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Death of a job: Recovering from redundancy

Posted on 4/06/2019 by Jay Banghar

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Being made redundant can be like suddenly losing a loved one. You depended on it; it was part of who you were. Like the end of a relationship, you lose hope in ever moving on. However, it may be a comfort to know that the loss of a job does not spell the loss of a career. It may even be beneficial. Many professionals and executives lose their jobs only to succeed in becoming CEOs of their own companies, having gained the knowledge and experience to know what they want.

Step 1: Heal

If your redundancy was genuine and no other position for you could be found within the business or an associated entity, it is important to come to terms with your new position. Remember that redundancy is an inevitable occurrence of technological disruption and the cycle of sunrise and sunset industries; being out of a job is not your fault. It takes bravery to struggle through any feelings of indignity, loss and helplessness. It is even braver to rethink your situation, to see it as a fork in the path rather than a dead end.

Step 2: Get help

Seek help from your friends, former colleagues, consultants, people in your network, job counsellors. As you look for a new job, you can definitely use all the help you can get. More often than not, you will find sympathy from all corners, and the support of your close friends and family is important to get your mental well-being back on track.

Most importantly, you need to help yourself. Only you know what you want from your next job, and only you are able to prepare yourself to meet the requirements for candidature.  

Step 3: Evaluate options

Switching jobs will not be the same as finding a job for the first time. Your skills could be lagging in the market, or could now be better used in another position. This depends on the transferability of your skills. For example, an accounting clerk could be in the best position to audit the software that took their job with some training.

Your previous job may not even have been a perfect match to your skills to begin with; a recent global survey conducted by LinkedIn revealed that 37% of job seekers are not fully utilising their skills or being sufficiently challenged at work. Such situations present an opportunity to find a better fit elsewhere, or to try something new. To avoid another redundancy situation, identify jobs in sunrise industries.

Options go beyond job openings. A suggestion by Forbes is to create your own position instead of waiting for your ideal job to appear. Research and assess the companies you would like to work for and craft a business solution for them without their asking; the idea is to get noticed by helping without asking anything in return. You could hack a well-guarded data center; you could simplify a company’s design process for them - just don’t do anything illegal. It is also important to be aware of existing schemes for retraining and upgrading, such as the government’s Professional Conversion Programme for PMETs, if there is a skills gap standing between you and a job opportunity.  

Step 4: Know your value

Know your true worth and potential offering to businesses. This can be done by comparing your credentials, skill set and experiences to what companies include in job descriptions for open roles. For niche jobs, you may want to consult professionals on how you fare in terms of suitability for job openings in the market.

Knowing yourself better will strengthen your bargaining position and help in the interviewing process, increasing your chances of securing the job. Of course, the usual interview preparation will be necessary to accurately convey your value.

By following these steps following a redundancy, it is possible to turn your career - and your life - around. It is not an easy situation to find yourself in, but one that can be easy to get out of with the right actions taken. Ultimately, what appears to be a death could in fact be a rebirth.

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