you want to get to (in a year, in five years) in terms of industry, position, salary, working hours, office environment, business trips, etc. Define what kind of lifestyle you want, what cannot be negotiated and where you could compromise. Money is important but it is not everything. The trend across the industries these days is to reduce compensation. There are plenty of highly skilled professionals looking for jobs. But those who can quickly adapt to a new reality are more likely to get hired.
4. Define the areas of your expertise. Is it possible that while in your previous job, you took some courses, or read plenty of books in some other area? Could this become your main area of activity? Or maybe you could combine the two? Maybe you could start your own business. Read my blog post How to overcome your fears to launch a new career, start a business or dive into a creative endeavor here (link). With the reduction of traditional roles in mainstream industries it can be a good idea to look into other (trendy) industries (like IT) or, vice versa, into more niche ones.
5. Create a circle of like-minded people who inspire you. If you are surrounded by successful and positive people it is very likely that you will become one of them. We are the weighted average of our circle of friends and it is our responsibility to create it and keep it healthy.
Losing a job is a very stressful experience, but it is not the end of the world. If I hadn’t lost mine, I would not have had the inspiration to write my novel and would not have met the love of my life. Being made redundant can be a very good catalyst to grow as a person – something which might not have happened if everything had stayed the same. It can be a wake-up call or a cold shower, but the main thing is to stay positive and keep moving forward.
How do/did you cope with redundancy? What do you think could be a constructive outcome of it?