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The Redundancy Gift

How to reframe redundancy into an unexpected gift


A women running across a street holding a large gift box

So, you’ve been made redundant.


The usual response, of course, is to offer commiserations. After all, it’s a stressful event. During a cost-of-living crisis and a punishing job market, you’d be forgiven for slipping into the default mode: Panic.


I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to say this to you: Congratulations! I know, I know, but hear me out.


Redundancy can be an unexpected gift, if you give it time to reveal itself…


Here are my top five tips to help you navigate redundancy, so you can arise stronger than ever.


Tip #1 - Lean into the Pause


You weren’t expecting to get off the bus like this. Your stop was far ahead, and instead you feel as though you’ve been unceremoniously dumped out a side-door during a stoplight.




It’s given you space you didn’t ask for or expect.

 

Take it! And lean into the pause. Get quiet. Get curious.

 

Your mind is a prediction machine. It hates uncertainty and is likely shouting certain things at you – “This is unfair”, “How will I pay my rent?” and particularly “Must. Find. Another. Job.”

 

These fears are understandable, but may drown out the quieter voices that hold equally important perspectives, such as “Well, I didn’t plan on being in that role for much longer anyway”, or “I didn’t love it, to be fair”, or “I’m actually a bit relieved I don’t have to deliver on that project...”

 

In these times, it can be helpful to take a neck-down approach and tune in to how you actually feel in your body. What is your gut telling you?


Take some time, lean into this, and pause.



Tip #2 - The Moment You've Been Waiting For


If you were 100% happy in your previous role, industry and sector, then you may be keen to start looking for an equivalent.


However, this could be a moment of change.


Redundancies are often a springboard, an opportunity to shift into something different, something which better aligns to who you are and what you want.


Usually, it’s overwhelming to think about something so large and nebulous. With a redundancy, you’ve been granted the time and space (and hopefully a helpful severance cushion), to take this opportunity to make a substantive change.


"There's nothing like a concrete life plan to weigh you down." – Indra Nooyi

Tip #3 - Get Aligned


This is where you can extract some juicy insights.


Perhaps all you really want is a small pivot. Even those who enjoyed their previous role, will have elements that they would like to tweak. And I don’t mean “not having to speak to Bill”.


I mean a way of working, a structure of projects, or an area of focus, that you’re keen to shift.


  • Perhaps you are interested in the same job, but in a new industry.

  • Or the same career focus, but freelance, instead of permanent.

  • Perhaps you’re ready to change how you work and achieve a better balance.


Alternatively, you might be ready for a larger transition.


Perhaps you’ve outgrown the job, or perhaps you fell into this line of work because it seemed to suit your degree, but you’ve never loved it and you don’t want to spend another 5 years feeling this way.


If it’s the latter, start by first getting curious about who you are and what you’re great at, instead of focusing on the specific role you might do next.



Tip #4 - Don't Let It Shake Your Confidence


A redundancy can feel personal, and let’s face it, the name doesn’t help. You’ve been told there’s no longer a need for your role, for what you do.


Zoom out and see this for what it is – an organisation making changes to their operations to stay competitive. It is not personal, and it is certainly not a reflection on you or your abilities. Redundancies don’t discriminate on performance or excellence.


The world is changing at a rate no one has seen before, and it will continue to do so. In the research by the Institute for the Future, we learned that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. And that was before the latest round of AI innovation.





You haven’t done anything wrong, or failed in any way, by being caught out by a recent cycle of change. Consider how you can move forward with resilience, and adaptability.


I know that redundancies can also feel extremely unfair, and in many ways they are. Dwelling on those emotions doesn't help you. If you're feeling 'hooked' on a feeling of being hard done by, give yourself a time slot to ruminate on it, then move on. For instance, "On Tuesday mornings from 9.00-9.10 I'll go over and over how annoying, unfair and unjust this whole thing is." After that, relieve yourself from thinking about it in this way.



Tip #5 - Get Excited For This Next Chapter


A career, fundamentally, is a portfolio of experiences. After all, life is short, but careers are a long game.


It is the old-fashioned model of the linear career ladder that is redundant, not you. Careers are fluid, and the scope for reinvention is huge.


The pandemic brought what people want from work into sharp focus. According to the World Economic Forum, the Great Resignation has shifted into the Great Reshuffle, spawning a host of books, podcasts and career coaches (hi!) to support people through their transition.


A redundancy might not be what you planned, but you’re in good company when it comes to navigating change. 


Think about the jobs you do as chapters in the book of your life. Each will help allow you to learn new things about yourself, develop new skills, gain new experiences.


Careers are for exploring a rich, meaningful journey which are aligned to what you want most in life.


What will the next chapter reveal to you?

 

You’ve been made redundant. Congratulations. I’m excited for you.



If You Have Recently Been Made Redundant


And are looking for some support, I offer a 3 hour virtual workshop designed to help you arise stronger than ever. Check it out here:



Always on your side,





CEO and Founder, Clarity Coaching with Louise





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