So You’ve Been Made Redundant: Here Are The Many Silver Linings
It’s not exactly news that job security isn’t fantastic these days, especially for Millenials, and getting made redundant at work is more and more common (RIP Channel [V]). As someone who recently got the pat on the back and is being sent out into the wide terrifying savannah of unemployment, I’ve been desperately searching for a silver lining on this cloud.
The good news is that there are multiple silver linings, and they can be pretty exciting:
#1 You’re forced to seize the day
It’s not often that we are presented with a clear choice in our life. There are obviously defining moments along the way – choosing what you study, applying for your first job – but often life feels like a long straight road, and all you can see ahead is more and more road.
Which is why it’s exciting when you suddenly come across a clear fork; a choice that you have no choice but to make. I mean, sure – in the case of a redundancy, the day was kind of seized for you, but you still have options.
Sometimes, stability and inertia mean that we remain in a job that we don’t enjoy, or are bored by. Redundancy means that you have to look elsewhere, and possibly find something that could change your world. Or at least pay more and have a foosball table.
#2 You can challenge yourself
It’s become almost a mantra, the idea that you should do what you love for your job. It’s one of our favourite narratives, the poor shmuck working a soul-sucking office job until one day he wakes up and realises the world is his oyster and becomes an extremely successful erotic sculptor.
As a writer and author, I get the seduction of this idea, as there’s nothing I’d like more than to write books for a living. It’s also pretty much impossible, at least at this point in my life.
Instead, rather than doing what you love, I believe in challenging yourself. Do something that engages you! It might not be the job equivalent of rolling around in a garden of flowers and puppies, but at least you’re not bored.
If you’ve been bored in your job, or treading water in a career you just kind of fell into, then now is the time to pause, to take stock and ask yourself the question ‘if I could be doing anything, what would it be?’ Sometimes that will help. Other times, it will be implausible. Perhaps the better question is; ‘What is something that I’ve wanted to do, but haven’t found the time or resources – or guts – to do yet?’
For me, I will be spending more time on writing books – that’s my goal. My challenge is to create my own business that will support me financially and give me the flexible time that I need to be a writer. It’s an idea I’ve had for a long time, but the timing hasn’t been right. Now? I have time in excess.
#3 Time is on your side
If you’re anything like me, you’ve suffered through the terror of being fired, and needing to find a new job quickly so you don’t starve and lose your house. It’s up there in my top five most stressful experiences, and one of those experiences is being attacked by a snake. That’s how awful it can be.
Which is why a redundancy is such a nice version of being fired. Sure, you no longer have a job, but there’s not the inherent panic. In a lot of cases, you get to stick around for a while as your job winds up. You also get your redundancy package (more on that below), which you can live off for a bit while finding work. Plenty of time to hit Seek.com and update your LinkedIn profile and send desperate messages to all your friends.
#4 CA$H DOLLAR$
This is an obvious point, but it’s fun to think about – you get a redundancy package. I’m aware that it doesn’t really compare to the security of knowing you can feed your seven hungry children into perpetuity, but it is still money. And for someone like me, who was contemplating having to quit my job to pursue my writing anyway, it’s basically free money. You don’t get free money from quitting.
My newly redundant colleagues are using their redundancy money to go travelling. This is a great idea, because it also gives you something to look forward to, other than fear and the uncertainty of the future. Maybe indulging your wanderlust was something you could never really find the time or justify before. No excuses now!
Alternatively, you could buy yourself something nice. I bought myself a website, which isn’t so much nice as necessary. I should take my own advice.
#5 Big ups on the rec front
When you’ve quit a job, or even been fired, it’s often fairly difficult to get a positive endorsement from the company. However, a redundancy is a different. Depending on how evil the company is that’s getting rid of you, there’s quite often a fair amount of guilt for having to let you go, and people are only too keen to write you a letter of recommendation, or even help you find another job using their contacts.
When you’re searching for employment and going through the interview process, a redundancy is a get-out-of-jail-free card as a reason to move on. No explaining necessary. It wasn’t you, it was them.
It’s also possible, depending on your field, that you’ll be headhunted, as people try to snap up all the talent that’s now floating around and up for grabs. That didn’t happen to me, fyi.
Patrick Lenton is a writer and digital marketer. He runs Town Crier, a social media and marketing consultancy for authors.