The statistics are grim, economic pressure is forcing corporations of all sizes and hues to succumb to rationalisation. Redundancies happen all the time yet when they occur on mass scale across the economy – there can be a tendency for employers to treat the situation in a less than nurturing way. Tough decision like these have a greater impact on the affected employees than on the decision makers. It is easier for management to de-sensitise themselves to the human element of their economic rationalisation and as a consequence a difficult situation instantly becomes more traumatic then necessary.
Whether it’s you, a loved one, or your colleagues that are affected by a restructure – it is crucial to acknowledge that it is a traumatic experience and one that should be handled in stages.
The stages of job loss are similar to those experienced during bereavement: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Understanding these processes helps you handle the situation more effectively and allows you to move through the set back more rapidly.
Despite the anger and hurt often involved in a separation from an employer – exiting gracefully is something to aim for. Make sure your severance agreement is in writing and review it thoroughly. Many big corporates and government agencies also ensure that terminated employees have outplacement assistance or ongoing counselling. Even if your employer doesn’t offer it, and many don’t, try to negotiate for outplacement assistance.
While being suddenly unemployed in a dire job market can seem overwhelming, it may turn out to be one of the best things that ever happened to you. It is a time of harsh but vital truths and re-evaluation. Professional jolts like this force you to assess where you are going with your career and if you are on the right track. Personally you’ll soon learn who your true friends and allies are.
Here is a quick guide to making it through redundancy:
1. Leave your ego in the bottom draw. This is NOT personal. It is not based on your performance but rather that of your company or entire industry. Get over it. Yes, it is a kick in the guts, even if it is voluntary and even if you hated your job! Modern living has re-wired us to the point that we define ourselves by our jobs and our careers – any deviation from that is hard to rationalise. But what needs to be remembered is that we are not our jobs and as such we can leave that experience behind. Be vocal about your emotions; seek help from family, colleagues and experts. Get online and join like minded groups and share your challenges. You may just end up helping someone else with your personal experience. Exhale, Express and Process… then move on.
2. Utilise outplacement services and referrals. The longer you stay in a state of anger or depression, the more you miss golden new opportunities. You may not ‘feel’ ready to take on the world but the role that you have been waiting for may be ready for you. Don’t let it slip.
3. Don’t take the next best thing. Use your time wisely. While money may be a pressure, don’t rush into the next available job out of fear or desperation. Be flexible and open minded and listen to your intuition not your fears.