So, what’s next?

Disclaimer: Following this post I have since been able to retain my job for the foreseeable future.

Typically in my posts I’m a relatively positive person. I like to think that with the right mindset and the right actions things work out for the best and I absolutely still believe that’s true but sometimes you need to keep it real.

Last week I was told I was being let go from my job (fuck you Covid-19!) And the truth is that unless you are on the verge of retiring, won big in lotto, or you happen to be receiving a big payout, the reality is redundancy hurts.

This entire process has been harder I think because part of the human condition is to wrestle with this beautiful, fragile dance between our ego and our internal sense of self-worth. So intricate is the web that tells us we need to be externally validated to feel of use, to feel worthy, capable and confident, that even such a thing as losing our job is enough for it to fall apart. Because you are not just losing your job. You are losing your role in society, your ability to contribute meaningfully and your purpose day-to-day.

It bloody sucks.

One thing I do feel strongly about is the fact that we need to talk about it more which is where your support network comes into play. Those who are going through similar situations in New Zealand and around the world right now need to know:

    1. It’s not related to performance.
    2. It’s not a result of something you did.
    3. It’s no-one’s fault and it’s certainly not because you are not good enough.

Redundancy just means your position no longer exists in the organisation. It’s simply a by-product of today’s messed up environment where restructure is a continual part of businesses staying afloat. It’s important to ditch any feelings of shame or blame. Easier said than done though, I know.

The biggest concern I have personally is the looming potential that I might have to rely on others financially because I don’t have any financial security at this time. I don’t have a crystal ball telling me it will all be ok. Sure, people tell me it will all be ok, but the reality is – it might not be. And that’s a really scary thing to be faced with. Staring into the unknown.

Then come the tsunami of unwarranted comments:

“Woah just heard about your job! What are you going to do now??” I thought the answer to this question would be rather obvious – particularly considering I wasn’t the only one in my industry going through this and we are in the middle of a pandemic – Not. A. Bloody. Lot. Thanks.

Yet they continue to roll in. “So what’s next for you?” “Have anything lined up?” “Well it was to be expected wasn’t it.” In the wake of being made redundant my inbox has seen it all – the complete breadth of human emotions and sensitivities.

But sadly, with New Zealand’s unemployment rate on the rise, and more and more Kiwis finding themselves on the wrong end of a Zoom and Doom call, I know my situation is not unique – aside from the giant bottle of wine in my hands. So what would you say to a friend, family member or colleague that has lost their job?

Think, then speak.
Please don’t ask them what they’re going to do. I can assure you that as your brain tries to come to grips with what has happened, it’s that very question that continues to roll around in your head – sometimes rather loudly and hysterically. It’s that very question that keeps you up at night and gives you some killer anxiety. Don’t add to the noise, please.

It pays to let them know about their abilities and strengths and how someone is just waiting to snap them up, just try not to put too much pressure on them. “I can’t wait to see what you do next!” is a lovely endearment, but it can also feel like a lot of pressure when you’re feeling a bit out of control about your future at the mo.

And please, don’t use this time to unload on the person who has just lost their job about how hard you are working right now, how little you’re actually having to work right now, how easy your job is or how shitty your job is. Talk to your other friends about that one for a while…

But you are right – this could be the beginning of something great. While devastating, this could lead me to finding my passion. A job so much more fulfilling now then what it has been.

So for now, all I can say is be kind on yourself and others who are just trying to help. Focus on the positives and work on each day as it comes until more is certain and then when you are ready – make a plan. Wine also helps.

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