How to Survive if You’re Facing Redundancy This Christmas
The country may be in uproar over the latest measures to stop the new strain of Covid in its tracks, but the huge number of people facing redundancy this Christmas have very tangible worries that are going to last long after the Xmas season is over. For them, Xmas was never going to be Merry. Here, redundancy coach and psychologist Paula Gardner shares some tips for anyone who has been made redundant and now facing a very different Christmas.
- Don’t feel guilty
Guilt is a completely wasted emotion unless you’ve actually done something wrong. Then, it can prompt you to change your ways or make amends. However, feeling guilty about having less money to spend, or being pre-occupied, is a waste of time. Communication is key. If your children are old enough to notice something is different, then they are old enough to talk to. Tell them why you may be looking a bit worried, but be careful to reassure them at the same time. One client decided to show his ten year old son his CV, and the jobs he was applying for. This was a great way of teaching his child about the delights of job-hunting, but his son now understood why his Dad was feeling sad about no one getting in touch.
If it’s a lack of money that’s bothering you, think about how you can make Christmas special without spending. Board-games, cooking together, walks to see Christmas lights, or looking through windows to see other people’s Christmas trees: all these make for lovely free memorable traditions.
Put worry aside
It’s perfectly natural to worry at this time. However, worry, like guilt, is another wasted emotion. Nevertheless, it is easier said than done to stop it. One trick that works well is to have a “Worry Time.” This could be between 4pm and 5pm. If you start getting anxious or worried earlier in the day, simply tell yourself, “I will think about that at 4pm.” This way you are not dismissing this worries, merely putting them into box with a clearly defined time limit.
At 4pm you can sit down and have permission to worry. What may actually happen then is that you don’t need to worry, The moment has passed. Or, you can look at your worries objectively, by writing them down and looking at what practical measures you can use to tackle each one.
Take some time off…or don’t
Everyone is different. It may be really beneficial to take some time out of job-hunting. To turn off completely. However, some people will find that feeling of loss of control too much. For them, doing an hour or half an hour a day towards their job-hunt will help soothe and calm them. If you are one of these, explain to those around you that it helps you feel better. What’s important, however, is that you ring fence this time. Set aside just enough time for you to feel on top of things. Remember, recruiters and managers aren’t going to be reading your CV and applications over this time.
Explore what calms you
Different people find that different things work for them. Nevertheless, it’s important to find out what calms you, and makes you feel better. This will be really useful for the future too. Some people love Apps like Calm or Insight Timer, whilst others need walks on their own to hit that reset button. It may be half an hour on the X-Box, a chat with a friend, or even a good book. Whatever it is, make sure you take some time out to use it. I know it is Christmas, but beware of too much sofa and wine time. Active Relaxation like playing games, walks and other forms of exercise, is much more nourishing and restorative. Not to mention healthy too!
The gift of facing redundancy this Christmas
This could be a great time to rethink your career. It may be that you don’t want to go straight back into another job like the one you left behind. Apprenticeships, re-training, University, starting a business or even retirement (for some), are some options that are on the table. I advise my redundancy coaching clients to take some time out every day, perhaps first thing in the morning with their first coffee of the day. Use this regular time to ponder what comes next. Questions you might to ask yourself are:
- How did my last job fit with how I see myself?
- What bits would I want to keep?
- Are there things I would like to leave behind?
- What, in my heart, do I really want to do?
- Who do I want to spend working time with on a daily basis (and it’s okay to say no one!)
- Do I really want to start at the bottom to do something new?
- Could I retrain? Do I have the time and the money to do so?
- What support do I have around me and how can I access it?
- What do I see my new identity in the future?
- How can my job or career contribute to that?
If you ask one or more of these questions every day, a clear picture of what you really do want will emerge. It may look very different to how you imagined when you first heard the news about your redundancy. Yes, redundancy can be a period of intense stress, but it can also be an opportunity to change your life for the better.
Paula Gardner is a redundancy and career coach and the founder of The Redundancy Recovery Hub. Author of The Career Pause and Pivot, Paula regularly coaches clients around moving forwards after redundancy. Having changed career mid-life, and previously ran her own PR and marketing agency, Paula’s USP is her real life experience as well as psychology and coaching know how. Join us and book your redundancy coaching session with Paula here.