Life after redundancy: What now?

Life after redundancy: What now?

That hollow feeling from being made redundant will fade. Here’s how to approach the immediate aftermath to get the very best out of the situation.

Am I the only one who remembers every single detail of being made redundant? The way the deliverer’s head tilts and they speak about how “it’s not you, it’s the role”. They focus on how tough business is and all their words roll into one.

It’s all in the eyes — with a sense of pity, looking deep into my soul. And my stomach instinctively knows more than I do as the butterflies inside flutter their wings.

Until, eventually, the final whistle is blown and words pour out in slow motion — something about “being so sorry but we’re going to have to let you go”.

Boom. There it is. Right in the middle of the gut.

And then, as if that isn’t bad enough, I am expected to articulate a reply with a smile that plasters over the cracks, get up, shake hands with my sweaty palms, make my way back to my desk (making any walk of shame from my youth look like a skip in a sunny park), gather my belongings and walk out the door to the fresh air, where everyone else is getting on with their lives.

In the times I have experienced redundancy, like any period of grief, that hollow feeling inevitably faded, replaced with a sharpened sense of determination and perseverance.

Here are the ways I approached that period to get the very best out of the situation.

A new beginning

A new beginning sounds so much more empowering than ruminating on what happened or expelling useless energy on what could’ve been. Like an ex-lover, you’ll soon realise how wrong you were for each other anyway.

This is the time to truly hone in on what you really want and what truly motivates you. Your ideal role, company and team.

If the world was your oyster (which it probably is) and you could have your pick of the bunch (which I urge you to believe you can), where would your energy take you and what contacts can you tap into?

These are your internal resources for the taking. Enjoy them, build on them and be your biggest cheerleader. Which leads me on to my next point…

Feel those feelings

Know that this time takes a toll on confidence and may also trigger buried feelings of low self-esteem.

If you can get past the self-help tone of the saying “It’s OK not to be OK”, there is a truth that allowing yourself to feel your way through this experience can provide.

That takes guts, patience and self-awareness. I don’t need to tell you to look after yourself, meditate, exercise, eat well, breathe — you know all of this.

But giving yourself permission to feel whatever it is you’re experiencing is to give yourself support like no other. It may hurt for a bit but, beyond the mess of emotions, it’s an ability that will see you through tough times.

Honesty helps

You will find your next calling because that’s how you roll, because that’s what got you here in the first place. You’re not the first person this has happened to and you certainly won’t be the last.

Being honest about the situation will boost your inner strength and also lead to unexpected opportunities and support. You just need to open your eyes, sharpen your senses and find them.

And once you settle into a new role, pay it forward with the goodwill that you received to the next person experiencing what you’ve just been through.

Discussing redundancy

Lastly, be open. Being in the field of communications, you have a sense of how to read people. Discussing redundancy openly is not an invitation to include a section on your CV saying: “Just been made redundant, please handle with care!”

It’s showcasing an openness, resilience and adaptability that future employers will appreciate. It’s a way to frame your experience as a period of professional growth and development. It’s also a sobering reminder that it’s a difficult time for some businesses in media and advertising.

So if you take nothing else away from this article, remember this: the narrative of your career is not defined by a single chapter of redundancy. It’s crafted by how you navigate the transition, the insights you gain from it and how you emerge ready to write the next chapter.

Stefanie Daniels is the founder of Life Begins at Menopause and and worked in media sales for two decades, including at Wireless Group (News UK), Bauer Media Group and GCap Media (now Global). 

Career Leaders: The Media Leader‘s weekly supplement with thought leadership, news and analysis dedicated about media careers, training, development and wellbeing.
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