Dealing with the Redundancy Rollercoaster

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 by: Lisa Laing

So you’ve just been informed that your job has been made redundant. You may be feeling numb, shocked, disbelieving or angry. This emotional rollercoaster after a redundancy is a perfectly normal. After going through my last redundancy, I experienced feelings such as disbelief, anger, frustration and depression.  You would think that as a career counsellor I would have taken it in my stride. After all, it was my job to assist clients who had lost their jobs – giving them the tools they needed to move on to more satisfying work. However whilst having lots of helpful knowledge on dealing with redundancy, I still had an emotional journey to take! What made it worse was that I had lost my dream job. I had been assisting clients in one to one sessions, delivering personal growth workshops for women wanting to return to work, and giving talks on career development in schools and training organisations, all of which I found enormously fulfilling. I also had a fabulous team of very supportive co-workers who all lost their jobs too!

Psychologists have found that people tend to go through a series of feelings when dealing with job loss, similar to the stages of grief that someone might experience after losing a loved one. Stage One is the Denial phase, where your mind finds it hard to accept that this has happened. When the message starts to sink in Stage Two arrives in the form of Anger and Blame at the company or management.  Sometimes people take their anger out on family and friends. Stage Three is the Bargaining stage – some people bargain with a higher power praying for the company to turn around so they can have their job back or promising to do all sorts of things in return for another job. Stage Four is where Depression (ranging from mild to severe) can set in after it becomes apparent that the redundancy is inevitable. Finally Stage 5 is Acceptance where you are able to move on to building networks and exploring alternatives. Research has found that people who are able to maintain a positive attitude have the most success in this stage.

The intensity of your feelings in each stage will be influenced by  the length of time with the company, your age, family situation, your feelings about the company/job (as was my case) and the quality or availability of support services.

It can be really comforting to know that there are a series of stages that will unfold when coming to terms with your redundancy. If you can allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, you will go through the process without getting stuck in one particular stage. There will then be an end to the turmoil and you will move on to the new phase of your life.

How to Thrive After Redundancy

Remember that this is a process; you will come out the other end. Staying positive and getting as much support from family and friends as you can makes all the difference to the journey. Be open about what has happened, you may be surprised at how many people you know have been through a similar experience and wish to support you.

Many people find it helps to connect with or deepen their connection with spirituality and keeping a sense of humour goes a long way towards keeping a positive attitude. Getting professional career counselling in a confidential environment can also help you get clear about what you want and create a career action plan to achieve it. This can increase motivation and optimism, making the emotional journey less bumpy. When it comes to job searching, getting a top quality resume, cover letter and selection criteria will put you ahead in the job market, whilst some interview practise will boost your confidence.

One issue that constantly comes up with my clients is their shame over having lost their job and embarrassment about needing support. I remind them that the job loss was not their fault and that humans are social creatures – we are designed to need support during times of stress. In fact many people have told me that allowing themselves to accept support that is offered has led to personal growth and a deepening of their relationships. I will leave you with an affirmation from one of my teachers that helped me through many anxious moments pondering my future: “Everything is always working out for me – no matter how it currently looks!”

If you are struggling with a recent redundancy, don’t think you have to do it alone. At Resumes for Results we have professional career consultants offering career counseling, expert resume development, cover letters and selection criteria that get results, along with job search advice.

If you would like to know more about the writer, Lisa Laing [click here].