When announcements of redundancies are reported in the media, it is common to see very emotive and dramatic headlines such as “Jobs axed!” and “Staff cuts!” Even the word redundancy is negative so it’s an uphill battle for career experts to put a positive spin on this topic.
However, the reality is that although career transition is a challenging and at times, stressful life event, there are opportunities for each and every person who experiences an unexpected career change. Each one of us has a unique combination of skills, drivers, motivators, values and goals which all shape our career transition and there are a set of common principles which are representative of all successful transition experiences.
These principles will help support anyone who may be dealing with redundancy:
PRINCIPLE 1) ROLES ARE REDUNDANT, NOT PEOPLE
This is not pedantic semantics. This is the legal reality and it reinforces the role of language in promoting a positive mindset. When an individual says “I was made redundant” I always correct this with “Your role was made redundant”. Remember, while the role may no longer exist, you definitely do! Clear and unapologetic correction here also objectively clarifies the separation between the past [your previous role] and the future state [your new career].
PRINCIPLE 2) YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Your comrades in the redundancy experience are counted in the millions in Australia alone so in this regard you’re not unique. Think of all of the people in your professional and social network who have experienced the same thing and you’ll start to realise how commonplace it actually is. Normalising transition helps us to avoid feelings of rejection and isolation. On a practical level, it means that there are an abundance of people in your network who you can reach out to for guidance, advice and counsel.
PRINCIPLE 3) DON’T BE A PASSENGER
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Careers often evolve as we move from one opportunity to the next. This is usually driven by external factors, rather than by ourselves. Therefore, career transition offers a rare opportunity to stop being a passenger in your career, grab the keys and actively drive the next phase. Your career sweet spot is the alignment of three factors. What you are GOOD at; what you LOVE; and the OPPORTUNITIES available.
We have more control over these factors than we realise so take the time to some time to: Identify your key strengths and assets; Reflect on what you love to do the most; and Have your radar on for opportunities that match both of these factors.
Our own research shows that by focusing on your sweet spot, you’ll move to a career that is more advantageous than the previous role. Over the past 5 years, 70% of ALCHEMY career transition clients have chosen to make a change in their career [i.e. a change in role type or industry] and 51% of these clients have moved to a higher remuneration package.
PRINCIPLE 4) GET ADVICE
Experts are available to help. It’s good technique to access a panel of these experts so you can get targeted advice in different aspects of your career transition. Resume experts will help with this important document, financial planners will assist with the fiscal side of your transition, recruitment consultants will give you access to specific job openings and market intelligence. A good career coach will tie all of this together in a transition plan for you and keep you’re on track.
PRINCIPLE 5) FOCUS ON YOUR WELLNESS
Like any life change, career transition is a challenging time that requires all of your resources to make the most of future opportunities. Key findings from our Wellness@Work® study in 2014 showed that there are six key areas of our lifestyle that we need to focus on in order to be at our best. We call them the 6 cylinders of wellness and they are Nutrition, Activity, Social Connections, Time out, Sleep and Outlets.
A better wellness profile facilitates improved decision making, greater self-esteem and resilience to stress. We have prepared a guide and scorecard for you to complete at http://www.alchemycm.com.au/wellness. As a career coach, I see the impact that wellness decisions have on career development.
Networking is confident, interviews are relaxed, setbacks are met with resilience and overall, superior career outcomes are achieved with poise. Yes, role redundancy is a challenging time, however it’s a career event that nearly everyone experiences and by embracing these principles, we know that you are ideally placed to make the most of the opportunities that this presents for you and your career.
Christopher Paterson is the managing director of ALCHEMY Career Management, a firm of coaches and business psychologists who support individuals and organisations with career transition, executive coaching, Wellness@Work™ and change management programs. For more information, visit http://www.alchemycm.com