Made redundant? What to do next…

Now that stores, pubs and restaurants are open again, life does start to resemble a familiar shape, albeit that most of us are still working from home for at least part of the week.

However, it also means that businesses now have to deal with the reality of the aftermath of the lockdown. Those businesses in financially precarious positions in the beginning of this year mostly find themselves in a situation now, where survival is the order of the day. Resulting in deep cost cutting and redundancies galore.

On 01 July alone, thousands of people were made redundant in the retail and leisure sectors and my guess is that we’ll see more of it over the summer.

So, if you have been made redundant, what do you do?

No matter how hard it this is, you must not take this personally. Your position was made redundant, not you. That said, don’t start hitting the phones and scramble around for a new job straightaway. Give yourself some time to mourn the loss, compose yourself and draw up a battle plan.

Make sure to have a short, medium and long term outlook.

Short term

  • What is my cash position, to how many months without an income can I stretch?
  • What monthly costs can I reduce or cut?
  • Do I qualify for any government support, mortgage holiday, tax relief or such like?
  • Is there any part time job I can do that brings in some cash, without the time spent there impeding on my job search?

Medium term

  • Do I have any skills that are in high demand? If so, which (type of) companies will be interested in them?
  • Make a list of all the people you have worked with in the past, re-connect, explain what type of role you are in the market for and ask who they can introduce you to. All this of course in a socially acceptable manner – a bit of small talk and a (virtual) coffee…
  • Speak to all the recruiters you know and to those whom your contacts have highly recommended.
  • Be absolutely clear about the role you’re after, give no more than two specific descriptions to anyone you network with. If you just want ‘something in marketing’ then the likelihood of someone remembering that is far less than when you have told them, that with your background in optimising CRM programmes, you are aiming for a Head of CRM role.
  • Are your skills and experience suitable for interim work or short term contracts?

Long term

  • It is a good idea to have a plan B, in case you’re without work for longer than you had anticipated. Is switching sectors a possibility? Are your skills transferable to a more buoyant sector? The only thing to consider here though, is that I have observed over the years that for some reason it is difficult to return to the sector you came from if things don’t quite turn out as expected.
  • Can you re-train and have a second (or third) career in a completely different line of work?
  • Should you be more flexible on your salary expectation? A note of caution here! Even if you’re prepared to drop by more than 20%, companies tend not to see that as an attraction but a threat. As in, if a better paid position comes along you’ll be off again.

Finding yourself a job whilst unemployed in a downturn can be a horrible experience and to hear that you’re not alone in this, may not be particularly comforting. However, stay focused, try to stay positive and optimistic, and remember, very few people remain unemployed for the rest of their life. This time will pass.

Let me know if I can help.

Maarten Jonckers