14 Aug Coping with being made redundant…How to overcome negative feelings and take the next steps in your career.
As the devastating impacts of COVID-19 continue across the UK, many companies are having to take the difficult decision to make redundancies. With thousands of individuals already having lost their jobs, and more set to do so in the coming months, many will be left wondering what their next steps are and how to navigate this difficult situation.
Whilst some will seek a job in the same industry, others will be left reflecting on what career choice they want to make next. The stress of redundancy could also have a negative knock-on effect on their home life and personal relationships and whether or not they will be able to pay the bills. Not only that, the situation could have a detrimental impact on their confidence and self-esteem, exacerbating worries about whether or not they will ever get another job, resulting in negative emotions and feelings running riot.
For Essex based women’s life and mindset coach Shelley Bosworth, this is all totally normal and to be expected when someone loses a job, especially if it is one they have been in for a while or one they love. The good news is that while such a massive change and upheaval can be scary initially, she stresses positive things can and will come out of it.
With more than 20 years of corporate experience under her belt, Shelley uses this past experience to provide advice and guidance to those whose lives have been turned upside down or who have reached a point where they want to re-evaluate, gain some perspective or clarity. However, the current pandemic has put a new spin on things and for a number of people it is the first time they have faced being made redundant and are not sure what to do next.
“Shock, shame, dented pride and a knock to self-confidence are very common emotions following bad news such as redundancy,” she says. “It is totally normal to feel like this and I always say it is important to acknowledge these feelings, rather than suppress them.
“However perhaps surprisingly, a sense of relief, is now equally common and something I am seeing and hearing more of – lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic have got many people re-evaluating their lives.
“Once the initial shock has worn off people begin to think about what is important and whether they want to be working as many hours or be in the kind of job they were in previously. Arguably having a decision taken out of your hands can open up all sorts of possibilities and be very positive.”
But what about those who don’t feel this sense of relief and are in fact very anxious about the future? Shelley advises not to rush into any decisions but rather take a step back and focus on what you really want to happen.
“It’s all too easy to rush in and make snap decisions,” she says. “However, I’d caution against this because panic decisions do not lead to positive outcomes.
“Firstly, get absolute clarity from the business you are being made redundant from as to what support if any is being offered, to try and understand the selection process and seek feedback on your performance in the role. This will really help with the job search stage of the process.”
In terms of practical advice, Shelley says updating CVs and LinkedIn pages is a must, as is reaching out to people in your network whether personal or professional, and those who you have worked with in the past or who have helped you in your career to date. The old adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has never been more apt.
However, perhaps more crucially, Shelley says it’s important to change your mindset and realise redundancy is not personal – especially in this current economic climate. It is the role which is redundant, not the person.
And she suggests a way to tackle this mindset is to talk about how you are feeling whether to a partner or friend, or even better, to someone such as a life coach who is not emotionally involved in the situation. “Life coaches such as myself are skilled in enabling people to unravel all their thoughts, questions and concerns in a coherent and positive way,” she explains.
“The first thing to do is to listen to what the person is saying and then talk through their worries. It is important to help them see the bigger picture, both their own and that of the world around them.
“Equally they need to understand this is happening across many different industries and it is nothing personal. At the moment this is happening to a great many employees and it’s good to make that point so people realise they are not the only ones going through this.
“The journey after redundancy is different for everyone but tends to travel a very similar path to a grieving process. It can be a shock even if you know it’s a possibility, or even if it’s a relief.
“People tend to move straight into a panic zone – what does it mean? What will happen? Will I be OK? Then some move into denial, into emotion and fear before moving on to a place of acceptance and choosing their next steps on the path.
“I try and help people on this journey so they can see this as an opportunity rather than a negative event, a time to take stock and decide what they want for their future. I want to enable them to begin to believe again that not only can they come back from this, but they can do so potentially stronger and with a better outcome.”
Shelley adds, “it’s important to remember that redundancy doesn’t just happen to the individual, it happens to those closest to them and therefore it will also have an effect on them.”
“They will want to be there for the person who is going through this,” she says. “However, they will likely carry their own emotions and opinions on what happened, is happening, what should be done and what the individual should do.
“I always advise talking to your partner, share how you are feeling, your worries and concerns and work together on what the future plan is. Be honest about what support you need and don’t need!”
And if a coach is not a feasible option right now, Shelley advises simply take some time to stop, think and ponder some questions such as: Where do I want to be in 12 to 24 months? If I could do anything as a career what would it be? Which roles have I most enjoyed in my career and why? What are my core values? What are my key strengths? What are the things I absolutely did not enjoy in my recent role?
“These are simply meant to get you thinking but also help create some clarity on where to start searching if a job search is the priority,” she explains. “The most important thing is it’s essential to help someone acknowledge and accept their journey and their feelings and support them to move through and take actions that are right for them and what they and their family need.
“Redundancy doesn’t mean the end – it can be just the beginning of a bright future.”