Surviving Redundancy: What I have learned

There are few that have been made redundant more than twice, that is the average statistics of redundancies over a lifetime of working. And you are not likely to meet someone who has been made redundant three times, in two years!

But here I am, that is what has happened to me. So if you need any advice from someone about how to survive during these traumatic experiences, I qualify.

So you’ve received your final notice, how do you feel? Ripped off, angry, frightened? Do you feel like your work place bosses haven’t been honest with you, or are they there too, next to you. Are they trying to ‘hook up’ for government support as well: until you both get back on your feet?

You will probably feel all of these things and more.

Losing your job, your livelihood and your pride are definitely traumatic, they take their toll on those unprepared. It’s right up there with divorce, and in fact could very well lead to it!

But how do you prepare for such a crisis? How do you work through this, and keep providing for the family. Is there actually life after redundancy?

I’m going to give you a few pointers of how I survived and the things I’ve learned along the way. I could tell you all about how it happened, but that wouldn’t be edifying. You’ve already got enough to deal with. I may write another blog about that. We’ll see.

First and foremost: when a workplace is about to fall over there are usually signs of its collapse, e.g., Poor sales and customer flow; overly stressed company owners and managers. Company not paying their bills, extra pressure expected of staff: there are many warning signs. Or it may be that the company owner is plain over being in business and cannot sell their company; or has sold it. Whatever the signs you will see some. Be awake!

Obviously, the best thing is to start looking for a new job, or becoming self-employed, or retired: everyone’s situation is different. But finding work is difficult these days, even if you drop your skill level to take on a job where you become ‘overqualified’ (whatever that means!) is still hard.

In the meantime while looking, I suggest you continue being a valuable staff member, keep putting in the work to exceptional standards. Who knows, that very act may lead you to your next job. Besides, I’m sure you’ll be more satisfied in yourself anyway. And if the company keeps you in the loop (you are very lucky if they do), and an end date is set: intend to work to that date, a job may not come up when you expect. Good work ethics will be of utmost value when you are asking for a review from your ex-boss.

So the day has arrived, and been and gone. Oh poo, what to do? Work your last day, don’t call in sick! This will not help you in any way. But one thing you should also do before the final day arrives (supposing there is government support available within your country: NZ does), is call the government support department, and tell them of your fast approaching predicament. Do not make the mistake of calling them when you’ve been out of work for some time, and the money is running out! Why I give you this warning is because, the government will usually begin the count-down of when they start paying support, from the time you make contact with them, not from the date your work finished, or the date you began running out of money. In NZ, there will be a stand-down time (at time of writing it’s 6 weeks, but could now be more), before they provide support and if you contact them when your money is getting thin; you’ll still need to wait the stand-down period. Ouch!

So now the support is on its way, and your job title is officially, job seeker. Yep, boring I know, but that’s it! This is where the work can really get hard and very disappointing. It sux! But you can do this, and you have not been the first.

Your C.V. must be fresh and updated and on-hand, ready to start peddling your wares, yourself! Keep the faith, keep the hunting going: but don’t overdo it. Three to four job applications or cold call approaches is plenty in one day. If you go gung-ho (which I have done,) you become ragged, frustrated and horrid! In short, unemployable. Motivation is at its peak and also at its lowest in a single day, and this is noticeable to potential employment. Good motivation is good; only one more door, but not too many. Get others in your life working for you too, keeping their finger on the pulse for any up-coming jobs.

Don’t forget to spend quality time with your family. Remember, you’re not the only one going through this awful, but brief period. Sparks will fly at home no doubt, but deep down the family will still believe in you. Let them feed you and shower you with their encouragement and concerns, you’re a team! Play fair! Who, knows, perhaps this is a time (with your family), to move to a different area or city and find work. But if your area is hard though, you may not find it easier elsewhere. And there is a cost. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, or country. This kind of uprooting needs prayer and godly advice so this is only a suggestion.

On this note, your biggest battle through this period (besides lack of money), is discouragement! You will get discouraged, and your family will be in the thick of it too. Discouragement is a battle of the mind, and not external. You must win and keep alert to its devices. If you don’t, unfortunately, it’ll make short work of you.

Every morning, wake up: (Most important) and get out of bed! Look in the mirror, and tell yourself, ‘I am the best, I am the man (or woman), for the job! This is going to be a GOOD day! Good things will come to me and my family.’ And believe it! Also, make sure you thank God when they do! Eat breakfast and begin the day as if you’re working.

I’m not going to go on about job hunting as this article hasn’t the scope to do this. There are many things to do to secure a job; it would take a whole new article to cover this. But as long as you are doing something, even if it’s the wrong thing; at least you are doing it. Besides, it is much easier to adjust a moving ships direction than one that’s not going anywhere.

If you find you are heading into a depression trap, be very quick to get help and get out! It will tear you apart! This is the next stage of discouragement and must be dealt with. If you’ve got a passion to get out, that will be a long way towards beating it. There are so many times in my own life that were hard! And I’ve been very grateful that I have not been through them — without God. A quote I always remind myself of, when times are tough is this, “always do the right thing, and leave the outcome up to God.” Ciao for now, I hope this has given you a little encouragement.

Image: By Ian King, reference from the Oxford Dictionary


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