Far from being a devastating catastrophe, being made redundant can be the start of an exciting new phase in your professional and personal life. WYZA® investigates how to recalibrate and take life to the next level.
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Get prepared and work out a game plan
Finding out you’re being made redundant can be a shock to the system. It’s natural to feel angry, upset and even betrayed, especially if you’ve been with the one employer for many years. But the key is not to allow yourself to be bogged down with too much emotion.
Instead, move quickly to create a solid action plan that will allow you to move forward and maximise any opportunities that come your way.
To draw up your action plan, write down a list of questions that will help you gauge where you are positioned in your working and financial life and what you really want to do in the future.
Ask yourself these 7 key questions:
1. Did I find my job fulfilling?
2. Do I want to continue to work in the same field?
3. Was I achieving a balance between work and recreation?
4. Was my work negatively affecting my health?
5. What will I do now if I don’t have to work?
6. How much money will my redundancy payout provide me with?
7. How long can I afford to be out of work?
Answer these questions in your own time, collecting as much information as you can from your family, friends and financial adviser. It’s always advisable to have your financial adviser review your employer redundancy payout to ensure you’re getting what is owed to you under the federal law.
Write the answers on a sheet of paper. Now on a separate sheet of paper write one way that you will be able to achieve each of these goals to have a positive outcome and pin this on a corkboard.
You might find the answers to these questions surprising. It may even turn out, that you didn’t find your job all that fulfilling after all and that you now have enough money and time to retire and enjoy a better standard of living.
But if this is not the case and you intend to find more work, you can at least use the opportunity to better your working life by seeking out a new position that sounds more appealing, gives you greater flexibility and a better work life balance.
You should really begin searching for work as soon as you hear about your redundancy. It’s not uncommon for employers to allow employees time off to search and attend interviews while you’re serving your remaining time at work, so be sure to ask ahead for this privilege.
Get your affairs in order and start networking
One of the first priorities on your list should be updating your resume with all your most relevant work experience including the skills you have acquired in your previous role.
As well as searching out the conventional employment websites, familiarise yourself with social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that often have pages for likeminded professional groups to connect. By networking, you will increase your chances of hearing about opportunities as they arise.
Apart from applying directly to jobs advertised on online websites, one technique that has proven successful for jobseekers is a 15 minute interview technique.
Meeting up with associates and friends will help strengthen your network
To do this, seek out people in the industry that you most want to work in, that you admire for their skills or seniority and politely contact them to arrange a 15 minute interview. When you meet up, ask them questions about what it’s like to work in their role, how they got their job, what they like most about their position and any advice they would give to someone wanting to get a job like theirs.
Don’t assume you know the answers. Their advice could be crucial. If you are genuine and friendly, one of these experts may even agree to become your mentor to help you achieve your next career goal. Regardless, you would have just made an important contact that you can call on down the track when the need arises.
In interviews be sure to remind prospective employers that being made redundant wasn’t your choice and that you have X number of years in your former workplace which demonstrates your commitment as a worker.
Relax and have fun with any spare time you have
Catching up with old buddies from high school, or playing a round of golf twice a week sounds like the last thing you should be doing when you’ve just become redundant, but it can often help in a number of ways.
Reconnecting with old social connections can help position you in a social circle that can multiply your chances of receiving a lucky break. Essentially you are advertising yourself and your priorities with friends and others who will most likely take an interest in your plight and may even be able to recommend openings to you, or suggest you to others looking for employees.
Not only that, but having a friendly ear to listen to your plight can often help give you some perspective on your own machinations about what you want from your life going forward. Friends can also offer their advice which can sometimes be invaluable.
Family can also be helpful for advice, but it’s important not to make your message too dire and negative and repeat this too often. There is nothing attractive about someone moping around in their dressing gown all day complaining about how bad everything is.
Don't feel guilty about relaxing in your free time
Brooding at home can often put unwanted stress and pressure on family members especially partners who are probably not used to having the extra company at home and might even feel like their own schedule has been somewhat disrupted.
But aside from the obvious benefits of socialising, you’ve most likely worked very hard all your life, and deserve to enjoy the downtime while it lasts. So don’t feel guilty. Remember, this may be your once in a lifetime opportunity to go to the beach during the day, see an afternoon movie or finish that Bernard Cornwell novel you’ve been meaning to read.
Taking a trip away can reinvigorate your outlook on life and allow you to get some perspective about what’s important to you. You might even realise something profound, like you didn’t like your job anyway and start to see the redundancy as a blessing in disguise that will finally let you follow your life’s dream.
Take the time to chase your dream
Not only is it likely that you’ve received a redundancy payout, you most likely have more time on your hands – two luxuries that very rarely come about in our working careers.
Quite frankly this is an opportunity too good for you to miss out on because you may just have the chance to achieve a lifelong goal or chase your dream. But how do you know what that dream is?
Think back to when you were most carefree in your life, when you had aspirations and felt really optimistic about the future. What was it about your future that made you feel that way?
Were you a kid dreaming of becoming a graphic design artist? Did you always want to become a counsellor helping people with their problems? Perhaps you wanted to become an interior decorator and transform ordinary houses into magnificent works of art.
If changing careers is top on your list, you may need to reskill and that may mean studying a new course and mastering a new skill.
Remember to be flexible in what you see as possible at your age – the sky is the limit and there is no time like the present to follow your dream and create the future you have always dreamt of.
Now is the time to take a course and have fun learning while also training up
How many times have you dreamed about studying something new and becoming something entirely different?
Mastering a new skill can increase your knowledge base but also your self-confidence and it has the added benefit of making you professionally recognised by others.
Redundancy can be one of the best times to upskill and get the qualifications that will launch you into an exciting and successful career, since you often have more money and time at your disposal.
Apart from upskilling, studying can also be a lot of fun as you meet new people, discover new ideas and push the boundaries of what you thought possible.
One company that offers a wide range of courses as well as professional development for individuals seeking work is Ascent Learning.
Working in partnership with some of Australia’s leading educators, Ascent Learning offers Degrees or Diplomas in Interior Design and Decoration, Marketing, Accounting, Counselling, IT, Business Administration, Leadership, Human Resources, Project Management, Beauty Therapy, Graphic Design and Retail Management among others.
They offer students the opportunity to complete courses entirely online either full-time or part-time, which is perfect for mature age students looking to balance their family life with study.
Ascent have developed an innovative Career Success Academy that teaches people how to brand themselves, how to manage the job-seeking process and how to manage and plan their personal development.
For more information about how Ascent Learning can help you with your next career step visit www.ascentlearning.com.au. Or to discuss your options with an Ascent Learning career advisor call 1300 944 246.
Have you ever been made redundant? Let us know about your experiences in the comment section below.