Redundant in a Pandemic

Posted on July 20, 2020
By Catherine Heilemann

When people experience shock, they stop and start to process what is happening. I can absolutely attest to that happening to me, and from my research into redundancy this seems to be a common experience for most. Many people report they just want to go home and feel safe. Reflection then begins and for many, in creeps the self-doubt. Was it me? Am I terrible at what I do? Have I been deluding myself? People don’t respect me. People don’t like me. I’m not worth it. I’m not good enough. And then there’s the stigma of being made redundant, What will people think of me – how embarrassing 

We’ve heard about the array of ways people are told about their redundancy. The one that stands out the most was done mid-way through walking from one meeting to another and in the stair well. We’ve heard about townhall style delivery. Webinars. Video conferences. We’ve heard the letter has turned up before the meeting has finished. And it goes on. Of course, there are other stories too when people felt they were kindly treated, where colleagues and bosses alike got in touch to check in.  

There are a number of contributing factors that serve to compound the effect of redundancy on people. Things like: 

  • Not knowing when your next pay-cheque will be – especially if it has been a few months since you lost your job. 
  • How do you explain your redundancy when some think it’s a sign of underperformance or that you didn’t get along with someone?  
  • Dealing with silence from recruiters and hiring managers can be challenging, especially when there are so many people out of work and competing with you to be noticed 

 All of this can all lead to you feeling isolated. With time on your hands you can begin to think deeply and  question yourself. That questioning can be damaging to you in that your resilience and self-belief can be chipped away at. In some cases it plummets.  

You can take action to counteract it. If you are able to, from the moment you hear the news of your redundancy put a plan in place to prop yourself up. If possible, negotiate your redundancy, that is, ask for what you want. It may be some coaching, days in lieu for extra work you put in, or extra time. This act in itself can help you to feel like you have some control. 

When do you start job hunting? Some people throw themselves in right away. Others hold off. The timing is up to you. If it has been a while, how do you go about it? Is it a good idea to keep a tally of the jobs you have applied for, or not? You be the judge of the best timing and how you go about it. If you have outplacement support, ask them about it. See what other ideas they can provide you. 

Coming back to your resilience and self-belief. I suggest you check this before you take action. Being ready to take action and in a good mindset is important. The way you see yourself, knowing how others perceive you is important for you as you move through this transition period. You may want to do some exercises on this in the self-perception module:  

Redundant in a Pandemic

Closeup portrait young woman in glasses covering face eyes with both hands isolated on gray wall background

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