Redundancy – A Hurdle, Not A Roadblock
Whether you’ve been retrenched, made redundant or your contract has not been renewed – losing your job is not something that any of us wish to experience in our careers. Aside from the fact it’s disheartening, it can also have significant implications on your life – from affecting cash flow to decreasing self-confidence and motivation. Unfortunately, redundancy is not uncommon, with SEEK data indicating that 1 in 4 Australians have been made redundant in their lives.
The Australian Government’s Fair Work Ombudsman describes redundancy as something that happens, “when an employer either doesn’t need an employee’s job to be done by anyone, or becomes insolvent or bankrupt.” A number of factors can drive this, including a downturn in business income, the introduction of new technology, or the closure, relocation or restructure of an organisation.
With the market becoming more and more frugal, businesses are being mindful of every dollar spent. This includes regular evaluation of the necessity of a resource, often leading to job cuts when least expected. Although it is very difficult, redundancy should not be taken personally, as it is the discontinuation of a position rather than a person.
Executive Style spoke with Daryl Stillwell, a psychologist specialising in organisational management, who explained that as much as we try not to take the news personally, most of us do. “They see it as a reflection of themselves, thinking it’s a failure,” he said. According to Stillwell, the most common reactions to redundancy are anxiety, fear the unknown and feeling confused about what to do next.
Also read: How to Become More Resilient
Planning your next move
So, if you’re experiencing redundancy, where do you begin? If time and finances permit, taking a short break is ideal as it allows you to recharge. Be mindful not to leave it too long before applying for other jobs though, as you can lose motivation and relevance.
When Brisbane mum Janet Camilleri was made redundant from her government job, she made use of the help that was offered to her and encourages anyone experiencing redundancy to do the same. Her former employer provided free sessions with a financial advisor and a psychologist, but it took her a couple of months before taking the plunge to see the latter.
“By that stage, I was struggling quite a bit with all of the emotions that my redundancy had stirred up,” she said. “In hindsight, I don’t know why I waited. Those sessions helped me to get everything in perspective and see the upside of things.”
This goes for any services that are being offered to you, including career transition support. If your employer doesn’t have such services, consider proactively visiting a career counsellor to get ideas, support and inspiration. This can be really helpful after redundancy as it will help you focus on your priorities and find that zest for your future. It’s important to address emotions and make a plan for moving forward – the longer you sit tight, the harder it will be to move on.
The next step will be to freshen up your LinkedIn profile and resume, ensuring they accurately reflect your skills, experience, projects and results. The career counsellor could also assist in preparing you for interviews, explaining some common questions and the type of examples you should consider before attending.
A final step is to consider whether the redundancy happened for a reason. Could it be time to re-invent yourself? If you weren’t happy in your field or role, there’s nothing stopping you from giving something new a go. In fact, it’s the perfect opportunity.
Also read: 6 Ways to Remain Relevant at Work
Consider it an opportunity for growth
While it’s often hard to see the silver lining, there is great merit in making the most of the situation. For example, this could include undertaking some additional study to build on your skill set and make you a strong candidate for your preferred role. This is one of the main reasons why students pursue the Master of Business Administration (MBA), as they see it as a means of changing role, industry or function. It’s a great time to consider your passion and work out how to best follow it.
If you’re stuck, consider asking yourself questions such as:
- Where would I like to be in five years’ time?
- What am I interested in? What makes me feel motivated and engaged?
- What do I need to get to this goal?
- What elements did I like about my last role? What would I like in a new role?
Redundancy poses a unique opportunity to find a role that you really love, getting you closer to where you want to be in your career and achieving the goals that you set. While it’s no easy journey, it’s important to stay positive and focused after being made redundant. There are many services available that can help get you back on track, so don’t be afraid to seek help and take control of your next step.
We’d love to hear from any people willing to share their journey with redundancy – can you share some of your highs and lows, and what helped you most while you searched for your next role?
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Fair Work, Seek Learning, Executive Style, SEEK data, Middle Aged Mama