This is a repurposed blog from the original I wrote during the last economic downturn about ‘winning through redundancy‘ but it’s arguably even more relevant than ever right now.

Although the employment market is picking up, as a result of the pandemic, organisational restructuring resulting in redundancies/lay-offs are still on the agenda and are likely to continue for some while yet, especially when furloughs end, creating more uncertainty.

What to Do When Redundancy (Lay-Off in US/Canada) Strikes?

Definitely don’t do what many people do and immediately waste time firing out your CV/Resume to all and sundry, thinking you are being productive  

Why? Because until you have decided what you want to do next and have done the work to ensure your CV/Resume is targeted and focused, only then will you hit the target and avoid all the frustration this typical ‘scattergun’ approach fails to achieve.

There is no point in even looking at your CV/Resume till you have taken stock, which is usually way down the line for most people.

You may decide not to get another employed role and set up a business of your own, in which case you won’t even need a CV/Resume.  Remember the age old adage- ‘more haste = less speed!’

So, what to do then? Instead, follow these six key steps from my empowering Career Navigation Cycle process, which have helped to transform the lives and careers of thousands of people around the globe.

Step 1 – Let Go and Look Forward

You are what you think and feel, Winning Through Redundancy is all about having a positive mindset. As a result of your redundancy you are at a career crossroads. Living in the past will achieve nothing. However you feel about your redundancy and as difficult as it might seem, to tackle any major change, you have to change your thinking.

You have to learn to look forward not back. This will help you start to see your situation from a new perspective as an opportunity rather than a threat, so you can see things in a different way to open up new doors. You may think you can only do the job you did before or have done for most of your career, but it is never too late to change, as countless people have proven!

Step 2 – Re-evaluate

Now is the time to take stock, which we rarely do. Most people do jobs or work they don’t enjoy and are unhappy.

  • What does success mean to you? Is it about money and material wealth or is it about being able to do what you love and being happy and fulfilled in your life?
  • You now have a great opportunity to consider your Values i.e what is important to you in your career and life and WHY. Your Values are the foundation to build a fulfilling career from. Your  ‘WHY’ is your key driver and call to action so should not be ignored!
  • What is your financial situation and how much breathing space do you have before you get another job? How much do you need to earn to lead the life you want?
  • Consider what change really means to you and what will happen if you don’t change and just do ‘same old’ again.

My Mantra:

“You spend more waking hours at work than in any other activity. Life is too short so why be unhappy? Take ‘the leap of faith’ and do what you love!”

Consider what this means to you? Maybe it is time for a career change or starting the business you have always dreamt about?

Step 3 – Establish Your True Marketability

How well do you know yourself? Self-awareness is key to selling and marketing yourself effectively for your next job or change of career.

Unfortunately, most people have little self-awareness and as a result, greatly undersell themselves. Get to know yourself, who you are and what you have to offer an employer or as a potential business owner. Transferable skills are important but are only a part of the picture. Consider your personal attributes, attitude, strengths, knowledge, achievements, passions, interests, connections and the skills you have developed outside of work as well as in any previous jobs you have had.

Understanding your ‘complete package’ is very powerful, as this will help you to sell yourself in a much more positive way on your CV/Resume and in general conversations.

It is always easier to see things in other people than it is in ourselves, so ask people you know and trust for their views about you. This often helps to consider new opportunities you had never thought possible before.

Step 4 – Explore Opportunities

You do have a CHOICE in what you do next. Before you jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, research the type of job, employer, work environment or maybe even a business idea you may have.

At this key stage, it pays you to network and talk to as many people as possible who can help and steer you in the right direction.

“What you say, how you say it and to whom is really important”

People react positively to positive people but they don’t want to hear all your worldly woes! Have a core belief that most people genuinely want to help. Also, it’s often the most surprising people who can unlock the key to your future, who you may not even know yet.

If you want to try something different then a good option is to ‘dip a toe in the water’ by looking for work experience opportunities, volunteering or work shadowing so you can see first-hand if it is right for you before you take the plunge. It’s tricky during the pandemic but ‘where there is a will there is a way’. It will also look good on your CV/Resume and build your confidence.

Step 5 – Decide What to Do

Having done your research you are now much better placed to know what you want and where to find it. Do you still want to be employed or do you like the idea of being your own boss and starting your own business?

Maybe creating a Portfolio Career and a blended working lifestyle of your CHOICE. Many more people are now challenging the typical 1 employed job or 1 type of self-employed work ways to earn a living. The pandemic has proven the fragility of these ‘traditional’ work paradigms by having all your eggs in one basket.

“What could be better than earning a living from multiple income streams, spreading the risk and doing work you love based on your passions, interests, skills and natural talents? This is what I call working for the 3Ps…Passion, Pleasure & Profit!”

If you decide to set up a business it is crucial to get buy in from your partner, if you have one, as you are likely to have peaks and troughs of work and income, completely different to getting a regular salary from an employer. Consider the pros and cons of self-employment and focus on what you enjoy and are good at.

Whichever route you decide on, consider whether you need to upskill or gain new knowledge? If so, make allowances for this and view it as short term pain for longer term gain.

Step 6 – Take Positive Action

The future may look scary or exciting. Either way follow the Nike adage and ‘just do it’. You must develop your career action plans and follow through with these to succeed.

“Only you can take responsibility for your future!”

What have you got to lose by trying something different? Keep focused, review your progress regularly, look at what is working and what is not, as Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Realise that only by moving out of your comfort zone, having the right mindset, belief in yourself and taking positive actions will you achieve success and that would feel great, wouldn’t it?

These Six Steps are extracts from Steve Preston’s internationally acclaimed book ‘Winning Through Redundancy – Six steps to navigate your way to a brighter future’ now also available as an empowering, breakthrough Online course with flexible options to help you win through your redundancy/lay-off and achieve a bright new future!

Steve Preston is a Leading Career Coach, Internationally Acclaimed Author, Speaker, Creator of Breakthrough Career & Personal Development Courses and Managing Director of SMP Solutions (Career & People Development) Ltd