When announcements of redundancies are reported in the media, it is common to see very emotive and dramatic headlines such as “Jobs axed!” and “Staff cuts!”  Even the word redundancy is negative so it is often an uphill battle for career experts to put a positive spin on this topic.

However, the reality is that although career transition is a challenging and at times, stressful life change, there are opportunities for each and every person who experiences an unexpected career change.

Each one of us has a unique combination of skills, drivers, motivators, values and goals which all shape our career transition and there are some common principles which are representative of all successful transition experiences.   These principles will to help support you when dealing with redundancy:

PRINCIPLE 1)  Roles are redundant, not people

This is not pedantic semantics. This statement speaks to the core of self-worth and the role of language in promoting a positive mindset. When an individual says “I was made redundant” I always correct this with “Your role was made redundant”.  Remember, while the role may no longer exist, you definitely do!  Clear and unapologetic correction here also objectively reinforces the separation between the past reality [your previous role] and the future state [your new career].

PRINCIPLE 2)  You are not alone

Your comrades in the redundancy experience are counted in the millions in Australia alone, so in this regard you’re not unique.  Think of all of the people in your professional and social network who have experienced the same thing and you’ll start to realise how commonplace it actually is.

Reassuring yourself of this fact will assist you to avoid feelings of rejection and isolation  and on a practical level it means that there are an abundance of people in your network who you can reach out to for  guidance, advice and counsel.

PRINCIPLE 3)  Don’t be a passenger

A reality is that careers evolve as we move from one opportunity to the next. These are usually driven by external factors, rather than by us alone.  Therefore, career transition offers a rare opportunity to stop being a passenger in your career, grab the keys and actively drive the next phase

Your career sweet spot is the alignment of three things. What you are GOOD at; what you LOVE; and the OPPORTUNITIES available. We have more control over these factors than we realise so take some time to:

  • identify your key strengths and assets;
  • reflect on what you love to do the most [this may or may not correlate to your previous role]; and
  • always have your radar on for opportunities that match both of these factors.

Research conducted within our organization highlights that by focusing on your sweet spot, you’ll move to a career that is more advantageous than the previous role [For instance, 58% of ALCHEMY clients have moved to a role with a higher remuneration package than their previous role].

PRINCIPLE 4)  Get advice

Whether you have been allocated a career coach or not, experts are out there to help.  It’s good technique to access a panel of these experts so you can get targeted advice in different aspects of your career transition.

Resume experts will help with this important document, financial planners will assist with the fiscal side of your transition, recruitment consultants will give you access to specific job openings and market intelligence and a good career coach will tie all of this together in a transition plan for you.

PRINCIPLE 5)   Focus on your wellness

Like any life change, career transition is a challenging time that requires all of your resources to make the most of future opportunities.  Key findings from our Wellness@Work study in 2014,   showed that there are six key areas of our lifestyle that we need to focus on in order to be at our best.  These are Nutrition, Activity, Social Connections, Time out, Sleep and Outlets.  Increased focus on these areas will also lead to improved decision making, greater self-esteem and less stress

As a career coach, I see a  substantial difference between clients who focus on their wellness and are ‘firing on all cylinders’ versus those who don’t make good decisions in these areas. The first group make career transitions with poise and confidence having the resilience to bounce back from inevitable setbacks.  In addition, their networking is more relaxed, interviews are more natural and they just look and feel better.  As a result, it is little surprise than these clients  transition faster with superior career outcomes.

Finally, there are a range of feelings and emotions that we all experience, regardless of our gender or personality. These include fear, anger, sadness, loss and anxiety.  All of these reactions are completely normal and by accepting these as natural, you’re in a better position to observe them rather than react to them.

Yes, role redundancy is a challenging time, however by embracing these tips, we know that you are ideally placed to make the most of the opportunities that this presents to you and your career.