How To Deal With Redundancy

A redundancy – especially when it’s unprecedented – can be an absolutely terrifying prospect. For most of us it doesn’t turn out to be the golden hand shake that we’d all heard. In fact, many of the myths surrounding redundancy were busted in a recent article in The Guardian.

The report revealed that workers are “entitled to a statutory minimum of one week’s notice for every year worked, up to a maximum of 12 weeks, or your contractual notice, whichever is the longer”, and that the “length of employment used to be one of the most common ways of objectively determining who to make redundant. It isn’t any more as it is not generally considered fair (or, indeed, legally safe for employers) when used as the sole selection criteria”.

But, despite the myths and reality tied up in redundancy, it doesn’t always have to be a negative event in your life, it can in fact prove to be the best thing that ever happens to you. Yes, money will be an issue, relationships may get rocky, and there will be times where the outlook seems pretty bleak – but it also forces your hand. Were you truly happy in your job? Contemplating redundancy can be a much-needed push to shake things up, assess your options and move toward a healthier future – both personally and financially. Here’s how to make a fear of unemployment work to your advantage.

Plan it out

Take a step back and make a plan. You don’t have to set anything in stone but having an idea of what to do next and each stage will make you feel more in control and capable. As circumstances change, you can edit and amend – but initially, note down everything you’ll need to consider and deal with. Take each point in turn and think about what action you’ll need to take. Order your list in terms of priority and make it comprehensive so that you don’t get hit with unforeseen issues to stress you further. The National Career Service says to “pick up your P45 and written confirmation of your redundancy payout and package” before you leave work. After that, make contact with your line manager, union rep, HR department and pension fund trustees.

Dream big

Everyone can afford themselves the luxury of dreaming – but a redundancy could potentially galvanize you to make it a reality. Make a big brainstorm of anything and everything you’re interested in or would like to be involved with, however unrealistic you feel it may be. This sort of creative output feeds itself, and as you go on you’ll find ideas emerging that you’d never considered. If nothing else, this exercise should flag up areas of interest – even if you go on to seek another similar role to the one you left, you could potentially find a position a little better tailored to your passions.


Money may well be tight, so ensure you are aware of what you’ll have coming in, what needs to go out, and what you’ll have left. Use a budgeting tool to manage your money. Be ruthless and cut outgoing wherever possible. Clue yourself in to any financial support and benefits you may be eligible for, ensure your utilities and service providers are giving you the best possible deal, and terminate unnecessary contracts. Consider putting your credit cards away and switching to a prepaid card. A prepaid account will allow you the freedoms of a credit card without the danger of falling into debt.

Embrace the change

If you can afford to take a little time out from employment, you might want to consider pursuing a new career by retraining or gaining practical work experience in a brand-new sector. Explore further education and the idea of studying a new subject that you’ll both enjoy and might stand you in good stead when you return to the world of work. Take the chance to travel, perhaps combining trips with working on charity projects or actual paid physical employment – try organisations facilitating teaching in foreign countries or work on farms around the world. All the skills you pick up will stand you in great stead for future employment.

Get moving and shaking

It’s easy to get depressed and down and withdraw from friends and social engagements – but fight the urge. Stay busy and stay positive. Socialising means support – and, in fact, everyone you know is a potential source of information and opportunity. Tell them you’re looking for new pastures and where your interests and expertise lie, and ask them to spread the word.

Increasingly, vacancies aren’t filled through adverts, rather through word of mouth recommendations. Pick up the phone and get in touch with all your old work contacts, set up a LinkedIn profile, and attend networking events. You won’t get work if no-one knows you’re looking.

Matthew Rothenberg of The Ladders told Business Insider that “particularly in the case of job-hunting especially in this extremely competitive market, networking can be the difference between scoring a job and not.” He says the 4 key networking groups are casual contacts, knowledge networks, strong contact networks and online networks.

Job and Career Fairs

Look up local business support organisations, and career workshops and events, where you can seek advice and guidance from experts. There are a plethora of large jobs fairs which are frequently free to register for, and include programmes of talks and workshops. Take the chance to gather as much information as you can and seek advice on getting your CV into the very best shape. You’ll have the chance to improve your interview technique, raise your confidence, and learn to sell yourself. Put it all into practise by talking to the businesses who seek new employees at these events. Even if you’re not interested in a particular company, see every liaison as an opportunity for personal development.

An established personal finance journalist, William Masters reports regularly on topics that range from global economies to managing your daily budget.

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