How to navigate redundancy and thrive instead of just survive.
It seems to be a strange time to be publishing this after disappointing news from the UK Government this week, however I started writing this last week and struggled to find exactly the right words to say. I think I have found those words now and with the upcoming redundancies in our industry, it was important to share my thoughts on moving on from redundancy.
At the end of May last year I had a breakdown and was off work for a month. Two months ago, I was told my role was officially redundant, that I was now on my notice period and it was a blessing in disguise. Yes, I am still unemployed, trying to navigate life but I am happy which is a complete shock as I have had periods of mental ill health over the last 10 years. Mental wellness fluctuates through our life and this is how I didn’t just survive one of the most difficult situations of my life, but instead how I am thriving.
FEEL YOUR FEELINGS
Redundancy is a difficult period in anyone’s life and during a global pandemic it is much worse. I am not denying this at all, I am so passionate about this industry and the first two days I felt like everything had been taken away from me. My identity, my worth, my career, my experience, my value… the list goes on. Harmful words were said and with my history with mental health, I did feel like I was at rock bottom.
I was not at rock bottom. But I needed to grieve my loss and I would encourage you all to not hold back and let it out. Why? Because you are not alone. So many of us are unfortunately in this position and the majority of us will have never been in this position before. Paired with the ongoing pandemic, suspension of our industry and whatever else you may be going through personally, it is an extremely stressful time. Holding it in will only cause you more resentment later on.
Cry for 48 hours. Eat two tubs of ice cream. Sleep for 18 hours. Feel your feelings and do what comforts you before we move on.
PROCESS THE SITUATION
I was processing the situation through challenging the entire consultation process. By breaking it down and raising queries at each point, it helped me better understand the process.
Remember it is a consultation and you have the right to ask questions, gain clarity and challenge points. Redundancy is a difficult process for employers too and it may also be new territory for them. But as an employee you are being more adversely affected in the situation so ensure everything is done legally and properly by asking questions. All of this allowed me to have some sense of control which allowed me to process the situation quicker.
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
This is the big one – changing your mindset. Start to look at things in a different way and suddenly everything doesn’t seem too bad. This doesn’t happen overnight, you have to work on this and build yourself up. Know what doesn’t deserve your time and emotions as well as what your values and goals are and what aligns with them.
Lockdown and furlough gave us a lot of time to reflect for which I am grateful for. My underlying feelings on certain topics were suddenly becoming more highlighted within the industry which gave me and my feelings validation. I was right, I should have spoken up more before and I should never have accepted the way things were. I found a community alongside other professionals that valued me, showed me I deserved more and helped me change my mindset.
GET BETTER NOT BITTER
You have felt your emotions and grieved. You have processed and understood the situation. You have changed your mindset and found your values. So what comes next? Motivation to be better and reach your goals. Somewhere during the process my mindset changed and I knew my next move. It wasn’t a full plan but it was something I wanted that was for my happiness.
Have you ever had an idea or project that you have never got around to working on? Or perhaps a course or new skill you wanted to learn? This is the time to do it. These stages should have shown you to understand the situation is what it is and help you to accept it by grieving it and processing it. Now it’s time to be better, use the situation as motivation to build yourself up and be happy.
For me this involved spontaneously booking a flight to Dubai and Pakistan to see family – I was making the best of the situation. Whilst in Dubai I came up with the idea of Desert Island Events and Events Book Club which may not work out or could be a huge success. The point is that I am going for it and getting better each day no matter the outcome.
Life has handed you lemons, but instead of getting bitter, get better.