No matter what stage in your career, redundancy is always a potential threat. Sadly, following the on-going effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us now face this reality. It’s easy to see this as doom-and-gloom, but I’ve rounded up everything you need to know if you’ve just lost your job to remind you that this could be the best thing that ever happened in your career.
It’s easy to begin to panic when you’ve lost your job (and quite rightly so) but don’t. Panicking is only going to make the situation harder to deal with. Take five, compartmentalise the situation and above all, process the news in a calm way. You’ll be able to deal with the next steps more coherently.
Work out exactly what it is you want going forward. Do you want a new job in the same sector? A promotion? Do you want a new start altogether? Come up with a strategy for your perfect outcome and start to plan the steps to achieving that goal.
A lot of people will have opinions about the best course of action for you to take. Don’t take on too many opinions, focus on you and what you want. Whether that be parents, friends, ex-colleagues, even peers that have been in your situation; only you know what will work for you and what you need next.
KNOW YOUR WORTH
Knowing your worth in respect of yourself and your legal options is the first place to start when you’ve just lost your job. Just because you’ve been made redundant, doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to safety nets. From payout packages to notice periods to applying for new jobs during the process, the Acas website has all the legal information you need. Employees have a lot more rights than you might think, so it’s important to educate yourself on entitlements before anything else.
If you’re eligible for any financial support, the government website outlines all your options and how to apply. Over 18 and have less than £16K in savings? Then you are allowed to apply for universal credit to help you with paying the rent, bills and general upkeep of life. You’ve paid your taxes, so you’re entitled to this money; claim it back.
A BLESSING IN DISGUISE
Naturally, we see being made redundant as a loss, but that isn’t always the case. Flip the situation on its head and begin to see this as an opportunity. Ask yourself whether you were truly happy in your current position or whether you were wishing for a new job without being proactive about it. Sometimes, situations like these come and give you a well needed motivational kick and often turn out to be the best thing that could happen to you and your career. Being jobless means you’re now in control of your destiny. Want more money? Go ask for it. After a better job? Go forth and apply. Fancy a new career in fashion altogether? This is your moment.
Besides being a blessing in disguise in terms of career progression, losing your job will make you resilient. Going through one of the toughest things in your life will enable you to develop thicker skin both in your personal and professional life.
BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOU
Wake up in the mornings and think to yourself ‘what would the best version of me do today?’. Act on that. If you want to sit and apply for every job in your sector under the sun, then be productive. Equally, if you just want to take the day to relax and embark on a Netflix marathon, do that too.
Work on your portfolio, your CV and Linkedin with passion and professionalism to make you not only feel great, but super-employable. For certain roles, such as a designer, some companies may even let you retain your laptop to work on your portfolio to help you land back on your feet. That being said, don’t burn bridges with your colleagues. Yes, you may be angry at the situation, but it’s your job that’s been made redundant not you as a person. Keep in touch with peers because you never know what opportunity might present itself again. If you feel uncomfortable speaking with workmates or your boss when it comes to leaving, you’re well within your rights to request things like clearing out your desk at a more convenient time for you. Continue to hold your head up high and act with grace.
MAINTAIN YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Remember, losing your job isn’t personal. Especially in the climate of today, fashion jobs can be more unstable than a 6-inch stiletto heel. Even the most lucrative companies can suffer sudden losses meaning they have to reduce their workforce. Your job does not define you and neither does your redundancy. Take a moment to appreciate everything you achieved in your job role and not the amount of emails you left unread. Losing your job isn’t anything to be ashamed of.
Where possible, try to take some time out from the 9-5 routine to reset yourself. Whether you take a few weeks or dedicate 1 day a week to me-time, make sure you don’t bombard yourself with pressure to find a new job. Relaxing and resting your mind will help to maintain your mental health, which ultimately will enable you to approach the job search with a clearer focus. It’s easy to let redundancy consume your mindset, but practice saying positive thoughts, spending time with loved ones and doing the hobbies that bring you joy. If you still feel like it’s seriously affecting your mental health and day-to-day living, know that there are resources out there that can offer a helping hand. Speak to the people at the charity, Mind, seek advice from Citizens Advice Bureau and remember that Samaritans are on hand 24/7.
SEEK OUT SUPPORT & RESOURCES
Job searching can be a lengthy process with applications and interviews lasting for months. In the meantime, pursue some activities that could benefit you in the long run. There are many websites that offer free courses in a myriad of fields, so whether you’re looking to fine-tune your writing skills, develop a keener knowledge in digital marketing or learn more about fashion sustainability, dedicate some time to an online course. Future Learn, Google and Linkedin have some of the best free online courses around.
Additionally, head to websites like Money Saving Expert to help save money, streamline your debits and still live your best life on a budget.
It’s worth remembering that at the end of the day, you are so much more than sending emails, steaming clothes and running to meetings. Sure, your career is a massive part of your life, but your overall happiness comes first. Reflect on your decisions and desires in this period. It’s a cliche, but everything happens for a reason, and this may well be the greatest thing to happen to you yet. Stay strong, you’ve got this.
Words by Rebecca Boffey