Moving forward: personal crisis

You’re expecting a normal day until HR call and you learn that you no longer
have a job.

How do you cope in a crisis like that?

Roll with the punch. Don’t react immediately. Redundancy is a shock so take
time to adjust before negotiating terms. Get advice from any union or
professional association you belong to and don’t feel pressured into agreeing to
anything you’re not sure of. Take time out if you need it and don’t sign
anything while you’re in an emotional state. When you’re ready to negotiate,
don’t just consider money, what else would help? Some companies offer retraining
packages, outplacement consultants, counsellors or financial advisers.

Unburden yourself. It’s pointless pretending nothing has happened. Talk
things through with family and friends and get their support. Try to spread the
emotional load, though, don’t expect one person to shoulder it all. Even when
partners are supportive they can still get upset. Getting together with
colleagues or others in the same situation for a good moan eases the burden and
means you can be more positive at home.

Do things that take you out of yourself to give yourself and those around you
some respite.

Check your finances. First, clarify what happens to any pension you have. If
you have a substantial redundancy payment, get independent financial advice
before investing it. It can feel like you’ve won the lottery if you get a
sizeable payout and people have been known to blow the lot on mad schemes.

Whatever payment you get, see the Benefits Agency immediately. They’ll work
out any benefit entitlements and ensure you get National Insurance credits.
Calculate how much money you’ll have each month, how much you need to spend, and
plan a budget that will keep you going for the long term even if you’ll only
need it for a short while.

Rebuild your confidence. Your self-esteem will be bruised, so be kind to
yourself. Pursue sports and hobbies you enjoy and that make you feel good. Take
your interests seriously and work on them. Find ways to continue using your
skills and talents. If nothing else, consider using them in voluntary work or
community projects rather than letting them lie fallow.

Look at your life. Are you doing what you really want to? If not, this could
be a big turning point ­ your chance to change.

Lynn Williams is a career coach. She is the author of
several career books.

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