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Redundancy can be incredibly difficult to deal with, so we've spoken to the experts to discover practical ways to cope with the situation and help you to bounce back quickly.
1. Don’t panic. Whatever you do, try not to panic.
‘Redundancy can be a shock but try not to rush into any hasty decisions. What’s important is how you react to the situation,’ says Francesca Turner, careers adviser at the National Careers Service
. ‘Keep calm, don’t panic and don’t rush any decisions. Although you may have concerns about money, a quick fix may not be the best way forward in the long term.’
2. Be sure to take practical steps before leaving.
‘Before you leave your employer, ensure that you have collected your P45 and have written details of your redundancy package. Ask for clarification on any points you are unsure of, and make sure that you have important contact details for your line manager, human resources department, pension fund trustee and trade union representative,’ says Francesca Turner.
3. Counselling can really help.
‘Remember that you can speak to a counsellor, who will help you make sense of what you’re feeling, put things in perspective and help you move on during this very stressful time,’ says Francesca Turner. ‘You can find one by searching the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy database.’
4. Remember that your reaction is normal.
‘Redundancy can be difficult for most people. Even those who say they wanted it to happen often find themselves going through a whole range of emotions. It’s completely normal to feel anger, grief, sadness and a lack of confidence when it happens. Where possible, give yourself time to adjust before looking for other work,’ says business psychologist Karen Meager, of Monkey Puzzle Training & Consulting
5. You did nothing wrong – it’s not personal.
‘While it may feel personal, redundancy is rarely anything to do with you, so try to avoid negative thoughts that you weren’t good enough or that your employers are horrible,’ says Karen Meager. ‘It’s natural to feel some of this, but if it goes on for too long it will end up as an entrenched, destructive thinking pattern.’
6. Know your rights – and claim them.
‘Always double-check your entitlements,’ says career coach Corinne Mills, of Personal Career Management
. ‘If you’re unsure then approach organisations like ACAS or the Citizens Advice Bureau. Talking to an employment lawyer or Trade Union representative can also be helpful. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and ask for more than your employer is initially prepared to give. This could include an enhanced lump sum, money for training, a computer or a favourable deal on purchasing a company car.’
7. Ask for support in finding a new role.
‘Outplacement companies specialise in helping individuals who have been made redundant find a new role,’ says Corinne Mills. ‘Companies will often put money towards this to help members of staff who are being made redundant. It can significantly reduce the amount of time taken to find your next role so it is well worth asking for.’
8. It’s essential to make a financial plan.
‘Work out your financial situation so that you have a realistic picture of your finances and cash flow in the months ahead, and the salary you need to earn in your next job,’ says Corinne Mills. ‘Contact the Job Centre to ensure that you receive your financial entitlements. Even if you are not entitled to payments, signing on will ensure that you receive an NI credit towards your pension.’
9. Above all things, take care of yourself.
‘Coping with redundancy and looking for your next job can be emotionally demanding so it becomes especially important to look after yourself,’ says Corinne Mills. ‘Burn off some of the stress with physical exercise, and make sure you eat and drink healthily. Remember to go out and have fun with family and friends as well.’
10. Be positive.
‘While few people wish for redundancy, many will up end thinking of it as the catalyst they needed to make positive changes in their career,’ says Corinne Mills. ‘This is because it enabled them to reflect on what they really wanted career-wise to create a working life more in line with their needs and aspirations. Remember that this is your opportunity to reinvigorate and perhaps even reinvent your career.’
Here 18 more tips to help you cope with stress…