How to bounce back after redundancy

By July 4, 2024For Talent

Alan Partridge holding a copy of his book 'Bouncing Back'

Sometimes employees are completely blindsided by redundancies, and other times the signs are there for a long time.

Fresh flowers stop appearing at the reception desk, the water cooler breaks and isn’t replaced, staff lunches and parties are pared back, startups start to share the office space, or you move to a smaller, less-central building entirely.

These are all tell-tale signs, but as tech and remote workers especially know that sometimes there are no warning signs at all, and this can make bouncing back even more difficult.

If your position has been made redundant, here’s some advice on what to do.

Feel your feelings

Depending on your attachment towards your job or workplace, your general life stage, and savings, your feelings around redundancy will vary.

You may feel relieved, angry, shocked, worried, or sad. Sometimes you can feel all of these in one day, or even in a single hour.

It’s important to acknowledge these emotions instead of suppressing them. Talk to family, friends or a professional therapist, or write in a journal to help you process them.

Try to keep a lid on anger in the workplace. Your feelings are valid, but don’t spoil a referral or recommendation based on temporary emotions. 

It can be challenging to see things from a manager or leadership point of view – especially if they’re staying on – but it’s likely that redundancies are a last resort after a long process, and this decision wasn’t easily made. They’re not enjoying this either.

Don’t beat yourself up

Business requirements are always changing, and the most important thing for anyone facing redundancy to remember is:

“You are not being made redundant, your position is being made redundant.”

Markets and industries continually evolve, and to survive organisations need to be nimble and move with the times, and this affects what departments and team sizes are required.

If this was personal, you’d be fired or put on a performance improvement plan (PIP). 

Redundancy is not personal. Make that your mantra. 

Assess your financial situation

Time to get real. Hopefully your organisation is offering a generous redundancy package, but often that’s not the case. Either way, you need to seriously look at your finances.

What are your absolutely necessary household and personal expenses? Think of your mortgage or rent, bills, groceries, healthcare, utilities, insurance, and debt. 

Start with these at a minimum, and add in any of the not-completely-necessaries that you could live without, but maybe don’t want to.

You don’t need to cut all unnecessary spending but it is wise to prioritise essentials while you job hunt.

Next, apply for any government assistance you’re entitled to. It can be a lot of paperwork, and faff, but depending where you are in the world, it may help ease your financial burden.

Make use of any aid offered

If your redundancy package offers extras like career coaching, bite their hand off to use it – even if you are completely drained or already have another job lined up. 

This is your chance to really nail a well-written and targeted CV and cover letter, plus additional services can be tailored to your specific needs, like interview practice, advice on career pivots, and practical training. 

Set new career goals

If you were happy in your role, you might be looking for something similar. But this is also a unique time to reflect on your overall career path, and look at what you enjoy, and what you’d like to change.

Having long-term and medium-term goals will give you direction and purpose, and from there you can create a plan with smaller actionable steps to achieve them. 

Network and seek support

Don’t skip any last-day gatherings. These informal meet-ups are important for closure, and are also an opportunity to solidify links with colleagues you want to stay in touch with.

Professional relationships need to be nurtured over months and years, and beyond friendship, can also lead to valuable advice, leads, referrals, and even job offers.

Create a schedule

Endless job hunting can be a slog. It may take weeks and months to land your next gig, so it’s important to put some structure on your days as you search.

Shower every morning and get dressed. Get some fresh air. Now return to your computer and set a timer to spend on job applications, upskilling, and/or digital networking.

Keep a spreadsheet tracking your applications including details on organisation, location, role, date applied, actions taken, link to CV and cover letter used, contact details, research notes, and next actions.

Not only will this help you stay on top of follow ups, it also documents the volume of work you’re putting in, which can be really helpful if you ever have moments of overwhelm or futility. 

Stick to your allotted time. Do not be tempted to scroll for jobs all day; this is disheartening.

Enjoy your afternoons and evenings as best you can. Reconnect with old friends, spend time with family, and take up new or lapsed hobbies. 

Redundancy is a shake up and can be a huge financial stress, but it can also be a time for personal enjoyment and professional growth. 

Stepping off the work treadmill allows you to make positive changes in your life that wil long outlive your old job. Good luck.

Looking for more job seeking advice? Check out our careers cheat sheet series:

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Author Amanda Kavanagh

More posts by Amanda Kavanagh

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