Losing Your Job Can Be Emotional

Redundancy isn’t the sort of news you expect to get by text message.

The major construction company Thiess has sent out text messages to staff working on a specific project to tell them that their services are no longer required.  The message was factual, offering information updates, a contact email and phone number, and finish dates.

What were they thinking? Losing your job is a very emotional experience that demands far more sensitivity than a text message allows.

Man wearing construction helmet

Redundancy with it so many levels of emotions, unique for each person.  There is the obvious sense of “I’ve worked hard for them and they don’t want me any more”…and that hurts.  That emotion occurs for most people, irrespective of whether they love or hate their job.

For most there is the worry about what will happen next.  Will I find another suitable job?  Will I have to move to get work, and what will that mean for my family? What if I never get another job that is paying the same money or using my skills?

It’s not always bad. For a few people, redundancy is welcomed as they were already thinking about moving on or retiring and the redundancy becomes a clean fast-tracking of the process, with an unexpected windfall.  For others it becomes the catalyst to leave their comfort zone and try something new, even something exciting that they may not have tried if they had stayed in their job.

Each person who receives news that their position has been made redundant is an individual who deserves to be treated with respect, to be (even if it seems insincere at the time) reassured that their work has been valued and valuable to the company, and to be given the opportunity to talk through their future plans with a qualified and experienced career professional.

If you know that the company you work for is about to restructure, and talk of redundancies is swirling around your workplace, there are actions you can take to prepare yourself for the inevitable.  By being properly prepared you give yourself the best possible chance of embracing this change and making it be a turning point that you look back on with pleasure not pain.

Hopefully other companies will learn from this major Theiss PR mistake and handle their redundancies with more empathy and tact than has been evident in this situation.

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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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