The WIT Network

Blog: How to deal with being declared redundant

Dealing with redundancy is complex and emotional, and it doesn‘t discriminate on gender. I‘m writing this blog from my experience because I have been made redundant twice in my career in IT. We work in an industry with a swift pace of change, so it comes with the territory. It‘s no surprise that the redundancy rate in the UK has risen because of the global pandemic.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of people being made redundant in the UK almost doubled between June and August 2020, increasing by 114,000 to reach 227,000, as the shock from the COVID-19 recession rippled through the jobs market.[i] And, it‘s not just here – it‘s a sad reality on a global scale. 

I have learnt a lot from being made redundant.  While my emotional response to the event was the same both times, how I dealt with it changed. It‘s not a nice experience to have a meeting with your line manager during which they invite an HR representative in. You‘re forced to listen to the business justification for why they are putting you at risk. 

That‘s about the time when the emotions start to hit you.

I‘m not ashamed to say I did cry in front of people both times. It‘s hard not to get emotional when you have invested part of yourself in a company.

Feeling sad at losing your job is expected. The Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief tells us why.[i] Knowing the stages and how they relate to job loss is relevant to understanding why you react in a certain way, and this insight will help you transition more smoothly (and quickly).

Stage 1 – Denial

You are hit with the shock of losing your job. You experience fear for the future. This shock and denial will happen straight away while you are still in your first consultation meeting.

Stage 2 – Anger

When the ’why me‘ thoughts start to set in. This is a dangerous stage in which to get stuck. You feel anger towards the people who have the difficult job of going through this process with you. It‘s important to remind yourself that it‘s one of the hardest jobs leaders must do, and it‘s not always their choice. It‘s a business decision and not personal. But it feels personal.

Stage 3 – Bargaining

Guilt is a common feeling at this stage. The toxic ’what if I‘m just not good at my job‘ thought will spiral through your mind. Don‘t listen to what your brain is saying. I can tell you that everyone experiences this, and it‘s called Imposter Syndrome. It‘s hard not to feel like a failure when you lose your job. But you aren‘t a failure; you are a fighter.

Stage 4 – Depression

It‘s essential to recognise that no one is immune to depression, and it can be triggered when things happen that impact your life. It can be a challenge not to get stuck here, but as soon as you move to the next stage, you will be able to focus on having a positive impact on the situation.

Stage 5 – Acceptance

This is the most important stage and one you must work to get to. In this stage, you accept your situation and get ready to make your next move. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile and go get what you want.

I will finish this with three pieces of advice to remember if you ever find yourself in this situation.

1) Don‘t burn your bridges. The network is everything in our industry, and as much as you will be upset and angry, be professional. You never know when an opportunity will present itself because you kept your relationships with people with the company you are exiting.

2) Have empathy. Try to keep in mind that this is not only hard for you but also for your line manager and HR person. It‘s probably one of the hardest jobs to do when you are a leader. If you have career aspirations to go into leadership, it‘s important to remember this.

3) It‘s not the end of the world. It‘s difficult sometimes but try not to get stressed over things you cannot control and focus on what you can control – getting another job. Trust me; you will look back on this in the future and realise it was the best thing for you.

It wasn‘t an easy journey, but this part of my story ends happily. I landed a terrific role Alliances Partner Director, at an amazing company Software AG.

The worst thing that happens to you may be the best thing for you if you don‘t let it get the best of you. – Will Rogers