Beating redundancy 2 – A Personal Perspective


Redundancy is becoming much more prevalent in the working society and it is now more likely that you will be the victim of a round of redundancies in your working life. But how you deal with a redundancy is extremely important; it can provide a wonderful opportunity or it could be devastating.

Having been unlucky enough to be made redundant twice in a short career, I am aware of the impacts a redundancy can have on your life, both negative and positive.

We have asked me to write about my experiences of being made redundant and how I have used them as a platform to develop both my career and see the world.

The first time I was made redundant I was working for a small company, at the beginning of my career straight after university. The company basically folded and all staff were let go. I received a month’s notice and had just signed a year’s lease on a flat. It was a devastating experience at the time and changed my life completely, but looking back on it now I can see how my career benefited as a result and how well prepared I was for an eventuality in the future.

When in May last year I was made redundant for the second time, in similar circumstances, my attitude was vastly different and it has enabled me to achieve so much more with the massive amounts of time you have on your hands after a 9-5 job vanishes.

I was lucky the second time, as I saw it coming. The business (internet) had been suffering and I had seen friends/colleagues made redundant a few months before. This ‘warning’ gave me the opportunity to focus on my personal affairs; spending less and saving more, and also gave me time to prepare mentally. It is not always possible to be so prepared when advised of a redundancy, so it is important to think clearly and give yourself plenty of time, a rash decision could make your situation worse.

It is also important to explore all options with your employer, they generally don’t want to have to make you redundant and are legally required to help you in many ways, most doing more than legally required. However, their help will not be forthcoming if your attitude is very negative towards them, it is not the person in front of you who is to blame for the redundancy.

I received a great deal of help from the employer following my second redundancy, and it is this support that helped to lay the foundations of my future. We eventually found that they would have perhaps 1 days work a month for me, keeping the other businesses websites in order.

It was at this point that I took a long hard look at my situation along with my partner, whose emotions and thoughts needed to be considered. Together we did a review of our lives and forgot about all the plans we had e.g. buying a house. Starting at the beginning meant we could consider anything, rather like a brainstorm, no idea was ruled out. We’d always wanted to go travelling, I’d always wanted to work for myself and the job market was (and still is) terrible. However, my partner still had a good job and one she didn’t want to leave straight away.

We set ourselves some objectives; I was to work for myself, we were going to continue to save and aimed to go travelling at some convenient time in the future. With the support of a partner and a steady income, I was able to expand my client base and before long I had enough work to tide me over month on month, but still had plenty of time on my hands to work on my own projects.

Just before Christmas and very fortunately my partner was made redundant. It was amazing timing and enabled us to immediately initiate our travel plans. 2 days in STA Travel and our round the world ticket was booked. 6 weeks later wearing our backpacks, we handed back the keys to our rented flat and got in a car – destination Heathrow Airport. It was a truly liberating experience and as I write this article now in a tropical paradise we both really do wonder if we’d be better off still in 9 to 5 jobs… I don’t think so.

You’ve still got to come home I hear you cry. This is true, but by then I will have worked for myself, built up a client base, learnt another language, experienced many cultures and seen the world and more importantly will be raring to go. It’s also given my partner the opportunity to reconsider her future and I know she doesn’t regret a moment.

Being made redundant is not easy, it does knock you for six and it will upset you. According to a HR consultant the emotions of a redundancy are similar to a grieving process, suffering from numbness, shock, anger and rationalisation in no particular order. However, as long as you remain calm, give yourself time and consider all options there is no reason why the experience has to be detrimental and negative. It will give you the freedom to pursue your life’s ambitions and could be the best thing that ever happened to you!

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