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Redundancy isn’t a dirty word.


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Who’s been made redundant? I have – twice. 

How did it make you feel? Angry, worried, anxious, confused, deflated, de-motivated? Its hard isn’t it? It can impact your confidence, your ego, your state of mind. Why me? What’s wrong with me? What will people think? Will I get another job? They are all very common reactions. 

Redundancy is disruptive – not only for the person it directly affects but also the teams around you and the people around you at home. 

But what is redundancy wasn’t such a dirty word?

Most of us carry on in our careers, head down, working hard, rarely stopping to think or reflect – is this the right role for me? Am I heading in the right direction? What if redundancy was an opportunity?

Now, let’s talk language, “being made redundant” is something that is “done” to you. Something that is forced upon you, out of your control. But what if we took back control? Sometimes a small push or nudge is all we need to change our lives around – both professionally and personally. What if we grabbed it with both hands?

Change is all around us all the time, whether we like it or not. So why not embrace it?

My two experiences have been very different. The first time I was on maternity leave, I’d just had my 2nd child and the same afternoon I was told over the phone I was at risk (the day after a big bunch of flowers and a teddy bear had arrived from work at my door!) I haemorrhaged and had to go back to the hospital where I stayed for 2 weeks. As you can imagine my career wasn’t my first concern. In hindsight, I probably should have taken legal action but that wasn’t a priority for me at the time, plus I wanted to have the option of working again in that industry. 

On that occasion – the money allowed us to have a wonderful holiday to Disneyland and it opened up the opportunity of whole new career for me – I found a new job within walking distance from my house which enabled me to be a hands-on working parent. I used my transferrable skills to pivot into a new industry and I ended up staying at my new company for 13 years – until the next time I was “made” redundant. 

This time however, I turned it around and made the conscious decision to “take” redundancy. You know the drill – you are encouraged to apply for other roles or opportunities across the organisation. I chose not to. I chose the option to take the money and run for the hills. Run towards new opportunities and new adventures.

I am so thankful for both the opportunities of redundancy. In hindsight, I would have left both companies within months – the first time as my employer was not child friendly or flexible and the second time as I had outgrown my role and wasn’t getting the development and opportunities I wanted.

Redundancy offered me financial stability to set up as an Inclusion Consultant and I am now so happy and fulfilled working with a variety of different organisations in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) as an advisor, trainer and associate. 

So next time you get a call from HR with the news of a reorganisation in your team or company, just think, what opportunities will this offer me? A new career? A change in lifestyle? An exciting move? The opportunities are endless and within your control. So go on, grab it with two hands! 

 

Gill Cooke is an Inclusion Consultant who has worked in media, Television production, IT Project and Programme Management and Human Resources. 

Gill is a mentor with Cajigo App and has founded her own network STEMConnext which is a community supporting under-represented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers.

 

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We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.
We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.