The impacts COVID-19 are being felt in so many ways particularly in our world of work and employment – with many finding themselves losing their job or made redundant.
Fortunately, I am working for an organisation that has been able to operate sustainably through the pandemic. I’m also lucky to be in a role that is able to adapt and change to a new way of virtual work.
. I started to think about how I felt, how I saw myself and the kinds of supports I felt I needed at the time.
I have always considered myself a strong and independent person who could cope with anything. Whatever challenge I’m presented with I tackle ‘head on’, rarely asking for help. During that period, I had recently experienced quite a few significant life changes and now I was dealing with redundancy!
I remember feeling a mixture of emotions: anxious, angry, scared, sad, alone…and at times even hopeful and positive…it was a roller coaster I did not willingly want to ride. I felt as though I had lost my identity, that the work I did was useless and did not matter, I felt adrift, as though I had little value in the scheme of things.
Usually, when I left a job it was by choice, a career move that took me into the waiting arms of another organisation who recognised and valued my skills. I had not experienced a situation where I felt like I had done something wrong and did not fit.
As part of the redundancy I was offered Outplacement/Redeployment support. I made contact with the organisation only to be told “I don’t know what I can do for you. With your experience you probably can do it yourself”…and that was that. I was on my own to navigate the maze of redundancy.
Hindsight can be a wonderful thing. Whilst I survived and found my way out of the maze, I am sure I took the long, hard way.
So, using this wonderful hindsight, I’ve been able to reflect on my own experience with redundancy and career transition. I’ve asked myself: “What could I have done differently to make what felt such a negative time into an opportunity? What were the lessons?”
Well, I have learnt a lot!
Here are my top 5 lessons for successful career and work transition through redundancy
It’s jobs that are made redundant, not people.
Lesson 1: The first thing to remember: it’s jobs that are made redundant, not people. It is not a reflection of your personality or your work ethic; it is something that can happen to anyone through no fault of their own. It is not a reflection of performance. There is no shame and every day highly talented professionals around the world are going through it.
Lesson 2. Take your time and avoid feeling the temptation or need to rush into the job market unprepared. Give yourself time before contacting your networks to gain clarity around what you want to do next and ensure you can identify and articulate your value clearly and succinctly.
Lesson 3. Take care and be kind to yourself. It is perfectly OK to give yourself time to breathe and relax. Surround yourself with positive people, look after yourself physically and emotionally and seek quality advice to help guide you through the transition process.
Lesson 4. Flexibility is critical when it comes to coping with change. Be prepared to look outside of your current industry, take on an interim project or volunteer while looking for a permanent role. Being flexible puts you out there, increases your visibility (who knows who you might meet and talk to!) It can expose you to opportunities you may not have previously considered. Also, let’s not forget…getting out there and doing your thing can be great for rebuilding your confidence and self-esteem!
Lesson 5. The most significant lesson for me, even though I had strong job seeking skills, is the importance of getting support and partnering with an expert. Whether you’ve been in your old job for some time, have limited or non-existent skills in looking for work, or like me have strong skills, having a job or career coach helps you:
- Build confidence and define your transferable skills and strengths
- Set goals and establish a career path, not just a job
- Keep you accountable, motivated and have a more balanced perspective
- Help navigate through difficult career decisions…and get what you want in your professional life faster
Want to partner with an expert in your career transition journey? Your Work Transition Plan is a strength-based career counselling service, designed to help provide guidance to professional people facing redundancy and unemployment in a post COVID landscape.
Affordable, one on one career counselling. Take the next step. Fill in our confidential Getting to Know You questionnaire and access your free career consultation today.