Redundancy and Self-Assessment (nothing to do with tax)

Once the period of wallowing is over, redundancy can be really useful period of reflection.

The temptation is to run around in a panic, looking for a role that is essentially the same as those before. Then if that doesn’t work you start to look for anything. Any job that will give you a reason to get up in the morning and help pay the bills. However, a panic driven search is not making the most of this opportunity. It will not get you to where you really want to be, or should be.

I am not belittling the impact of redundancy in any way-I have felt that worry. The financial repercussions can be enormous. You will need to tackle both this and the job hunting/job creating at the same time. Look to make plans, phone calls, ask for help. There is no shame in mortgage holidays, cancelling your children’s music lessons, putting social events on hold. You need to keep a roof above you and food on the table. Most other things can be paused. You must be realistic. There is no shame in saying to your family that some things are going to have to wait. That you won’t be booking a holiday, buying new clothes, going out. I do believe that you can say all this to children in a way that does not cause them undue worry. I recall my feelings that I had let them all down by being selected for redundancy. However, I know now that was not the case. You are not failing in doing any of this. You are in transition that is all. You are not at the end. Make these plans, do all you can and need to do and then you will be able to concentrate on self-assessment.

As I mentioned in my last article, self evaluation can lead you to ideas and places you would not have previously considered. This is the case whether that assessment and evaluation leads to a new job or self-employment. Interpreting and analysing your skills in a very literal way is only scratching the surface. If I am creative does that mean I am musical, a painter, or a writer? Yes, it might. However I can also translate that into other roles. If I am creative can I translate that to gardening, garden design, home design or can I be creative in designing new ways of working for existing roles, inventing new products, creating new business models? All of these are creative but not purely in the artistic sense. I myself am by nature a creative person. I do enjoy artistic pursuits but I do not seek to make a living from them. I spent years drafting legal documents. Are they related? In some ways yes. I become creative with words (within certain parametres). Am I creative right now in writing this? I am becoming more so.

If I enjoy working with others, finding solutions, does this mean I should go into counselling? In the literal sense, yes. H owever there is more to it. Could I be advising other businesses in a particular area? Coaching those seeking development in their personal lives or career paths or could I work within the care services. All of these areas of work can stem from the one realisation that you want to help others and find solutions to problems.

That’s the reason I suggest lists and diagrams. I find it really helpful to set things out in front of me. I might start with things I think I can do, am good at or interested in and see how that might translate into different roles. The creative ones above are just an example of how one attribute might highlight a variety of roles. If you have loved your job then there is nothing wrong with sticking to seek a similar position. But you might also like to focus on the aspects of that role that you enjoyed the most. This might lead you to the same role elsewhere or it might take you to a similar but not same job. Redundancy can so often be a catlyst for change, even if you were not consiously looking for it. This time during lockdown has had the same effect for many people. Many of us spend so much time running from job to home, undertaking various responsibilities and demands on our time. Redundancy can be an opportunity to stop and think and plan. It will not feel like it to begin with but at some point you will see it is.

Did I feel that at the time? Of course not. However, once I realised I was going to struggle in a recession to obtain a role in law that I had thoroughly enjoyed, I had no choice but to look outside my boxed career. When you are essentially at rock bottom you have absolutely nothing to lose. Everything is worth a go. The only caveat I would advise in relation to that statement is to not seek to overcommit yourself in terms of finances. If redundancy is hitting your financial outlook hard, borrowing large amounts of money for a brand new venture should be considered with caution. You may be adding pressure that may not be necessary.

Skills, education, experience and desires are all different and all worth exploring. I put most emphasis on skills and desires. That is because I think those areas give you most freedom and scope for new ideas. Consider also your personal circumstances. Would you ideally like to adjust your working hours, travel time, move to a new area? Can you factor these in? The reality is that these dreams may not be readily achievable right now. However do not dismiss them. You may take time to bring them to a reality-if ever, but acknowledge them.

This is an opportunity-do not forget that. Begin to look at yourself in a different way. List your skills, desires, dreams. When you are busy these will be pushed to the back of your mind so keep them at the front whilst you can.

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