Yet again, there’s a redundancy story in the news. Workers at the Redcar Steelworks were given notice of their redundancy last week. Roughly 2200 people are set to lose their jobs as the steelworks goes into liquidation.
I have massive amount of sympathy for those workers, I know how devastating redundancy can be. I lost my job to redundancy six years ago.
I worked in Adult Learning for a county council and my job was paid for by government funding. When the funds ran out, halfway through the financial year, there was suddenly no money to pay my wages. I was called to a meeting with four others (whose jobs were also dependant on the funding) and the news was broken to us. There would be a 12 week consultation period before the redundancy became final. We could choose to take the redundancy payment and go, or we could take another job in a different part of the council. If we refused the job offered to us, we could lose the redundancy settlement.
In the end, I chose to take the redundancy. My husband I were planning to relocate and this was the impetus to make the move. After that decision, though, I was numb for days. The thought that I was losing my job, through no fault of my own, was hard to take, even though I’d made the final call. What would I do now? Who would I be? It felt like I was losing my identity.
You are not redundant, your job is
The problem is, whenever you meet someone, one of the first questions they ask is, “what do you do?” We are defined by our job title; I certainly was. My place on the career ladder, my ambitions, my purpose, were all tied up in my work.
Here’s the thing, however – when redundancy strikes it’s important to remind yourself of this daily – you are not redundant. Just because a particular workplace has concluded that for financial or organisational reasons your job is no longer necessary, YOU are still valuable. You still have skills, talents and an amazing personality that make you an awesome employee. You are not surplus to requirements.
As I walked away from the offices for that last time, I wasn’t sad. I got into my car and drove away feeling like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was ready for the next chapter of my working life, and grateful for the push to seek out new opportunities.
Afterwards, we moved to a new home in a new county and I did get a new job. It’s actually a job I love more than the one I lost, with new challenges alongside new, wonderful people. I haven’t let it define me, though, and that’s pretty liberating.
If redundancy looms for you, I hope you’ll realise (sooner than I did) that redundancy isn’t the end. Yes, it sucks. Yes, the financial burden can be difficult. But, you will move on to new things. It’s going to be ok.
Join our tribe
We promise to pop a whole host of good stuff into your inbox every Wednesday to brighten up your week. Can't say fairer than that now can we?