We've read a stack of posts these past 12-months. Some are helpful, some are interesting and some are fun. But some are important, and here's one of them.
It’s a reality of working in the public sector – or in any other sector. One minute you are striving to deliver fantastic communications, the next someone has decided that your post is to be made redundant. It’s rubbish, but it’s not personal (honestly). If this is the first time it’s happened to you, you are probably panicking. After three redundancies in a 16 year career, I offer a few things that got me through...
Work out what you are entitled to
Find a friendly HR person. They didn’t decide to make you redundant and they will have done this before so use their expertise to help you work out your payment. Knowing this information will help you make decisions. Your package could include a redundancy payment, pay in lieu of notice, holiday pay and any pension entitlements. And don’t forget to do your expenses.
Leave with dignity
Smile, have leaving drinks, leave loose ends tied up. Say positive things to everyone – “I’m looking forward to new opportunities”. Even if you are secretly terrified, talking a good story will help calm your nerves and leave colleagues with a positive impression, and you never know when your paths will cross again.
Take some thinking time
What to do next? How many times have you sat at your desk dreaming what you could be doing if you weren’t at work. Is redundancy an opportunity to retrain in the career you’ve been secretly fantasising about? Can you spend more time with your children or elderly parents? Do you have to have one job? Maybe you could develop a portfolio career. Could you do some freelance work and earn some money from your hobbies and passions? Now is the time to consider all the possibilities.
Build your skills
Continue to develop your professional skills. Check out free training through your professional body, go and see people who do whatever it is you need to learn about, or get volunteering. There is bound to be a local charity that needs your communication skills and your involvement could help you develop related skills in fundraising, training or strategic planning.
Think also about developing a new skill or resurrecting an old one, purely to rebuild your confidence and put some fun back in your life (because whatever else redundancy is, it isn’t a lot of fun). Dancing, painting, baking cupcakes – you choose.
Find support and build your network
This could be a great recruitment agent (or several). Ask colleagues for recommendations, and find agents who get to know you, rather than those who just forward on your CV. Catch up with former colleagues or old college friends – you don’t know what opportunities they may have until you speak to them. Remind them what you can do and offer your time and expertise. It goes without saying that your social media profile needs to be up to date. Don’t panic if you don’t hear from current colleagues - they have enough to worry about.
Write your plan and take action
This is as relevant when I was first made redundant from my first proper job in 1995 (when I went back to college and ended up in PR) as it was when I left local government in 2012. Each time I wrote a plan to help me find the next opportunity. Writing it down made it more likely to happen. Last year I made a list of all the ways I could make a living and all the things I wanted to do with my life and I have spent the last few months actually doing them. Life is more interesting and less stressful and my family see more of me. Whatever your path after redundancy, taking action will only make you feel better and more in control.
Whatever 2013 brings you, I hope your working year is fun and fulfilling.