Your role has been made redundant, now what?

Whether planned or unplanned, being made redundant does not have to be catastrophic. In fact, it could be just the right time to consider some very different career trajectories. 

When Joan was asked to step into a meeting with her boss, she had no idea that her role was about to be made redundant. She had been aware of some strategic changes in the business but didn’t know that she would be impacted. The news came as a huge shock and initially Joan felt overwhelmed and devalued. 

Matthew, on the other hand, had known for months that he, and most of his team, had been earmarked for a redundancy. The company he worked for was acquired by a larger multi-national organisation and it was just a matter of time before he would be out of work and likely looking for a very similar role in another company.  

In spite of the differences in their experiences, both Joan and Matthew responded to their situations in very similar ways.  Both were given access to transition services that provided coaching support, access to job boards and additional training. They were encouraged to network actively and to try to find another job as soon as possible.    

The weeks following were filled with a whirlwind of activity – writing resumes, networking and applying for jobs.  Whether planned or unexpected, being made redundant can feel very personal. Often the first instinct is to fill the hours with activities and to get back into the proverbial saddle as soon as possible.  

However, it could also turn into a great opportunity to take a well-deserved break, to re-assess and to re-centre.  As the reality settled in, both Joan and Matthew realised that they needed to take a step back and take some time to reflect on their goals and ambitions, rather than taking the first job offered.

Here are a few points to get you out of the spiral of panic and into a space where you can consider some alternatives:  

  1.  Pace yourself – Take a few days, or weeks if you can afford it, to consider what you really want and need from your next opportunity. Write it down and revisit your notes after a day or two.


  2.  Use your network to develop your plan – In the early stages conversations with your network do not necessarily have to be about another role. Use these as an opportunity to develop insights about what you want from your next job.


  3.  Be kind to yourself – being made redundant can feel like a personal blow. The reality of modern working life is that most of us are likely to go through the experience at one stage or another. Taking time out to care for yourself can help build your resilience and re-energise you to be able to look at the big picture.


  4.  Don’t be afraid to be creative – the nature of work is changing and the gig economy is now opening up opportunities for skilled professional to work on discrete projects or shorter terms contracts. This could be good time to think about different ways of working.

After a few weeks, Joan realised that she was in a position to pursue her long-held dream of completing her MBA as a full-time student. This gave her the opportunity to increase her skills profile, and 18 months later she accepted a role at an organisation that she’d always wanted to work for.

Matthew gained new insights from meetings with his extensive network of contacts.

Learning that there was a real shortage of consultants in his area of expertise, he decided that the time was right for him to set up his own consulting business and leave corporate life behind him.

Every person’s redundancy experience is unique. Your career objectives and commitments will of course play a big part in your decisions about what to do next. But if you can, this could be just the right time to step back, look at the bigger picture and move on to something different and more fulfilling.