Ask LH: How Should I Deal With Being Made Redundant?

Ask LH: How Should I Deal With Being Made Redundant?

Dear Lifehacker, I’ve been informed that work will undergo a restructure and my position will be redundant. Apart from reapplying for the new positions, what else should I do to prepare myself to come out a better person after this event? Thanks, Uprooted

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Dear Uprooted,

Sorry to hear that. Unexpected career change is never easy to deal with. We’ve got plenty of advice on how to update your resume, search for a job and work through an interview elsewhere on Lifehacker. In these circumstances, you need to ask yourself some broader questions:

Do you actually want to stay with your employer? When there’s a restructure, the obvious temptation is to try and score one of the jobs that’s still going, especially if you have financial commitments such as a mortgage. However, even if you wouldn’t have consciously made the choice to look for another job, you now have the opportunity to do so. So ask yourself: Do you really like your current role? Will there be opportunities to progress? Will there be more security following the restructure? If you can’t say ‘yes’ confidently to all three, then you should start looking elsewhere.

Have you got enough savings? One reason many people will panic when an unexpected work change looms is that they are living pay to pay. Setting up a regular savings scheme makes the prospect less scary. If you haven’t got one, start now. It doesn’t need to be complicated: pick an online bank and organise a regular deposit, even if it’s only $50 a month. Build the habit.

Are you getting caught up in negativity? Chances are there’s a lot of discussion about future prospects going on in your workplace right now. Keeping up with what’s happening is one thing, but getting caught up in mindless speculation and gossip won’t help you in the long run. Stay positive.

What are you doing that’s not about work? No matter how fulfilling your job is, it shouldn’t be the defining feature of your life. Make sure you have other things going on. Start a passion project. Write a novel. Learn to code. Volunteer. Get fit. But have something that isn’t defined by who currently pays you.

Those steps won’t help you find a new job, but they will take you some of the way to being a “better person”. If readers have other suggestions, we’d love to hear them in the comments. Good luck!


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  • The average is meant to be 3 times in your career (can’t remember if this is in general or just in the IT sector), so it’s fairly likely to happen to most of us. It’s happened to me a few time and each time it has resulted in a better job. Take this as an opportunity to look for something which suits you better.

    Keep going mate, things *will* work out for you, no matter how bleak they can seem at the time.

  • i agree with the comments about it being an opportunity…it feels shtty, though, and you need to keep your chin up until you find something else (hang in there!)

    however, i urge you against applying for roles within the same company as this would be quite futile – if they wanted you to stay, they wouldn’t have let you go…they don’t want you there, it’s hard to accept but it’s the way it is…your time would be better spent concentrating on finding another workplace

  • Getting made redundant was the best thing that happened to me. I was in a dead end position doing the bare minimum (I’m surprised they didn’t get rid of me earlier)… I got enough money to live comfortably for a couple of months, one of which I spent having relaxing, having fun, and working out what I wanted to do… and managed to land a job I actually love.

  • I created an account just to contribute my 2c to this article as it’s great content and a great discussion.

    Having recently been through this myself, I can add the things I learnt (not necessarily applied):

    * Don’t mentally spend your redundancy cheque before you accept a new role. By doing so, you’ve subconsciously increased your urgency of getting that next role, increasing the chance of accepting the first one that’s offered (not necessarily the right one).
    * Attempt to look forward, not backwards (easy to say, difficult to do). Don’t concentrate on something you’ve ‘lost’, be excited about the opportunity you’ve been given. If you had a good job, perhaps your next one will be a great one!
    * Be happy about the time you had, not the time you lost (again, easy to say…). Imagine if you never had the opportunity to work at your current workplace. That would be worse than working there (for however long you have) and being forced to move on wouldn’t it?
    * Share your thoughts and what’s going on inside with a colleague, friend, loved one, counsellor. Better than bottling it up and releasing it all at once.
    * Accept that it will take time, and you will experience a range of different emotions. It’s a rollercoaster. I thought I was immune. I wasn’t. 🙂
    * And +1 to the final point in the article. I found it massively important.

    Good luck!

  • I’ve been handed two reduncies in my working life so far. Don’t personaise it, stay positive and re-learn how to sell yourself. Its character building for sure. The last time it took me 5 months but my successful interview just ‘clicked’. Never been happier in my current job.

  • I was made redundant once and so was everyone I worked with. I was lucky enough to come out a better person after the experience. There were very few redeployment options. Staff had exit dates across several months and I asked for a late exit date thinking I had no hope of getting another job. Although I prepared myself for the worst, I did everything I could to increase my chances of getting another job. I ended up finding job before my exit date and had to negotiate an earlier exit.

    I went from saying they would have to drag me out of there kicking and screaming to begging them to let me go. My advice is to have a positive attitude and be brave enough to open yourself up to new challenges. The attitude changes helped me both in my home life as well as my work life. I took advantage of all the opportunities offered to me and figured out ways of standing out from the crowd. It wasn’t easy but it was definitely worth the effort.

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