If you were made redundant, how would you react? Panic perhaps. Or maybe you would go into a state of shock. Or would you be excited at the new opportunities ahead and grasp a redundancy offer with both hands?
In my experience, when someone is made redundant, humans tend to go into fight or flight mode. Our first reaction is to think, “how will I pay my bills?” or “how will my friends and family react when they find out?” We are programmed to react, and react fast.
Why do we react to being made redundant like this?
This fight-or-flight reaction is a very human reaction. In fact, it’s also known as the ‘acute stress response’. It’s a physiological reaction that sees our bodies releasing adrenaline, as well as sending our bodies into hormonal overdrive. It’s a neural response form our hypothalamus, part of our brain. And this affects the way that we think, behave, act… it’s no surprise that redundancy triggers this reaction, but it’s how we get through it and past the fight-or-flight stage that counts!
I’m currently coaching 15 people facing redundancy, and thirteen of those went straight into panic mode. They instantly thought of the worst-case scenarios; “I haven’t got enough experience in my field”, “my parents will be worried”, “I have to pay the mortgage”… So they dusted off their ancient CV, added a 2018 section, and fired it off to a long list of recruiters. Then, they went home and sent their whole family into panic mode (in many ways, this fight-or-flight reaction is contagious!). For many candidates, the situation starts to spiral, they can’t sleep, they can’t think, they perform badly or don’t show up to interviews… it becomes a never ending nightmare because of the stress they are experiencing.
It doesn’t help that often, as soon as someone is made redundant, recruiters start swarming around. Like bees around a freshly opened flower, or Pooh Bears around a pot of honey! I recently coached a candidate who had 30 potential companies and interviews… now that’s ridiculous. How many of those were actually suited to his experience and motivators? Very few. While it may seem wise to quickly snap up a job and get back on a payroll (especially when you’ve just faced the shock of redundancy), that’s not always the best career move.
Being made redundant can be a positive opportunity for change.
Only two of my recent group saw being made redundant as a positive opportunity for change. One decided to take the redundancy package and go travelling, the other to try a change of career for six months before settling back into a full time role. Rather than go at 100 miles an hour and apply for jobs that are not going to excite you, or accept a soulless offer from a recruiter for a role that will leave you dreading Monday mornings, take a moment to reevaluate your career.
Ask yourself my favourite question: “what’s important to you in your work?”
I like to think that we live a 100-year life these days. Our careers are a huge part of that! Redundancy is just a tiny blip in the grand scheme of things. And actually, change can focus us on what’s really important in life. Take a step back if you’ve recently been made redundant. What motivates you? What gets you excited? Is it time for change? Think about finding a career that’s sustainable and will see you through!
Many of my candidates have a sense of guilt when made redundant, and are reluctant to put themselves first… But that’s exactly what you need to do if you’re facing redundancy. Don’t worry about what your friends or family might think in the short term. Think long term. Positive change for you, means positive change for your friends and family too! It’s not selfish to put yourself first, especially when it comes to career.
Being made redundant gives you an opportunity to drive your career, rather than letting your career drive you.
“Sessions with Katherine gave me unique chance to be seen from different angles revealing my underestimated strong and weak points. Using simple and understandable techniques Katherine equipped me with the powerful career development tools. I left the last session charged with confidence and clear vision of the next step in my career.” Cyril, Senior Scientist Cambridge
If you are facing redundancy, please reach out to me. I would love to help you to overcome the fight-or-flight reaction and find a positive way forwards to your next career move!
“Talking at length to Katherine as an independent person about what next for me in my career helped me face my fear of change. It propped me up and was a motivator after what seemed like a kick in the teeth from my previous employer. There was a wonderful way in which Katherine was able to decode my career history and come up with my saleable virtues. The focus on “wants and don’t wants” was an important early step to defining my next career move. I have recommended Career Ambitions to both friends and work colleagues and I would not hesitate to work with Katherine again.” Wyn, Senior Manager, Bio-tech