Vanessa Westwell from The True Life Company looks at how an individual can be affected by redundancy, the qualities needed to survive such a difficult period, and how coaching can help provide support.
Redundancy can seem like a punch in the stomach. Like there is suddenly no light at the end of the tunnel. However, it can also be a fresh beginning. A time to listen to yourself and find out what is really important to you. A chance to take stock and see what you want your life to look like from now on.
This article explores how coaching can help you turn the negative experience of redundancy into a positive one.
Redundancy stops us in our tracks
Redundancy stops the hamster wheel syndrome – when you are running so fast to keep up that everything is a blur. It's only when you stop running that you can see clearly what's around you. Redundancy stops you in your tracks, sweeping away your old routines. You don't have a reason to get up in the morning. You don't have a sense of purpose. You dread people asking "What do you do?"
Suddenly you feel worthless. You may be burnt out physically and mentally. Maybe the news of redundancy was handled badly and you feel bruised from the experience. On top of that you are likely to have money worries which feel like the end of the world.
Impact on others
There will be a huge impact on yourself and others, such as:
- No income or less income coming in ("What are we going to do?")
- Loss of self worth ("I couldn't even hold down a job")
- Fear of debts ("How are we going to pay off the credit cards?")
- Future goals on hold ("We can't afford a holiday now")
- More time with your partner ("I'm sick of you being around all the time, you are always in my face!")
- Power struggles ("This is my territory and you're in it")
- Resentment ("I'm working and you're at home all day")
- Lack of a clear role ("I don't have enough to do")
- Less personal space ("I never get any time alone")
- Loss of libido ("I'm just not in the mood")
- Arguments over who does the chores ("Well, you're the one at home all day!")
- Resistance to change ("I don't want to move house")
- Feelings of powerlessness ("How long is it going to be like this?")
- Withdrawal from friends ("I don't want any sympathy right now", "Sorry, we can't afford to come out tonight")
- Communication breakdown ("Why don't you talk to me?", "Leave me alone!")
- Family tensions ("Why is Dad/Mum so unhappy?")
Redundancy is a turning point
Despite all these challenges, it is possible for redundancy to be a time of transformation. It is a turning point, a chance to move on and have a better life than before. So how can you ensure that you use this experience in a positive way?
You will need six qualities to help you through this time:
You need to forgive yourself and others for what has happened. To forgive yourself for feeling you have failed. To forgive your former employer for choosing to let you go ¡V and maybe handling it badly. To forgive others for not knowing what to say or how to help.
You need to accept that this is where you are right now and you cannot change that. You cannot pretend it hasn't happened. You need to believe that it has happened for a good reason, and move forward. Stop wasting your energy on feelings of anger or revenge.
Be grateful for all that you do have in your life. See this is as a wonderful opportunity to re-think your life. Many people go on to be much happier and stronger after redundancy. It was the push they needed to take stock of their life.
To take the challenges it brings and make the very best of the situation. To deal with possible rejections and the negative judgements of others. To emerge stronger and more purposeful as a result. To stand up for what is important to you and to believe that you can have the life you wish for. To try things you may not have done before.
To look at what is working in your life right now and what is not working. To take responsibility for the choices you have made. To make the changes that are right for you. This could mean letting go of people, situations and activities that are no longer appropriate for your new life.
To keep going when it may feel difficult. To stay positive and to take action. To get out of the house every day, to exercise, to eat properly and avoid sinking into self pity.
Support from others
You will also need the support of others. This may be difficult if the whole family is worried about the impact of your redundancy on them. It will be hard for them to listen and support you when they are facing their own fears. That's why an objective outsider, such as a coach can be so helpful.
A coach has no other agenda in your life than to see you happy and successful. They will look at things from your point of view. They will provide a safe and confidential space to talk about what is important to you. To help you to explore possibilities and options. To encourage you as you set goals and take action. To help you to create the life that you wish for.
A coach could see your partner separately to offer them support. Afterwards you could visit the coach together to set some joint goals for the future.