Supporting Yourself Through Redundancy

This month we’re pleased to bring you a guest post which has been written for us by Michelle Carpenter-Hanson.
Michelle is an entrepreneur and experienced HR consultant, so when we wanted some expert advice to help those who have recently lost their jobs due to Covid-19, we knew we could rely on Michelle to provide it.

We hope you find this article useful if your employment has been affected by the pandemic’s impact on the economy.

‘Unprecedented times’ indeed

To say these are unprecedented times is an understatement! We are facing so many business challenges and the horrible reality of redundancies. I wonder how I can help. I have sat both sides of the fence. I was a HR leader for more than 20 years and at times had to manage downsizing & restructuring of businesses, so I know the technical side of how redundancies need to be managed, protecting people’s employment rights etc. But I have also been made redundant several times and so I know the impact this can have on people.

The effect of those words “your role has gone”,  or “your job is being made redundant” is huge.
In that moment you feel that all that was certain has gone and your mind goes into overdrive, rapidly processing how bills will be paid, how to find the next role, what will people think, am I failure?, what did I do wrong?”.
It’s scary – really scary – but it is survivable. As awful as it can feel at the time, there is hope and there is so much help available if you are not afraid to ask (something it took me a long time to accept!).

I am noting here some shared learnings that I hope will help people, both practically and emotionally.

  1. Redundancy is about the role, not you. It isn’t personal. So, whilst it’s a horrible thing to happen, try to not allow it to undermine your confidence. You know what you have achieved and what you are capable of. Keep reminding yourself every day.
  2. Identify the key things that are causing the most stress; most will say “finances”, so take a day to sit down and go through what you can control. Review your monthly budget and spending, talk to your bank, your partner and your friends & family to see what help is available. Don’t be afraid to ask!. Getting focus on this as soon as you will help you feel you are still in control, which will help reduce your stress or anxiety.
  3. Devise and follow a plan or a routine to help tackle your job hunting. Having a structure to your day can help to keep you motivated.
  4. Check your CV. If you don’t currently have one then head over to LinkedIn and ask if someone will help, (I have helped quite a few people for free since March and I’m not the only one!). If you do have a CV then you can ask someone to do a quick review for you.
  5. Think about what you really want. It may sound cliched but this is a moment in time where you have the space to think about what you like and dislike. Do you want to make a career change, were you really happy in your last role? Allow yourself some time to take stock, and make a list – think about what you do and don’t want: this helps you to focus.
  6. Make sure you are on LinkedIn and are active. You can set up job searches but don’t forget it’s actually an amazing networking site. I have seen how much kindness and goodwill exists over the last few months, just by seeing different posts each day where professionals are really trying to help others. Even if there are no jobs to apply for on a particular day, you can end up having some great exchanges with people and making valuable new connections. You can even connect and engage with people in businesses that you may want to target (despite being in HR I’d always recommend connecting to people in your discipline area in a target firm because they are more likely to reply!)
  7. Check out the main job sites such as Jobsite, Guardian Jobs, Totaljobs, CV Library, Monster, Indeed etc, and remember to set up automatic searches.
  8. Be kind to yourself! This should probably be number 1 on the list. It’s ok to have a day where you do nothing on the job search. It’s ok to indulge yourself a little; go for a walk, have a bath in the middle of that day, binge-watch your secret sin TV (mine was Made in Chelsea!..Yes I know. Don’t judge!). Caring for yourself is THE most important thing; if you don’t then it will show through when you do get interviews.
  9. Be kind to others. Apart from being with my daughters, being able to help someone else and show kindness is probably the biggest thrill I get. I have had some very tough days indeed and when I think back, one thing that has helped lift my mood has been when I have had the chance to help someone-else. It has made me feel worthwhile, and that I have something to offer – we all do!
  10. Don’t be scared to say you are scared; keep talking. It can feel very lonely and isolating, but you are never alone. Again, it took me a long time to realise this. There is always someone who will help or listen. Keep talking and engaging; it helps us to stay stimulated. Also, you are not the only one – there are many in the same boat. There is no shame in being made redundant, it’s just a sad fact of business life.
  11. Remember that you have a lot to offer . It’s easy to forget the things we have achieved. Take a step back, be objective and continually remind yourself of all that you have done; however small, you have made a difference in some way.
  12. Be kind to yourself. Yes I know I have said this before..BUT DID YOU LISTEN?..Seriously, it’s one of the things we neglect the most and yet it really does make a difference.