Redundancy ranks as one of the most stressful life experiences for many people. However, in the process of leaving, it is important that you protect your interests.
The following suggestions from Personnel Career Management, a UK based outplacement organization, talk here about how you can ensure that both practically and emotionally you are in good shape and well-equipped for the challenges ahead.
- Don’t panic
It’s common for people to either rush into a flurry of activity or be like a rabbit caught in headlights when they get made redundant. Avoid either fate by keeping calm. Make a list of all of the things you need to arrange in the months ahead and them list them in priority order. This might include legal and financial arrangements, outplacement support and contact numbers for networking meetings.
- Know your rights
Check out Citizens’ Information’s website for information on your rights. Consider speaking to an employment solicitor if you have any sense that the redundancy may not have followed due legal process or if their signature is required on the settlement agreement. Obtain a copy of the in-house redundancy policy if there is one and check out the exit terms and notice periods in your contract.
Don’t be afraid to bargain and ask for more than your employer is initially prepared to give. This might include keeping the company car, support for re-training, an enhanced lump sum. You have nothing to lose by asking!
It’s easy to take your redundancy personally and to feel aggrieved either by the decision or by the process leading up to it. However, if you do choose to challenge the redundancy be careful to focus on facts and policies, not on personalities. Similarly, when talking to prospective employers about your redundancy, present it as having been a tough business decision and don’t criticise particular individuals.
- Build bridges – don’t burn them!
Try to maintain good relations wherever possible with your previous employer, even if you disagree over the manner of your exit. You will still need a reference for your next job, and it may be that your boss or colleagues can make useful introductions or offer you consultancy work.
- Get support
Help from a professional. They can make a huge difference to your job search success and reduce the amount of time taken to find your next role. You can purchase this yourself, but there are significant VAT and tax advantages to having it arranged via your organization. It’s always worth asking if the company will contribute towards outplacement services.
- Plan your Finances
Work out your financial situation so that you have a realistic picture of your finances and cash flow.
- Do your research
Don’t rush into applying for any or every job that comes up. Take stock of what you have to offer and what you want to do. Then research what employers are actually looking for so that you can devise a CV that meets their selection criteria. Talk to people in your target industry for career advice and information. This information will also be invaluable in helping you identify potential employers.
- Brush up your employability
Assess whether there are any gaps in experience or training that could be a barrier to getting another job and address them. Redundancy is a good time to take some of those courses you have always been too busy to go on; not only will this enhance your skills, it will also impress employers with your commitment to continuous professional development.
- Think Positive
This is a great opportunity to move your career forward in line with your own personal agenda. Although it can be traumatic at the time, many people find that in the long run redundancy is actually the catalyst they need to take their career in the direction they actually want to go. So use this time to think about what you really want, and go for it.