What should you do if you are made redundant?

The past year has resulted in huge uncertainty throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Ours and our families’ health, wellbeing and education are all at risk, and so are many of our jobs. The working landscape is volatile, and we’re all faced with an uncertainty that hasn’t been seen since the recession of 2008 where 1.31 million people were made redundant.

Unfortunately, redundancy doesn’t only happen during times of crisis, the threat is very real at any point in someone’s career. Most of the time it’s something that we simply don’t have any control over. Since 2000, an average of 142.5 thousand people per year have been made redundant throughout the UK.

Job loss will affect people very differently. Whether it’s mental, physical or financial; there’s no one-size fits all way of coping with redundancy. However, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you are looking after yourself and your wellbeing as well as giving yourself the best chance of getting back into work as soon as possible.

Allow yourself time

It’s ok to take time to grieve, it’s a natural way of moving on. By giving yourself time to process your situation you will set yourself up for a better chance of healing. However, what’s important is that you don’t spend too much time dwelling on these feelings and moving yourself into a victim mentality.

Allowing yourself time also means giving yourself the chance to sit back and evaluate how you are going to manage the next few weeks. Mapping out a clear budget, sorting rent or mortgages, arranging or cancelling childcare are all things to consider. Once you have these worries sorted, you can start focusing once more on your career.

Review your experience

Map out your strengths and experience and add them to all of your profiles. This includes CVs, LinkedIn – anything that advertises you in a professional capacity. Really show off who you are and what you’ve done. Whilst a redundancy can knock your self-esteem, the more you can share about your professional self, your skills and your attributes, the more likely you are to get back on your feet.

On this note, take this time to ask colleagues and clients for testimonials. A line or two about your abilities, showcased by other individuals is a great way to strengthen your profile as well as giving you a reason to reach out or keep in touch with some potentially valuable contacts.

Ask for help

There is no escaping the fact that the job market is not an easy place to navigate and it’s completely understandable to feel lost and disheartened. But there is no shame in asking for help.

Whether this is by surrounding yourself with a personal network of people for support or turning to professional services such as utilising a recruitment service which can help you get in touch with the right people at the right time, bettering your chances of finding employment once again; government benefit schemes or the Job Centre’s Rapid Response service - having people around to lean on will help to lighten the load.

Asking for help will relieve stresses and anxieties but opening up also takes courage which in itself is a fantastic self-development tool. By being vulnerable you are giving yourself the chance to grow, which will help both personally and professionally.

Stay in a routine

It can be easy to fall into a trap of unproductivity during a period of redundancy, which directly correlates with a victim mentality. It’s tempting to have a lie-in or break into a new box set but, while this is fine in moderation, neither of these things are going to help you in the long run.

Make sure you are sticking to a routine. Get up, get dressed and set yourself tasks between the hours of 9-5 (or equivalent), taking plenty of short breaks in between. Then, just like you would at the end of the working day, give yourself time to unwind and relax.

Whilst your routine could include anything: DIY and odd jobs, baking, cleaning and so on, now is the time to really consider what else you could do to help your community. Local charities are always looking for support especially over the past year.

Giving back not only benefits the wider world around you but, it can have a fantastic effect on mental health and wellbeing in these difficult times. It gives a sense of purpose, a distraction from negative thoughts and a chance to interact with others and share how you feel.

Explore new pathways

Throughout your career you will have built a wealth of transferrable skills, from the basic knowledge of computer programmes to more intricate skills such as people management, leadership and problem solving. If you have been made redundant, your first instinct will most likely be to look for a job in your usual field. If this doesn’t work out, you may feel as if you have failed and you may want to give up.

But giving up isn’t the answer here. If you can’t find a job in your industry, perhaps it’s time to look for something completely different. Yes, this will be different and that might be daunting, but it is doable.

The old adage, “when one door closes another one opens”, couldn’t be truer in this situation. Many websites offer online diplomas or free training courses, so during your period of downtime or redundancy, upskilling is a great way to make the most of your time. It may also lead to new opportunities along the way.

A redundancy can be a stressful and worrying time however, there are many ways you can navigate through and even come out stronger on the other side. Stay positive and stay motivated and you will find a way through.

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