Faith Wilson is a counsellor with over 10 years' experience helping people work through trauma and grief to improve their lives.
We spoke to her to get some expert tips for dealing with redundancy and job loss.
“Why do we find dealing with redundancy so difficult?”
“The feelings we experience when we’re made redundant are complicated. Firstly, there’s the practical side; how am I going to pay the mortgage and the bills? Secondly for many of us, our jobs are inextricably tied to our sense of identity, and our self-worth. It’s how we define ourselves, and how we judge our success. To have that taken away can leave some people feeling resentful, angry, and isolated. This can be especially difficult for men, who often see themselves as the provider for their family. Having the ability to take care of the people they love unexpectedly taken away can be very difficult indeed.”
“What advice would you give to someone who’s recently been made redundant?”
“The most important piece of advice I would give anyone dealing with redundancy is to sit with your feelings. Acknowledge what’s happened, and if you feel resentful or betrayed, then let yourself feel it. Cry if you need to. When we bottle up our emotions and try to suppress them for the sake of others, it can easily cause feelings of anxiety and depression. After you’ve processed how you’re feeling, take some action. Write down a list of goals and everything you’d like to achieve in the future then write down everything you’d need to do to achieve them.
Taking charge of the situation will help you feel empowered, and think more positively about the future. I’d also advise people to stick to a routine – wake up at your usual time, and plan to have a productive day. Use the extra time you have to work on projects around the house, or learn a new skill.”
“If someone is struggling with their mental health whilst dealing with redundancy, what should they do?”
“I would say that communication is key. If you’re suffering from what you believe to be anxiety or depression, then you’ll need to visit your GP, who will diagnose you. If you simply want someone to talk to who doesn’t know anything about you or your situation, then you could reach out to an organisation like Mind for confidential support. If you have friends and family around you, they’re the people who will be your support network, so make sure you’re talking through your feelings with them. We often feel tempted to hide the way we’re feeling from those closest to us and carry the burden alone, but this really isn’t healthy. Lastly, if you know anyone else’s who’s been through the redundancy process, reach out to them. They’ll know exactly what you’re going through, and might be able to help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Something that the vast majority of my clients find helpful is meditation. If you’ve never tried it, I strongly suggest you give it a go, as it’s been proven to lower stress and anxiety levels.”
What advice would you give someone who doesn’t know how to move forward?
Going out and socialising is a big one. If you spoke to a particular friend on the phone every Tuesday, keep doing that. This will help you feel some kind of normality, and it will help lift your spirits. If nothing else, your friends will want to support you, and you can be almost certain that they, or someone they know, will have gone through the same thing. Another thing I’d highly recommend is taking our Job Ready short course, it’s absolutely free, and it includes three modules: Dealing with Redundancy, CV Writing, and Interview Skills. The redundancy course will talk you through your rights, how to find out if you’re entitled to any state help, as well as some further tips on dealing with the impact that redundancy has on your mental health. When you’re ready, the other courses will guide you through the tricky process of applying for your next job, right up to the interview.
In the meantime, it’s perfectly understandable that you may wish to simply take some time to yourself, to process what’s happened, and to sit with your thoughts. Don’t feel you need to rush into action or start applying for new positions immediately. Do some things you enjoy, be with your family or friends, and relax.”