Things I wish knew about redundancy

It’s been six months since my redundancy. It’s also been six months since my break-up and the truth is, the redundancy was and continues to be the hardest set of emotions to process every single day. I knew my relationship was heading downwards, I knew it was coming to a natural end and I knew I no longer saw myself in the relationship. Yet, a three year relationship breaking down has been easier to process and work through than a redundancy from a job I had for 18 months. I have realised that a break up and redundancy share a great deal of common ground. Ev, why are you sharing this post now? Well, I made a TikTok on redundancy discussing the things nobody ever speaks of. And when I say nobody, I mean the people I follow and engage with on social media. To my amazement, 121K people clicked and engaged with my content from the post alone, so being me, I thought heck I’ll share it with those who refuse to download the app designed for procrastinators.

I’ve realised that redundancy is similar to other major life events, it’s something that sadly each and everyone of us will experience and that’s a scary thought. But, life as a whole is terrifying. Redundancy encompasses all the scary elements of anxiety; the uncertainty and being completely out of our control. So, what was I not told?

Rejection hits harder

I can’t lie, I’ve always been lucky when it came to interviews. I’ve walked in and got a rough understanding of whether I fitted the bill based on body language and questions I was being asked. Pot luck was there and it’s gone missing and it’s hard, very very hard. A while back, I was working in a fixed contract which again you know will come to an end so you can’t be too shocked if your contract isn’t renewed. Within one week of being told my contract wasn’t being renewed, I had another job lined up. On this occasion, I didn’t have the luck I thought I would. The difference between the two, I was looking for a job in the Spring/Summer time which meant lots of companies were looking to hire. I was made redundant in November, a month before Christmas and two months before the quietest month in most companies. As garden leave reached it’s natural end, I became shameful knowing I didn’t have something to move onto. I was grateful that my freelancing and consultancy was bubbling away so I didn’t have the financial fears my peers have experienced, I’ve said time and time again, the mental impact of redundancy has been much harder to stomach than the practical aspects that might fuel a parent or homeowner’s worry. I’d like to add, I can’t quite imagine what this time would’ve been like if I had been a parent or a homeowner and for that I’m weirdly grateful.

Despite my gratitude, it doesn’t eliminate my low-mood. I am now, wondering what’s wrong with me? Why me? Why am I being rejected as opposed to being offered jobs? I went through the toxic positivity stage, saying rejection is redirection but the reality is, I’m on a one way that’s at a dead end and I’m burnt. I’m burnt from three stage interviews, I’m burnt from the emotional rollercoaster that you go through, and I’m burnt from LinkedIn.

The role of a recruiter

I’ve had lots of chats with family members who have been stumbled by the number of ‘recruiters’ I have had called me. I say, oh it’s a recruiter from X and they ask ‘what’s a recruiter then?’ For those of you, who haven’t had any contact with a recruiter, they are a member of staff who handles the hiring process. They are usually an external parter who receive a hefty ounce of commission if you get the job offer. The recruiter works with you to prepare you for the interview and can discuss salary expectations on your behalf with the employer. Think of them as your fairy godmother in the recruitment space.

I’ve been speaking to lots of recruiters who have given me a glimpse into the market, the market is tough. Lots of redundancies were made during the first lockdown in 2020, but the companies that made those cuts were the same companies who went back to recruit shortly after. This meant, lots of candidates were offered positions slightly more senior to their skill set. Fast forward to 2023, lots of redundancies were made but the market didn’t bounce back. Subsequently, the job pool has been flooded with competitive candidates; if you multiply this with a need to follow a process before hiring internally and divide it by a constant change in what companies want in their hire it makes for a tough market to drop yourself into. You constantly go through the motions, and with lots of jobs becoming gold mines, candidates are being expected to undertake a three stage interview. First stage, a chat between you and the hiring manager, a task and in some cases that task can dictate you reaching the final stage. It feels like X Factor 2008, the difference is I’m not going through to bootcamp to see Danni Minogue. It’s overwhelming to say the least so, my broad experience has been clouded by someone who might have a smidge more in a particular area. Does that change my emotions knowing this information? Sadly, no. It doesn’t because when you receive the call or the email you still can’t help but wonder what you haven’t got.

It feels like grief

In the early days of my break up, I was told that I was grieving. I was grieving the life I thought I could have, I was grieving the person I loved and I was grieving over the breakdown of the relationship. In an episode of 8 Simple Rules, the late John Ritter feels left out of his social scene because he has gone from writing sports features to the newspaper columnist. In the episode his wife, explains that when she left nursing to have children she grieved her nursing career. And I resonated with this. Over the last six months I’ve grieved the social scene, the job and the career I had. I felt the emotions far more suffocating than during my break up. You can’t help but feel, what if? I took to the mental health channels to find the stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I’m still trying to work out where i am in the stages of grief. Remember, however, it’s OK to take the time you need. I’ve been frustrated when someone has said ‘oh you should be over that by now, it’s been six months’. These life changes impact us all differently, for me, it’ll take as long as it needs and I’m OK with that as hard as it might feel.

It feels personal

I’ve had friends and family go through redundancy and all of them have shared the same emotion that I have. For me, the redundancy hit my weak spot. It hit the inner critic and the person who doesn’t feel good enough for anything. I compare it to a bout of flu I had last month, the virus went straight to my neuropathy before the congestion and aches started. It feels personal, not because it’s true. Our feelings aren’t facts, so this notion that it’s personal come from our inner gremlin.

 

If you’ve experienced redundancy, i’d love to hear how you found the experience. Pop them in the comments or email me!

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  • Oh Evan. How I can relate to your words. I had a fantastic ,well paid position doing a job I loved. I worked for the company for 20 years.
    In 1999, my husband left me and the children and moved abroad. I found out he was going just two days before he left. 4 months later I was made redundant. The overwhelming grief was horrendous. I suddenly understood the meaning of the word “ redundant “. I wasn’t needed. Clearly my husband didn’t need me either and my grief was compounded by the children flying off to the Turks and Caicos islands to spend the summer with their dad. I questioned whether or not my children needed me. Was I redundant as a wife, a mother and an employee ? I dreaded the millennium and what it meant for me. It was all so incredibly painful.
    The good news is that I got through it. Friends, a lot of partying and a fair amount of therapy helped. You know me as I am today. Gloria Gaynor’s anthem is perfect.