Redundancy - Is it a Blessing in Disguise?

By Giuseppe Saieva

Redundancy and the emotional turmoil of such a life changing event is one that many gurus, life coaches and other 'experts' have written about and tried to identify advice and solutions to those affected. In far too many cases these 'experts' have no personal experience of redundancy which can make their advice seem rather hollow or even patronising.

During the last couple of years nearly everyone will have been affected by the impact of redundancy in one form or another. It may be a friend of relative having being made redundant, the possible threat of redundancy or being made redundant themselves. Which ever situation it may be the emotional effects will be the hardest to deal with and the aftermath can be devastating.

I was made redundant in September 2009 and I want to share my story with you to show that it does not have to be the end of the world.

This recession has been like no other. In previous years redundancy only seemed to affect a small section of the workforce putting the rest of us in a perceived comfort zone. I was a manager with good degrees, qualifications and experience so I thought that I would never be out of work. This is what most people in my position thought. However, this time redundancy has hit every corner of society and the indiscriminate way that people have lost their jobs literally overnight has sent shock waves through society. We now know that no one can bury their heads in the sand and ignore the possibility of losing their job.

I know that despite your friends and family supporting you and giving you advice, no one really understands unless they have gone through it themselves. I gained the greatest comfort and sense of relief the first time I sat in a room with like-minded professionals who had been through the same experience. Their stories and emotions were identical to mine and for the first time I did not feel alone. They could relate to my feelings and never sat there in judgement. I got only support and advice from them that lifted my spirits. Where I had become insular and did not want to talk about it to my friends and family, I was now able to talk to a group of strangers.

When you are first given your redundancy notice, the hardest thing is to keep your emotions in check and keep a level head. Your first reaction is total shock followed soon after by anger and then panic sets in. Panic mainly focuses on how you will pay your bills and meet your financial commitments.

Soon after you start to feel ashamed and embarrassed that somehow this is your fault and you wonder how you are going to hold your head up high in public. Your temper can become short and you get fed up of people saying things like 'it's the job that is redundant not you' or 'don't worry you will find something else'.

I have been through all this and my own piece of advice is to take yourself away from all these emotions, people and other distractions and find somewhere you can think with a clear mind. This may be the first time in your working life that you have had the chance to reflect on your career and life. Grab the opportunity to refocus as it may be your only chance.

Ask yourself a few simple questions:

1. What do I want in life?
2. What makes me happy?
3. What would be my ideal job or working environment?
4. What is really important to me?
5. I have 'X' number of years in my working life. How do I want to spend them?
6. Is money a real motivator to me or is there something else that drives me?
7. Do I need the big house, expensive car, or other material things? Do they really make me happy?
8. Do I want to work away from home and family every week?
9. Do I want to be part of the rat race and the daily commute?
10. What would be my ideal lifestyle?

These are a range of questions I asked myself and there are many more. However, you must remember that the important thing is to answer them for YOU. Don't come up with answers that you think your wife/husband, parents, friends etc would want to hear. This is your life and your situation - be true to yourself.

Once you have answered all these questions you have an opportunity to make them happen and change your life. Go for it and don't look back. You ultimately have two choices:

1. You change your life and put in place all the things that make you truly happy and fulfilled.

2. You go back into the same old job and lifestyle that never really made your happy.

Grasp life by the scruff of the neck. It may not be easy and the road will take a number of twists and turns but ultimately the reward will make it worth while.