Bouncing back after redundancy

Bouncing back after redundancy

November 21, 2022

woman lying down on bed

Getting laid off is a worry that constantly lingers in the back of many employees’ minds, with a 2019 survey revealing that more than a third of UK workers fear redundancy. These statistics would no doubt be significantly higher if you were to ask the same question now, post-pandemic, in a world where redundancy looms over many employees like a black cloud.

Layoffs have been hurtling like a tornado through the tech sector in particular, with Amazon this week revealing plans to let go of 10,000 employees, and Elon Musk presenting employees at Twitter with an unforgiving ultimatum: work “long hours at high intensity”, or move on. With shockwaves like these being sent through powerhouse tech companies, it’s easy to see how many of us feel vulnerable in our positions.

Whilst the number of employees made redundant reached a peak in May 2021, the number is ominously creeping up again. But if you happen to be made redundant yourself, what happens then? Your first instinct may to hunt for a new job at the speed of light, all guns blazing. But this could actually prove to be detrimental in the long run. Here are some of our top suggestions for bouncing back after redundancy.

Take a breather

First of all, take a step back. Redundancy, especially when it comes like a bolt from the blue, can flood your brain with emotions: anxiety, uncertainty, anger; you name it. The best thing you can initially do is shelve the job search for a few days, or as long as you can afford to, as a time to process your feelings about the situation. You don’t want to make any important decisions whilst still getting over the initial shock of the blow.

You’ll thank yourself in the long run. If you begin looking for a new job straight off the bat without letting the dust settle, you may be carrying negative, unresolved feelings with you into the initial stages of the job hunt. Recruiters will be able to sniff any lingering resentment on you from a mile off, so it’s best to take a breather in order to put your best foot forward when the time comes.

The same applies to LinkedIn. The last thing you want to do is start ranting on social media. A hiring manager’s eyes may fall upon these tirades, and it could be a bad reflection on you. An HR magazine poll found that most HR professionals think that people should not overshare on LinkedIn, and angry rants about ex-employers definitely falls under that category.

Figure out where you stand

Assessing your financial situation is a crucial step. If you calculate how long you realistically have to look for a job, buoyed up by the cushion of severance pay and any other potential unemployment benefits, you’ll be able to better map out your path for the future. Work out where you can afford to make cuts in the meantime, in order to further reduce any potential anxieties or stress that risk wiggling to the surface.

Ease into the job search

Diving straight into a job search after years of employment at the same company can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. If you dip your toe in gently, you can take control of the situation. There are many steps you can take to gear up to a successful job hunt.

For one thing, refamiliarize yourself with what’s going on in your particular sector, gauging the steps those within it are taking to be successful. After years at the same company you may have developed tunnel vision, losing sight of the bigger picture.

One way of gaining industry knowledge is by networking with former colleagues, friends, respected people in your sector, and recruiters. Every conversation is a building block that levels up your confidence. Make a mental note of their advice, using it to hone the image you present to hiring managers. Listen to their market insights and their tips for updating your CV with an attentive ear. Recruiters in particular can help you understand how to leverage your recent experience in your CV to put your best foot forward.

Make the most of it

Let’s be honest: no one wants to be made redundant. But there is something to be said for making the most of a less-than-ideal situation. You have the chance to take a breath and genuinely think: where do I want to take my career now? What are the things that are most important to me that will make me feel fulfilled? It could be the perfect opportunity for a much-needed rethink. Give yourself the chance to reflect to get a sense of what you liked and didn’t like about your old job, which is helpful moving forwards. Just like coming out of a relationship, you don’t want to dive into the next one too quickly!

Once you’ve come to terms with redundancy, you can confidently put yourself back out there on the job market. When talking about your layoff, remain calm and composed, framing it as an opportunity for new adventures whilst acknowledging the positive impact you contributed to the company. Keep in mind that layoffs often aren’t personal and don’t diminish the role you played during your time there.

