by Catherine Armstrong
During this economic climate more people are facing up to the prospect of redundancy. Budget cuts in the once-secure public sector mean that many people are losing their jobs on academic, managerial and support staff teams. These tips will help you to cope with redundancy and to plan where you might take your career from there.
1. Offered another job? Don’t rush into it.
Your company or institution may find an alternative position for you rather than cutting you loose entirely. This is not always the positive outcome that it initially appears. Make sure that the salary, benefits and duties are similar to your original job. You do not have to take this post; you are entitled to take redundancy instead if the job that they offer does not suit you. Try to think about this in the long term as well as the short term. On hearing you will be made redundant from one post, you might be feeling rather desperate, but do not take the alternative job simply because you feel you have to. If the job is not right for you, then move on and find something else.
2. Redundancy pay: don’t spend it all at once!
If you do opt for taking redundancy, you will probably have some sort of lump sum redundancy payout from your company or institution if you have worked there for at least two years continuously. Remember that this may have to tide you over for several months so be careful with the money. If your job search takes longer than anticipated then careful budgeting is required. On the other hand, if you find a job very quickly then you may have some money to spare!
Despite your payout you still might not have enough money to cover all the bills, so it is important to face this reality immediately. Do not bury your head in the sand and hope the problem will go away. Your priority is to safeguard your mortgage and any other big bills that you have. Talk to your bank or loan company as soon as you know there may be a problem.
3. Plan for the future: CV building
Being made redundant can knock your confidence but it is important to get back into the job-hunting game as soon as possible. One way to increase your confidence and inspire you to search for new jobs is by updating your CV. If you haven’t had to look for work recently your CV may be out of date, so it is a useful exercise to update it to include all the skills, knowledge and experience you have acquired.
This activity might also encourage you to think more broadly about the work that you could be doing. Although redundancy is a horrible experience, it also offers fresh opportunities. You could decide to have a complete change of career and re-train in a different field. Or perhaps the set of skills you have developed naturally lead you to explore a career in another field. Redundancy could be an opportunity to take your chances in an unknown area.
4. Stay positive
You probably feel a range of troubling emotions when first hearing the news of your redundancy, ranging from anger and aggression through to fear, hopelessness and self-doubt. This is natural. Redundancy makes us feel as though we have been personally rejected, although in reality this is rarely the case. More likely, a financial decision will have been taken by someone who doesn’t even know you or your work. They are certainly not basing that decision on the role you played in the company or institution.
If you feel especially troubled by your redundancy and are not able to see the positive side and start rebuilding your career, then you may need counselling or the help of an organisation such as The Samaritans. Again, as with finance, don’t allow problems to fester and be ignored. Seek help immediately. Your partner and family might also be feeling vulnerable and insecure so this is a time when you need to sit down and discuss these issues together.
5. Be honest with future employers
Facing redundancy will not affect your future job-hunting. Having said that, you might be asked in an interview about your redundancy, especially if the loss of jobs at your previous employer was public knowledge or was covered prominently in the media. There is no point lying in that situation; redundancy is nothing to be ashamed of. Be honest about your previous job, but try to put a positive spin on your job loss, explaining, for example, how it encouraged you to move in a new direction. You can use the story to show employers that you are a dedicated and committed candidate who has the courage to start afresh in a new career.