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Redundancy - a Catalyst For Positive Change?


The news that 11,000 jobs are at risk due to the retail giant BHS entering administration certainly makes one think of those potentially facing redundancy.  Of course, this follows news in recent months of a plethora of UK employers restructuring with tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

Whilst redundancy brings many pressures for an individual and I would not play these down, I am of the view that it can also be a catalyst for positive change and bring a sense of career empowerment.  This is a view I have formed during the course of my career working in and around recruitment and HR.  I have witnessed people get the job they always wanted but only after being forced to leave the one they hate.

A few decades ago, being made redundant definitely carried a stigma.  It was something that you probably attempted to “disguise” on your CV, hiding the truth about why you left a certain job.  I grew up in a close knit community in the days of a “job for life” and those (usually men) folk that lost their jobs were regarded with a kind of Darwinian aloofness - only the fittest survive.

First of all, let’s remove the stigma.  These days, redundancy is a fact of life.  Show me the CV of someone who has been working for more than ten years and there will be at least one role in there that was made redundant.  It’s happened to me and if it hasn't happened to you, it probably will.

Also, companies no longer necessarily look for long tenure in roles on a CV.  This will become even more the case, because newer entrants to the job market do not have the same attitude to employment.  There is much more fluidity and confidence to move from role to role and from company to company, building experience and finding your niche.  Or setting up on your own.

15 years ago I found myself in a well paid executive remuneration consulting position which was odd as I had no interest in, and found no joy in, making rich executives richer.  However, I was doing quite well and was earning a good salary.  So far so boring.  Then I was made redundant.  What happened next set the direction of my career.  I approached the head-hunter who had placed me in that last role and ended up working for her; and loving it.  If I hadn’t been made redundant, I quite probably would never have discovered my career path and experienced such a fulfilling working life.

I know that lots of people out there work to live and don’t find much enjoyment and engagement in their job.  This is such a shame.  Work is something that can be enjoyed if we’re brave and make those sometimes scary decisions; put ourselves “out there”.  However, when we’re comfortable enough, why would we make a seemingly risky decision to change career path.

Redundancy is already scary and puts you in a position where you can consider all the different and scary alternatives.  Why let that opportunity pass you by?  You might just find the career you were always meant to have.

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