Redundancy recovery: how to get back on track

Future
praetorianphoto / iStock
Lisa Gray
Scotcareers
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Redundancy is something many of us will have to deal with during our careers, and it's never a nice experience when it does happen - no surprises there. 

But what may raise a few eyebrows is just how many people would choose to keep news of their redundancy to themselves.

Almost half of those who responded to a new survey of over 1,400 adults in the UK by Scotcareers would only talk about it with people they are close with. And 8% of those surveyed revealed they would actively keep being made redundant a secret from everyone. The reasons for this secrecy? Privacy, embarrassment and not wanting to feel judged were popular responses.

While the desire to shut out the rest of the world when the going gets tough may be understandable, this reluctance to talk about redundancy could result in a lack of understanding of the procedures and your rights during the process.

Keep on top of your health

Losing your job means you probably have a whole bunch of questions playing on a loop in your mind: Why me? How will I cope financially? Will I be able to find a new job?

Anxiety caused by redundancy can have a big impact both physically and emotionally so it's crucial to make sure your health doesn't suffer. Scottish mental health charity Health in Mind, recommend that if your mood is low for more than two weeks, pay a visit to your GP, who will be able to offer support and advice. Social contact is also important, so speak to family and friends about how you're feeling.

Experts agree that exercise is a good way of lifting your mood so why not go for a walk, hit the gym or try a new class, such as a yoga? Having a sense of purpose is important so set goals and make plans.

Know what you're entitled to

Finances are usually the biggest concern after being made redundant. Here's what you need to know:

  • You’ll normally be entitled to statutory redundancy if you have been an employee for a minimum of two years with your current employer.
  • If you meet this criteria, the minimum you will get will be half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22, one week’s full pay for each year you were 22 or older but under the age of 41, one and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older.
  • Your redundancy payment is tax free if it's under £30,000.
  • Make sure you're given written notification of redundancy including the amount offered.
  • Check the terms of your mortgage as payments may be covered for a period if you're made redundant or you may be entitled to take a 'payment break.'
  • Look into whether you are entitled to Housing Benefit which will be a contribution to your rent or mortgage.

If you still need more info, you can get advice from ACAS or Citizens Advice Bureau.

Get back on track

Whether you're looking for a new job or thinking of retraining or a return to education, it's important to remember there is life after redundancy.

If you're planning on throwing yourself straight back into the job hunt, the first step is to polish your CV. If you've been with the same company for several years, chances are it needs updating. Include any promotions or new responsibilities you were given in your previous workplace, whether you've completed a night class, learned a new language or done some voluntary work.

Brush up on your interview skills – research your prospective new employers, anticipate the questions you might be asked and the ones you should be asking, and be prepared for different ways of interviewing, such as Skype calls.

Make sure you're up to speed with what's happening in your industry. Set up email alerts for job vacancies, and if you don’t already have a profile on LinkedIn, now is the time to create one. The networking site is used increasingly by businesses to advertise vacancies and head-hunt new staff.

Network in real life, too. Find out if there are relevant clubs or groups you can join or conferences and seminars related to your sector you can attend.

Considering new skills

If you're planning on switching careers, there are some factors worth considering carefully when thinking about retraining and returning to education.

Do you need to retrain to work in this area? Are there other options available that will help you make the switch, such as volunteering? What value will retraining add to your current skill-set?

It’s important to think about finances when considering embarking on further study so work out which options are best for you. This could be a loan, claiming benefits you could be entitled to or combining a part-time job with part-time or flexible study.

Once you've decided retraining is the right option, you need to decide on the right course. Weigh up the benefits of each course and consider things like location, relevance to your career goals, costs involved, and whether full-time or part-time study is available.

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