And remember: in today’s climate, being made redundant is not something to be embarrassed or shameful about. It’s an all-too-common reality that hiring managers are highly familiar with. A quick scroll through LinkedIn is in itself enough to prove how supportive people are to those going through it: our feeds are often home to people talking about their recent layoff and saying their open to work, and the comments restore our faith in the LinkedIn community. The posts are frequently flooded with comments from others offering their support and guidance. You can bounce back from redundancy, returning better than ever.

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The new normal: embracing a ‘squiggly career’

The new normal: embracing a ‘squiggly career’

November 11, 2022

Once upon a time, spending decades in the same role at the same company was considered ‘the done thing’. Our grandparents would find a job and stick with it all the way through to retirement, climbing the ladder from entry to senior level. Joining a company was as binding as a marriage contract, and employees were expected to be as loyal to their company as to their husband or wife. But nowadays, the prospect of a job for life is about as alien and unimaginable as it gets.

Ask a millennial or Gen-Zer if they plan on staying put in one role for the rest of their working lives and they’ll most likely laugh you out the door. There’s a sea change taking place amongst the workforce as they refuse to be typecast or put into one single box with little to no room for manoeuvre. In a world defined by constant change, disruption, anxiety and innovation, workers are turning their backs on the concept of a linear career trajectory that puts their personal wants and needs on the backburner. The workforce of today is yearning for a career path shaped uniquely by and for themselves. If employers want to keep their businesses operating competitively, they need to be attracting talent by accepting an undeniable reality: a ‘squiggly career’ is becoming the norm.

What makes a career ‘squiggly’?

The term ‘squiggly career’ was originally coined by Helen Tubber and Sarah Ellis in their best-selling book exploring the demise of the linear career trajectory. However, a ‘squiggly career’ does not simply mean flitting from job to job and frequently transitioning from one industry to another. More than anything, having a ‘squiggly career’ is a mental state: it’s moving past the traditional view that success is defined as climbing seamlessly up the corporate ladder, opting instead to look at your career path as something fluid, that should be determined by your instinct for growth and learning, wherever that may take you.

Embracing the squiggles

Pursuing opportunities based on your own sense of personal fulfilment would have once earned you the rather derogatory title of ‘job hopper’, but nowadays it’s something that we should be embracing and celebrating. ‘Progression’ is no longer synonymous with promotions and pay rises; it’s an inward journey towards personal development.

Rather than moving upwards in a company, you may want to move sideways, dipping your toe into different roles and functions. We’re witnessing the rise of the multidisciplinary team, where people are choosing to work as a cross-functional pool of resources. When you’re working in an agile squad, you’re broadening your skillset and not limiting yourself to one single role.

The point is, the term ‘career’ is itself becoming increasingly difficult to define in any kind of concrete way. The one-size-fits-all definition of a career would’ve served well thirty years ago, but now? There is no longer a set formula that people have to follow. According to research by Zippia, the average person changes jobs 12 times over the span of their working life, and most people spend less than five years at a company. Due to technological developments, the flexibility of our working life has evolved beyond recognition. There are currently around 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK today, an all time high. Rather than living for work, today’s workforce is making work a part of their lives that works for them. Done right and embraced to its full, a ‘squiggly career’ has the potential to be limitlessly liberating.

Adapting as an employer

As today’s workforce embraces the ‘squiggly career’, hiring managers need to adapt to this changing landscape. Ultimately, the power is in the candidate’s hands, and in order to attract top talent, businesses need to be prepared to make changes to accommodate the shifting motivations and desires of the workforce.

Employees with a ‘squiggly career’ want to work for a values-led company that aids and supports their learning and development, offering flexibility and a degree of freedom. Dangling a promotion in front of your employees is no longer enough to keep them at your company; in today’s climate, there’s bound to be competitors out there that would lure them away with just as enticing an offer. To build a loyal network of employees, managers need to be leaders in the true sense of the word, genuinely investing in the training and support of those working for them. The average candidate in today’s market is not fickle, but also won’t likely put up with a career that doesn’t provide them with the things that matter most to them, such as the ability to show their strengths, build their skillset and stick by their values. The more organisations enable their workforce in pursuing a fulfilling ‘squiggly career’, the greater the payoff for both the individual and the company.


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