Are you redundant or fired? Do’s and Don’ts for the next stage of your life

Everyone dreads being made redundant. Trying to live a decent quality of life means taking on certain responsibilities, like a mortgage and a family, which have to be continually serviced and provided for. Worse still, a job is a kind of status for who we are and wish to be. It is the anchor in our lives which emphasises our achievements, talent and potential. But in our rapidly evolving technology age, no job is for life anymore. The world is gradually turning from a service environment to an information one, where short term contracts and temporary work are becoming an integral part of our working day. Many people now live in fear of losing their jobs as companies downsize, restructure or outsource their work altogether.

Panic sets in at times when one loses one’s job involuntarily. Those are the worst moments when every debt looms large and simply surviving suddenly becomes a major issue. But how that redundancy or firing is handled in that first week will be crucial to what happens later on, and the last thing anyone should do is seek another job immediately. There are a few key reasons for this.

  1. When we are made redundant, or fired, we perceive a strong negative message about who we are. No matter how good we felt before, or were regarded by colleagues, our self-esteem immediately goes to be replaced by feelings of insecurity, loss of confidence and simple, naked fear. Unfortunately, fear can make us do a lot of things we might come to regret, so it is never a good thing to act from a position of fear.
  2. Every change in our lives is essential for making us into better human beings. Sometimes, when we deliberately ignore the changes needed, the Universe has a way of forcing that change upon us by taking it out of or hands in the form of redundancy. It means we then have to take time to reflect on who we are and where we are heading.
  3. Once you bounce from one job to another, in very quick succession, it carries an air of desperation and downgrades your own competence and desirability. It means that you might take anything at all offered to you, in that moment, in order to feel wanted and respected again. However, as not much thought would have gone into that decision, redundancy is likely to be repeated again, or you would not really advance in the manner that you should mainly because your confidence will never be at a level to propel you forward in your new environment. It is likely to remain lower than you desire.
  4. You need time to reflect; time to savour what you have achieved, to sort out just who you are as a person, and to assess how happy you were in that position, if you were really happy. If you were not, then getting a similar position will not make you shine any brighter and only result in disillusionment further down the line.

So what should you be doing?

The first week

In that first week, the first couple of days to be precise, you should do absolutely nothing, except work out how long you can realistically stay without working. Treat this week as a well-earned rest. Let the news sink in without fear. Mull over the job, think about what you liked and didn’t like. Think about why you might have been made redundant. AVOID BLAME and SCAPEGOATS. It only makes you seem bitter and unattractive to new employers. Your situation is not unique, though it’s tough. Deal with it. Do NOT think about bills and mortgages now. They will always be there. If your spouse really loves and cares for you, he/she will be very supportive at this time and give you space to sort your life out without any extra pressure.

In the next two days, begin to make a list of possible options. Be as bold and brave as you can. Dream as impossibly high as you care to dream. Then put the ones with the most possibility at the top. However, concentrate on going after the ones in the middle of your list because they would represent advancement and extra challenge for you. Look also at your own skills. Do they need updating? Could you do with a couple of quick courses while you are applying for the next job? How about that confidence, does it need boosting/counselling?

The next two days should be devoted to YOU. Who are you? What do you really want from your life? What kind of things do you really enjoy doing? What do you dislike doing at work? Are you a team player or a worker who prefers to do it alone? Where are you heading? What would you like to learn/do, if money were no object? Why can’t you head for it now? What are your hopes, your fears, the obstacles keeping you back? Are you your worst enemy? How is your self-belief and personal confidence? What are your priorities now?

By discovering who you are, your weaknesses, priorities and where you’re heading, you will also learn which of the job options would not really be suitable or would not give you the fulfilment you seek.

The Final Day

The final day of this first week is the time to start talking with your partner or spouse about your situation and the potential solutions you have worked out. Most important, all during that week, you would be telling yourself what a wonderful person you are, how talented and how capable; that this was just a temporary setback which is good for you to revamp because you WILL find something even better which will develop your talents even more.

If you do all that, you will find that the next week, when you begin the actual process of looking for a job, you will be doing it from a different mindset. You would have allowed yourself to grieve, without fear, to stock take and to examine your options with greater confidence. instead of sounding like a desperate loser making apologies for being redundant, or fired, you will sound like a winner with something to offer that new company because you would have worked out why you have what it is they might want. It would have sunk in that the more experience you have the more you have to offer. Additionally, you would have gained a fresh new perspective about your life and its possibilities.

Thus being redundant is not a time for feeling sorry for one’s self and fearing the worst, but actually a time of recovery and an exciting launch pad for even greater things, if you truly believe in yourself.