With the recent announcement that Borders will close 38 shops and cut 300 jobs in Australia many people will be thinking redundancy right now; either from the flow on economic effect, being worried about their own jobs,or the impact that this may have on their families. Make no mistake. This can be a very emotional time and period of great uncertainty for those of us who face impending job loss. This article comes via Steven Solodky, a career practitioner who has worked with many people experiencing the impact of their position being made redundant.
Here are his suggestions for what you can do during this difficult time.
1. Be compassionate towards yourself
Similar to the stages of loss, an array of emotions may surface including denial, anger, depression and even isolation. If seen as normal and allowed to pass in their own time, you will eventually process these difficult feelings. This will be in your own time and in your own way. Tell your family and friends what you are feeling whenever difficult emotions arise and make simple requests – such as booking time alone, or making an actual date with friends. Most employers provide access to free confidential counselling via an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Your employer will not know if you access this service. Alternatively, ask your GP for a Medicare or low cost counselling referral.
2. Reconnect with your core values and rediscover what you love to do
Forced change is never pleasant, however over a period of time, it could be seen as a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with what you love doing in life. Many people use redundancy as an opportunity to find a more enjoyable job, change careers, or even start their own business. Others may reconnect or rediscover a lost passion, while learning more about who they are as a unique individual on this planet to bring about positive change. Consider consulting with a career coach or counsellor if you are unsure about potential career options. Ask your employer to pay for these services if a formal outplacement program is not offered (they aren’t required to, but you may be surprised with what the employer may actually do for you).
3. Get a strong foundation
A solid resume and good cover-letter is essential. Once you have a general idea of the types of jobs that you would like to apply for, seek help to write your resume and cover-letter. Your employer will generally offer you an outplacement program, or if not, request your human resources department to read over your resume and provide feedback. Alternatively, find a professional resume writer that you can trust. A good resume writer must have experience in your chosen industry, have a well established reputation, and spend quality time with you to understand your needs. Again, if your employer does not provide a formal outplacement program, ask if they would be willing to pay for a professional resume writer.
4. Proactively manage your finances
Financially it could be very tough, as it could take up to three months or more to find another role – but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Contact Centrelink immediately once you are advised of your role being made redundant. If you suspect you are going to fall behind with bills and repayments, contact the company or financial institution well in advance to negotiate alternative payment arrangements. If you require help negotiating payment arrangements, contact www.moneyhelp.org.au (ask for a referral if you are based outside of Victoria) or find a free financial counsellor in your local area who may act on your behalf.
5. Know your rights and entitlements
Do not leave your employer until you have received a formal letter stating the date your role will become redundant, otherwise you may not be eligible for a redundancy payout. Also check if your employer will offer you an additional financial bonus for staying until the very end. Visit www.fairwork.gov.au/termination/redundancy to know more about your rights. Employers are legally obligated to follow legislative requirements when it comes to redundancy. Contact your human resources department or Fair Work Australia if you are unsure or if think you may have been treated unfairly.
6. Access free training
Free training programs and TAFE courses are often offered to redundant workers. This could be a great way to increase or change your skills. Contact Centrelink or www.deewr.gov.au for more information. Alternatively, ask your employer or human resources department if they would be willing to pay for a short course or TAFE qualification.
7. Let the world know
Redundancy is nothing to be ashamed of. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool and people generally love to help others in need. You never know which friend or stranger could actually connect you with a role. Up to half of positions vacant in Australia are filled through an informal network rather than formally advertised. Remember also to ask your Manager to be a referee – and keep in touch with them so that you can use them as a reference in the future.
Redundancy is not a pleasant experience and potentially will be one of the most challenging experiences in your life. Following the above steps will help reduce the associated stress and hopefully help you discover a very rewarding and exciting new stage of your life. Remember to get lots of support behind you!
Based in Melbourne CBD, Steven Solodky is a Senior HR Consultant specializing in internal recruitment, workplace training, organizational development and outplacement. Outside of this role, Steven works privately as a career practitioner, helping individual clients to grow their professional working life through career, resume and interview coaching services. Visit www.careermuk.com for more information.