Facing job loss or redundancy: Nine survival tips

Are You Worried You Might Be Facing Job Loss Or Redundancy?

[Updated July 2020]

The fear of losing your job, facing redundancy or being unemployed is almost as insidious as concern about Covid-19 itself at the moment.

You may have heard the rumours that the business you work for may not survive the economic repercussions of the pandemic, or they are about to reduce staff. You feel concerned, knowing that no-one is safe in their employment at the moment. How could they just suddenly announce that your job no longer exists? After all, you know how hard you’ve worked, and you believe your work is valuable and valued.

But an unsettling feeling has crept in. Media and government reports are negative and worrying. What if you are about to lose your job!  What will you do?  How will you react?  You imagine the worst; losing your job; facing redundancy; being unemployed. In your mind, especially at 3 am, it is not a pretty sight!


Prepare Yourself For Possible Redundancy

How can you prepare so that you will be able to cope well if you lose your job?  Here are nine things you can do immediately to ensure that you are ready “just in case”. Let’s not make this into a disastrous speed bump in life or an incident that will define your future career or your retirement. You can prepare yourself to take swift and decisive action to get new work as quickly as possible. Businesses are still hiring!

Maintain your usual high standards

It is natural that emotions will arise, that you will feel vulnerable and perhaps angry that your working life may be affected like this.  Accept that it is reasonable to feel emotional, but don’t lash out.   Try your best to be dignified and to continue to work as usual, maintaining your high standards as if the rumours did not exist.  You don’t want to tarnish your reputation. Your boss or colleagues may need to be your referee for your next job.

Remove personal belongings

At the first hint that redundancies or job losses could be imminent, remove all personal files from your work computer. If you are working in a corporate environment, take home any of your belongings that you aren’t using regularly.

Don’t get involved in nastiness

There possibly will be increased tensions in the workplace.  As people consider the possibility that they might lose their job, they often become hyper-critical of the people around them.  Don’t become the problematic person yourself, or fall into the trap of other people’s nastiness.  Use this time to support one another, not cause additional drama.  If the atmosphere becomes toxic, do your best to rise above it and escape whenever you can.

Know your redundancy and dismissal rights

Read any information you can access about your rights, so you know what to expect.  That way, you can discuss the situation knowledgeably, which will help you to feel more rational and composed. The more knowledge you have, the stronger you will feel when you are facing job loss or redundancy.

It’s the JOB, not YOU

Remember that it is the JOB that is the problem, not you as an individual.  Job loss or redundancy is a road-bump in life, but it is not a crisis if you manage it appropriately.  Yes, it can be more difficult for an older worker to regain employment than for a younger person.  However, don’t discount the invaluable experience that you can market to another company, or other alternatives involving self-employment.

Don’t buy into the trap of thinking negative thoughts about your future. Don’t focus on fears of being unemployed. Now is the time to be positive and start to get yourself ready for your next challenge so that if the redundancy occurs, you have prepared yourself to act quickly and decisively to get yourself employed again as soon as possible.

Remember that being made redundant is not a reflection on your work or a blight on your character.  It is a business decision that unfortunately affects real people and their lives. And job losses right now are simply an indication that a business is trying to survive and can’t afford another employee.

Look towards your network

The best way to make a smooth transition from one job to the other, especially in situations where you have been made redundant, is through recommendations and introductions. Your existing network is where you can gather information about where jobs may be coming up in the future.  It is also most likely that someone in your professional or personal network will recommend you to others if they know of opportunities that might interest you.  Use the Hidden Job Network to your advantage during this time.

Get your resume up to date

Get your resume up to date. Take your time to consider what you have achieved and to determine the direction you want to take next. It will help you to know how to target the resume even though you don’t yet have a specific position description for which you are applying. Be aware that if your resume is more than about five years old it is likely to need a complete refresh to give it a contemporary feel and to reflect the skills, experiences, and achievements you want to showcase.

Be prepared to hand over company belongings

If you are departing from a business, you will have to hand over company belongings such as a laptop, phone, or car. Be prepared for this so that you know you have a backup plan for transport and telephone.

Get help from a professional Career Counsellor

Consider being proactive and organise to see a professional career counsellor who will be able to help you to re-envision your working life and plan your strategies for the next stage of your career.   This way, you will know that you have prepared yourself for whatever happens at work, giving you a sense of empowerment.  It is possible that the redundancies won’t eventuate or won’t affect you, but the opportunity to reflect on your future may inspire you to make a career change anyway.


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Jenni Proctor

Hi, I'm Jenni Proctor from Boomers Next Step. Remember when the formula for success in life was simply to strive for good marks at school, gain qualifications, get a great job, work hard and save for your retirement? Yes, I believed it too! For years my husband David and I wanted to develop a business that we could operate anywhere in the world, but both of us were educated to be employees.  We had entrepreneurial dreams and ideas, but still had employee mindsets. 14 years ago I took the giant leap!  I left my job in Education to start a business as a Career Counsellor and Coach, helping mature adults transition from one career path to another, and particularly from employment to entrepreneurship.  I had studied long and hard to gain new qualifications but sadly I hadn’t learnt how to market my new business. About 12 years ago we realized that we were not tracking well towards having the sort of retirement we wanted. We’d saved; we’d invested; and like so many other people we’d also lost some money along the way. It didn’t help that my business was not bringing in as much as I had been earning as an employee. Our dreams of extensive travel and helping our family were being replaced by a growing concern that we would outlive our savings. It seemed that a traditional retirement would not allow us to maintain the lifestyle we wanted. I love helping people plan the next phase of their lives, but we realized that was not going to be enough.  We needed a way to create an income stream that would pay for the travel and other lifestyle luxuries we wanted, that would provide mental stimulation, and would interest us both.

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