Janine Marin - communications expert

A career woman’s guide to dealing with redundancy

Before I start, I need you to do me a favour and say this out loud: “I’m more than my job”.

It’s a blistering shock when you find out you’re in the firing line for redundancy you don’t want or expect. It stings for a long time. And when you’re a career woman, this sting can end up a throbbing wound that scars you and the success of your future career. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Redundancy occurs when an employer decides they no longer want a job an employee has been doing to be done by anyone, and terminates their employment. The job itself, not the employee, becomes redundant” (from Fair Work website).

I’ve read somewhere that when you’ve been made redundant you shouldn’t take it personally. Whoever wrote that has never been made redundant.

I know this because I’ve experienced five restructures and one redundancy in my corporate career. Yep, I’ve applied for my own job more times than applying for a new one in another company.

I’m not going to lie – during that time I was stressed, emotional and angry, experiencing all the emotions of someone who has felt as if they’ve been attacked personally. But there are positives. And for those of you who have been or will be in a situation like the one I’ve found myself in, here are some tips to transform your redundancy into a career renewal.

  1. I remind my clients that redundancy doesn’t mean your skills are obsolete. Sure, the workload is given to someone else but they won’t work exactly in the same manner that you do; they will work differently and if that’s to the company’s benefit or not, is ultimately not your problem.

    No matter how much you train your replacement or the copious amounts of handover notes you have to create, what you’ve learned and your experiences gained can never be transferred. You are one-of-a-kind and being made redundant doesn’t change this.

  2.  Take this time to figure out if your career makes you happy. After the redundancy shock think about YOU – not the money, not how you will pay bills, not how to screw over the company (…although the last one was a recurring thought of mine…).

    Seriously take this time to consider YOUR happiness in your career and what that looks like. Write a list of your dream job(s) – what it entails and how it makes you feel. Then write a list of your ex-job (the one that you were made redundant from) thinking about what you liked about it and what you didn’t.
    Firstly, are there more likes than dislikes? If not, then hooray for redundancy! Clearly you weren’t happy there and they PAID you to realise that. Kinda cool, huh? If there are more likes than dislikes then marry that list to your dream job list and see if there are similar points on each because if there are that means you’re on the right career path and that helps you narrow down your job search.

  3.  Dream. BIG.

    When I was made redundant I cried when I received my last paycheque but then I smiled at the realisation that now I have an opportunity to focus on my dreams. I’m sure you have many and now that your career is shedding a new skin (so to speak) you owe it to yourself to give more attention to those fleeting thoughts about running your own business, taking up that tech class or travelling.

    If you have a family to support or mounting bills to pay then grab whatever job you can but I urge you to remember your dreams or create new ones. Who knows when you’ll have this opportunity again and what’s stopping you from working on your dreams? Absolutely nothing.

If you’ve been made redundant or could soon be then remind yourself daily that you’re more than your job. Redundancy doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. Redundancy is an opportunity for personal renewal, to create fulfilment and joy in your life that was lacking in your previous (or current) job. And in the wise words of Sheryl Sandberg “do all you can to kick the shit out of option B”.

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