How to be positive about redundancy

Alan Jerram deals with a recent setback in the best manner possible.

At the end of January 2018, I was one of the many individuals that experienced that horror of horrors in business. You know there’s been a decree by the CEO and you enter a room with HR present.

Redundancy is never an easy process to go through, and I can certainly say that from experience. I have been made redundant, survived redundancy, delivered redundancy notices and even made the decisions.

As an L&D professional, I have often delivered the change curve in many of its guises, all of which I can wholeheartedly say I have experienced, and yet over time, mine has flattened out and the speed of movement through has increased.

I cycled to work every day so that afternoon I had a strange, yet rather enjoyable ride home…the lack of cars on the road at three in the afternoon really helped! I got home, my partner and I had a quick chat and I immediately moved onto I guess what would be ‘moving forward’ on the change curve.

My first task was to get onto LinkedIn and connect with my network. A very brief note to them just touching on the above was enough for me. I didn’t want to dwell on being negative about anything, it was time to get moving.

The day after the notice, I was luckily already down to attend LT2018 at Olympia. My focus shifted from absorbing as much learning to simple networking. I had a few things arranged already, met some great new contacts and spent the day catching up with LinkedIn as well.

Despite what happened, we had grown a lot closer and that says a lot more about us as individuals.

I was shocked to see that my original post had around 20,000 views and it was increasing all the time, along with posts from local businesses wishing us all the best and some great feedback from those I had worked with. The power of social media then really hit me.

Ten days on from the news, four of my colleagues that were affected popped round for a coffee. We reflected on our individual journeys, gave each other some great feedback and generally shared a lot.

90 minutes in and we’d probably spent more time talking to each other than we had when we were in work, we got to know each other a lot more, and were able to celebrate how things have moved on in just over a week. Despite what happened, we had grown a lot closer and that says a lot more about us as individuals.

The following few weeks were interesting with my network increasing, the initial LinkedIn post hitting 68,000 views and subsequent posts gaining lots of views, likes and comments.

I was overwhelmed by the response from those that I knew very well, those that I have only briefly spoken to and particularly from those that I had never spoken to before, but that were somehow touched or moved by my words.

A huge amount of support was provided to me, but the best thing for me was being able to share this with those that had been made redundant with me, and subsequently from other retailers across the UK.

We proactively shared jobs, drove to prospective interviews together and had lots of teas/coffees (and shared a great WhatsApp group called ‘The Grass Is Greener’!). From an initial feeling of loneliness, we supported each other through the process – thankfully most of them have moved into new roles or are going out as associates…doing what they want to do, including myself!

Lessons on redundancy

Over the past six weeks, I’d had many conversations with recruiters and agencies, applied for numerous roles, had a few interviews and played with my CV a few times, tweaking and adjusting it to fit the real, creative, me.

I had also happily grown closer to a few of my colleagues who were also affected by the news. We have shared tears & hugs, coffee & tea, lots of advice, as well jobs that we could easily have kept to ourselves.

Between us, we experienced the true meaning of friendship and support. We also found time to provide help and support for the rest of our team who survived the redundancies…we may have gone, but they weren’t forgotten.

And as each of our group has made their choices about the future, we’re still supporting and applauding…whether securing a role with another company or branching out on their own.

For me…there have been a few lessons to add to my list of redundancy experiences:

  1. Don’t face it alone. Use your network to help you through…make time for others & yourself
  2. Make sure your CV stands out from the crowd – be honest but be proud of your achievements
  3. Choose your market how YOU want – some say limit your exposure to agencies, some don’t – it’s all about your choice
  4. Don’t just jump at the first thing – unless it’s right for you
  5. Keep yourself busy – do have a lie-in here and there but try to maintain a normal schedule…get up and do stuff, develop yourself…you don’t have to watch Jeremy Kyle.
  6. Bouncebackability (or resilience) – this will be tested on your journey. The opportunity you want maybe turns out not to be – allow yourself a brief amount of mourning time, pick yourself up, dust yourself down and move onto the next challenge.

After all that, I was over the moon when I was offered the right role for myself and my family. But that doesn’t mean we stop supporting each other. Having built my network, I am continuing to update on my journey, but also help those that need it – that’s what having a network is all about for me.

As a cowboy at heart, I’ll leave you with a quick Kacey Musgraves lyric….’Follow YOUR Arrow, wherever it points’.

More on my LinkedIn journey can be found on my profile here.


​About the author

Alan Jerram is now academy training designer at Southern Co-Op. Congrats Alan!


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