With unemployment in Australia at its highest since 2002, we are seeing more businesses taking measures to restructure and offshore or outsource their processes, meaning job security is becoming a thing of the past.
If your job hasn’t been affected by redundancy at some point in your career, it’s likely you know someone whose job has. My own experience with job loss was when I was asked to apply for my position within my company as part of their restructure. In this instance, I was offered a different role that was less appealing. I wasn’t offered a redundancy package if I left because I was being “redeployed”. Due to my dissatisfaction with this process, I ended up resigning without any sort of payout. I remember this being a very stressful time for me and worked with a Career Advisor to help me keep my perspective. The positive outcome was that I took on some higher level HR contract work where I built up my skills and set me on a more rewarding career path.
The emotional effects of organisational change can differ from person to person, but in my experience it’s common for people to lose confidence and have a sense of displacement as they process their feelings. The initial news of job loss can bring a sense of shock and can be disorientating, raising the following questions:
- Why me?
- What will my family and friends say?
- How will I pay the bills?
- Engage the services of a career coach to help you work through this period of change. Having someone to provide guidance and support can keep you motivated as you move towards new career goals.
- Keep the lines of communication open with family members as they are likely to feel the emotional effects of your loss.
- As you catch up with friends, let them know what’s happened as they can be a good support base through this tough time.
- Be clear about your financial circumstances and prepare a budget to see you through to starting a new job. Seeking out the services of a financial advisor is also an option.
- Find out whether you are entitled to government benefits by contacting Centrelink (in Australia) as this may help ease the finance situation.
- Keep active – if you have a regular exercise regime, stick at it. Or consider this as a good time to start one. Even a 30 minute walk each day is enough to get your endorphins going, which can help you feel more positive and uplifted.
- Set a routine of daily job search activity and track this to keep you motivated. Each job application sent, invitation to interview or networking meeting is a milestone on your way to your new career.
- Remember that, if needed, professional help is available by getting in touch with your doctor. Some companies offer people outplacement programs as well as access to counselling services via an Employee Assistance Program, so it can pay to ask this question to the Human Resources Manager.
- Give yourself permission to take timeout and do things just for you.
Change affects people in different ways; from feeling powerless and finding it hard to move forward or viewing this as a time to seek out new and exciting ventures. Last year my partner David was advised his IT position was made redundant as part of cost cutting measures at his firm. In observing his reaction to this news, I was surprised to see how calmly he accepted his situation showing minimal signs of stress or negativity. I felt worried at the time as I was well aware that it can take some months to secure a suitable job.
Fortunately, things turned around quickly for David and after returning from a trip to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago, he secured an IT management position. All up he had a three month break including travel, home renovations plus some job search activity. This year David is completing a community leadership course to build up his skills and help him remain competitive in the employment market. I wonder whether he would have taken this step if he hadn’t been faced with the changes in his last job.
If you, a friend or a loved one needs help, confidential crisis support is available via:
Here’s an extra resource (PDF) by Beyond Blue called Taking Care of Yourself After Retrenchment or Financial Loss