Learning that you are no longer required by your employer is devastating. No matter what stage of your career you are at, or how long you’ve worked for your company.
This is something that can happen at any time and can be down to a multitude of reasons.
What is different about being made in the era of Coronavirus, relative to other times? Competition. The numbers of people in the same situation is vast and sadly, the number will likely increase.
This makes it important that you come to terms with the reality of the situation as quickly as possible and get yourself ready for the battle ahead.
1. Understand your emotions and give yourself some time
In psychiatry there is a famous behavioural model known as the Kübler-Ross Model. You may know it as the Five Stages of Grief. It was originally postulated as an explanation of the emotional cycle experienced by people in near-death circumstances. Over time however, it has been shown to be observable across a whole variety of traumatic (and even not-so-traumatic) life events. Including, of course, redundancy.
Your feeling after you get the news will be reflected in the Five Stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Though it is worth noting, you may not experience all, and they may not follow in any particular order. You may jump straight to anger or depression for example.
The important thing here is to recognise your emotional response, and importantly do the things you can to get yourself into a state of acceptance as soon as possible. This is the stage where you can let go of retrospection and negative emotions and where you can start to make productive strides towards your future.
2. Use your time wisely
Imagine you were told that in three months’ time your house will collapse. Rotten news. But compare it to this: your house collapses today, unexpectedly. Neither scenario is good, but if it’s one or the other, which would you choose?
The whole point of notice is to afford you the time to get your affairs in order and to give you a better chance of managing the transition. In employment, this is mandatory foresight. You don’t get it in any other area of your life. Use it wisely.
Absolutely give yourself the time you need to get into the right frame of mind to go again. But don’t dwell for too long. The sooner you are taking measurable steps towards your future, and seeing positive feedback from those efforts, the more in control you will feel and the happier you will be.
3. Set your course
There is a tendency to immediately start applying to every relevant (and even not—so-relevant) role that comes up in this situation.
This is completely understandable. Particularly when resources demand a quick resolution.
But where possible, it is important to properly map out where you want to go next. One of the positives of being in this position is that you have some time to really evaluate where you are and where you want to go.
What kind of businesses do you admire? What do you love at work? What do you hate?
Ask yourself as many questions as you can to discover the kind of opportunities that you should be focusing on in your search. Doing so will make you search more focused and will give you greater control over the outcomes.
The career map you create at this stage can serve you well for the rest of your career.
4. Commit to your course
This is related to the last point, but it is important to emphasise. Once you have set your direction of travel, it is important that you commit fully to it. There’s no point in knowing where you want to go if you are not prepared to take the necessary steps to get there.
It is easy to fall back into the rut of living on the job boards and hoping something interesting comes up. But this puts your fate in the hands of external forces.
It is much harder to forge a path towards your desired outcome and to open up opportunities for yourself.
Don’t take the easy route. In the long run, it’s much more difficult than it appears.
5. Take action
Now you know where you are going, and you’re committed to doing what it takes to get there, it’s time to start taking action.
Make sure you are findable, to maximise the chances of opportunities coming to you. Register with trusted recruiters and headhunters. Set automations to receive notification when relevant roles are posted. Re-activate your network (it is bigger than you think!). Identify the people you need to speak with to get ahead. Get involved in the conversation. Help others where you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Approach. Follow-up. Follow-up again. Don’t stop.