It's been four weeks now since I was made redundant. In that time I've had a chance to reflect on this horrible position that many of us go through. It's not my first redundancy either and probably won't be my last, but there's a number of things I would like to share that may help others get through a similar experience.
Being made redundant from a job is a painful experience to go through, but I think that level of pain relates to the size of the company you are being let go from.
Take for instance my job at a large payroll software and services provider at the start of my career. They were a large company at the time of my redundancy. My role was working on a payroll and personnel product. After nine months though, my development manager moved on to somewhere else and the product was shelved. Fast forward a few months and the company was bought over. I was deemed surplus to requirements by the new parent company and was made redundant.
When I found out I was being made redundant I acted calmly after hearing the news. I realised that even though my line manger was giving me the bad news it wasn't his fault and there was nothing personal about it.When you work in a large company, chances are you are just another cog in the machine. There are multiple levels of management from the decision makers at the top to those at the bottom and it's usually very rare that these two levels will mix on a daily basis.
From the way I see it, It was a decision made by others who either didn't know me or knew very little of me. It wasn't personal, and that's an important perspective to take on it. Lots of people feel anger when they are made redunandant, but at the end of the day it's sometimes just about the numbers.
Now my last two redundancies have been made at smaller companies. In each case there were less than ten employees in each company and each time I was made redundant I was more than just annoyed at the news of being let go. I had spent two and five years at each of the respective companies.
With small companies you end up knowing everyone on really good terms, well I do anyway, and you get to know everyone a lot better than you would have at a large company. In this case it can become boiling pot of emotions you feel when you are told by a colleague that you know really well that you are being let go.
In this case you need to handle things a bit differently. Redundancy in a small company is difficult to deal with.In both cases my redundancy came out of nowhere. I had assumed in each case that the company was performing well to that point. Experience has taught me though that in a small company, day to day duties can hide underlying problems the company is having.
In my first redundancy the company was entertaining prospective buyers for a number of months before myself and others were made redundant. It was kept from staff until the announcement that the company was being bought over. the company buy over was announced on the Friday and I was made redundant on the Monday. Pretty fast moving. I completely resented the company owner and the development manager for not at least giving the staff a heads up on the activity of the company. Looking back I wasted a lot of time in a negative place rather than focusing on moving myself onto another position. I did eventually find a new job, but I've always thought I was pushed into the job move rather than moving on for better reasons.
In my second redundancy I found myself in a better frame of mind after hearing the bad news.After being told that the company was going through financial problems and I was being let go, I simply gathered my things, said my goodbyes and left. Stepping out the office I was surprised by the swiftness of it starting as another day in a small company to not having a job. I learned from the past that dwelling on the negative and blaming others wasn't going to get me anywhere. I simply picked myself up and moved on.
The experience of being made redundant from a small company has taught me to expect bad news at the drop of a hat. Working with a small company with people you know well doesn't necessarily mean that you will be told of any pending bad news on the horizon. And if there is a bad news for the company then you are probably better off being somewhere else.
Also in a small company, you should accept the redundancy for what it is and move on. Regardless of what you think about the company or it's remaining staff, it's not going to have any positive input on your prospects for a new job. Accept the redundancy and move on.
A redundancy from a large company has been easier to manage from my experience. It's largely a decision based on numbers. You get the bad news and then move on. It's no-one's fault.
My last piece of advice is to pay attention to the company you are working for regardless of its size. Watch out for news alerts on the company and pay attention to shifts in company size and locations.
When external office locations are shut down, services or products are removed or other departments are closed down, look towards your own department and question it's viability within the company. Does your department still align with the companies overall objectives?Yes you might just be a line worker and not privvy to what's going on in the board room, but you can observe how the company is performing. With that knowledge, a redundancy will then at least be expected and not a complete surprise.
Redundancy is sadly a part of the career world that many of us will face, but it doesn't mean that it needs to be a largely negative affair. When you get the bad news, close the door on it and move on. I did and I feel a whole lot better for it.