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My Career Crossroads

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People have very different reactions to news that they have just lost their job. For some it’s a reason to celebrate, particularly if plans have already been made or there is a sizeable severance payout as part of the redundancy package.

For others, job loss creates a host of negative feelings ranging from anger to depression. A very common reaction for many is to feel a loss of self-confidence. This is often experienced by men more than women because men are more likely to measure their level of personal success by the job or career they have.

It is not unusual to hear stories of people who choose not to tell anyone, including friends and family, of the redundancy. They then continue to go about their daily routine as if nothing has changed. The only difference is that instead of going to work, the person spends time idling the day away and alone in a shopping mall or library.

Job loss has the potential to turn your world, as you know it, upside down. Experiencing low levels of confidence is a very normal and natural response.



  • Don’t take the job loss personally. This is often easier said than done! Redundancy is a very common event and seldom has anything to do with the person, their attitude or levels of work performance. It is a business decision that has been made by your employer for commercial reasons.

  • Continually remind yourself that it’s the job that has been made redundant, not you! A job or position may be made redundant because the role, for whatever reason, is no longer required by the employer. A person, however, can never be made redundant. You continue to own your values, your skills and your experience that you will eventually take to another employer – no one or nothing can take that away from you. When you speak to others of the redundancy, get into the habit of saying “My role / job was made redundant” rather than “I was made redundant”.

  • Seek the support of others – pretending to go to work rather than facing up to the steps that you need to take to move forward will only worsen the negativity and confidence levels.

  • If your employer has given you the opportunity to receive outplacement or career transition assistance, then take it. It will cost you nothing and yet can make a huge difference to your job search success. The Outplacement Consultant that you work with will not only provide you with practical job search assistance but will also help you manage the emotional roller coaster ride that you find yourself on.

  • Take time out to think about where to next. Use non-working days to really think about and plan your next steps. If you were unhappy in your previous role, think about the reasons for that and make sure that you don’t just jump into another job to replace the security you have lost. Take stock of your life, work out what is important and what isn’t. Job loss has given you the opportunity to sit back, reflect and make informed decisions about your future.

  • Work out just how long you can be without a job before you start to face financial pressure. For some people, especially those who have received a severance package, this ‘safe time’ can be measured by months or even years. It is not always necessary to replace the job as quickly as you think it may be.

  • Learn to handle those well meaning folk who will offer you loads of sympathy and will continually ask if you ‘have found another job yet’. Whether you believe it or not, say that you are enjoying the opportunity to take some time out to think about what you really want to do before you look for the next job and that you really are in no hurry.

  • Spend time each day doing something that you really enjoy. Further develop an interest or pastime, take a training course that you have never had time for before. Do things that you have always wanted to do but just never got around to. Don’t spend each and every day doing nothing much at all. Make each day count!

  • Active job search, if it’s done well, it can take 3-4 hours a day. Contact people who may be of use to you in your job search, arrange and hold network meetings, contact recruitment consultants, check out job sites on the internet, search the advertised vacancies, apply for jobs, write cover letters, prepare for and attend interviews.

  • Take time to deal with any emotional reactions to redundancy – if you feel angry, aggrieved, upset, depressed or desperate, no matter how hard you try, these emotions will come through as you progress your job search and especially if you attend interviews.

  • If you have a history of medical conditions brought about by stress or you are having trouble sleeping at night, have a medical check - up. Talk to your GP about the stress you are under right now. If you are finding it hard to deal with any negative emotions, you might want to think about seeking some counseling advice. Your GP is likely to be able to refer you to someone who can help.

  • Take control of the situation rather than falling into ‘victim mentality’. Redundancy often feels as is the control has been taken away. Think about those things that you CAN control. Choose how you will spend your time productively and plan you action steps.