The Chartered Institute of Personal Development estimate that about 120,000 workers would have been made redundant in 2012. Redundancy from a job is one of those events that stay with you many years after it happened, because it is life changing from an emotional and a financial perspective, raising questions about much of what we take for granted.
For the company, it may just be a re-alignment of resources to adapt to the business environment. For the survivors, it is a reminder of how transient the job is and often results in feelings of guilt, fear and mistrust. But for the redundant, it is the end of the world as it was and a step into an unknown where identity, self esteem, raison d’etre may be called into question. Self-doubt, loss of self-confidence, negative self-talk, low energy, frustration, anger, loss of control are some symptoms one might feel. This is normal in the circumstances and the thing is to acknowledge but fast-track them.
The individual can keep going by choosing to take control of life and what happens next.
- Remind yourself of what is really important to you. What core values underlie the desires you have cherished and the goals you have pursued before now? Power, money, happiness, friendship, ecology, humour, inner peace, God’s will, faithfulness, beauty and so on? Was professional life to-date really fulfilling or would you like to pursue other options for getting or being what really matters to you?
- What are you good at and enjoy doing? Update your CV with positive performance appraisal reports and recorded compliments your received
- Become clear about your desired vision for the future beyond your present circumstances. Capture your vision in a tangible format – possibly a simple line drawing or a future-dated letter to yourself- to inspire you.
- Learn to immediately recognise and deal with “negative self-talk”. One way is to practice acknowledging and firmly asserting positive counter-talk which states actual previous successes. You get better at doing it with practice.
- Starting now, make a concerted effort to build a “reserve” of friendships, kindness to others, money, sleep, healthy food, fitness, maintenance of your means of transport and anything else you are likely to need. For instance, learning a breathing exercise can help calm you, focus on your body and help you get back to sleep.
- Your job is but one aspect of your life, so take stock of where you are in the various aspects of your life and choose one action a day to make progress on each one. This one-action-a-day reminds you of your control over most aspects of your life and will increase feelings of personal power. Be patient with yourself, because deep wounds take time to heal.
Redundancy is not a personal verdict being delivered on the employee’s ability. It is therefore imperative that the redundant employee gives themselves the appropriate breathing space to step back and plan out an approach that will facilitate the achievement of goals that ultimately lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.
This is all possible with appropriate support, which is “there” at all times to acknowledge, challenge, help the individual to clarify their vision and come up with creative strategies to achieve even more.