There is no doubt redundancy can bring up lots of different emotions. Here Penna Career Transition managing director Bev White explains how to best react in the face unemployment.
What should your initial response be after being informed?
There’s no should about it – every initial response is individual and most often, unpredictable. Emotions such as anger and tears are normal, but equally you may find yourself feeling very positive, almost euphoric, particularly if you have been unhappy in your job for a while, or have been desperately waiting to hear one way or the other. The real issue is what you do with any negative emotions – don’t ignore them. Try to talk about them in what you consider to be a safe environment.
What immediate steps/action should be taken after hearing the news?
If you’re given the option to go home, consider taking it, most people find it helpful. You may not remember much of what was said in the meeting so read and digest all relevant literature you are given and have a notepad handy to record any questions that come to mind. Try to share the news with someone you trust as soon as possible, such as a partner, family member or close friend.
What needs to be covered when discussing and agreeing departure terms?
You may be asked to enter into a compromise agreement, which is where the employee receives a negotiated financial sum in exchange for agreeing that he or she will have no further claim against the employer.
In this case, always take up the legal advice offered as early as possible and definitely before agreeing any departure terms. Ensure you agree communication messages about your departure, both internally and for any future references, and outplacement support should be detailed in your agreement.
What are the possible pitfalls?
Times of job loss can be emotional, but demonstrations of extreme emotions will only serve to damage your reputation and lead to feelings of regret at a later date. Find a supportive environment to express your feelings, as bottling them up will also hinder you moving towards positive actions.
Resist contacting a recruitment agency or reply to an advertisement until have prepared and can talk positively about your experience and future career direction.
How should you make best use of outplacement services offered?
Always take up the offer of an initial consultation to discuss your situation and needs. Listen openly as good providers will look to tailor their services to meet your needs. Ideally, you should be involved in the selection of the person who will work with you for any one to one service. Set up a partnership relationship– you know yourself best and the service provider should know how you could most effectively achieve your goals.
What practical steps can be taken while still in the workplace?
You may have weeks or even months before you actually leave and there is a lot that can be done in this time to review your personal career goals and hopefully find another job. Start by considering your strengths and limitations, any skills you have acquired as well as any areas of your job that you didn’t like.
Outplacement services will usually include coaching and this can provide an invaluable sounding board when deciding what direction you want to take. You should also take time to develop and maintain your network – this can give a greater sense of resilience during turbulent times with individuals to turn to for support and advice.
What next after they have left their company?
Once you have left the company, you will have even more time to dedicate to your future so make the most of it. If you still aren’t sure what direction to take then do some research, visit events and conferences and consider your options carefully – this opportunity doesn’t come along very often.
If you are sure about what you want to do then its time to step up the job search. You should have access to an outplacement centre where you can trawl jobsites and thoroughly prepare for interviews. Make sure you keep up-to-date with current issues and news as this knowledge will be invaluable when meeting prospective employers.
How can you benefit from the experience in the long run?
With the benefit of hindsight, most people view what happens after job loss as a positive experience - a chance to take stock, try something new, be given the opportunity to make decisions you’re not courageous enough to take while in the security of a job.
Be a sponge to ideas, suggestions and advice and if at all possible, take the time to make the best decisions, not necessarily the first ones that come to mind. Ideally make a medium to long-term plan, not a knee jerk reaction – that investment will pay dividends.
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