Yesterday, for what is now the fourth time in my working life, I was made redundant. It’s a hideous word, when you come to think of it. Redundant; useless, unwanted, superfluous. Whatever word is chosen when you’re shown the door, it tends to sting.
I was briefly annoyed. When I say annoyed what I really mean is, I was pissed off. All the thoughts rolling through my head were so focused on me. I’d worked hard, rarely taken time off, done a job that wasn’t even my own and in which I had no experience. Yet for all that hard work it seemed I was just one too many balloons at the party.
Sitting on the train on the way home my brain kept rolling over the experience. It kept talking to itself while I tried to read.
“What am I going to do now?”
“How am I going to support myself?”
“At 43 it’s going to be even harder to get a job than it was the last time?”
None of those lovely thoughts were particularly helpful. They were also distracting me from the book I was reading. So I shut my Kindle App and went to wander about Twitter. After all, there’s always someone looking for a twitter argument.
What I found was a Twitter friend of mine who had picked up on a hastily deleted tweet. We chatted for a while and the mood I was in lifted. It’s not like I had a job, but I was healthy, I was in a much better place than I had been the last time when I was being strangled by depression and couldn’t get out of bed. I’d been writing full time for 13 months.
Within minutes I realised the future is mine to control. I had plans for annual leave that were only a few weeks away from happening. Why not take that leave now? The lead up to Christmas is a dismal time to be looking for work (no better to be made redundant) and with all the Universities graduating and the HSC exams over the employment market is about to be flooded with young people looking for work.
It’s easy to dismiss the good for the bad. It’s certainly been my way of operating over the past few years. It’s easy to forget the changes, the increased skills and freak out about bills and the upcoming gift giving season I won’t be able to afford. But none of that is useful.
Full time employment is disappearing at an alarming rate in Australia. Part time employees and the army of under-employed are becoming the norm. If you believed the statistics you’d never get out of bed.
I’ve got no idea what my next step will be. Will I go back to producing conferences? Will I find a writing gig? Will I start my own business? At the moment it’s all up in the air. Nothing is certain and nothing is stable.
What is certain is I’m still alive, I still have my brain, I still have my skills. While they may have been deemed as superfluous, or redundant, in my last company there will be somewhere that finds a use for them, even if I have to start my own business to do so.
Being made redundant is a slap in the face but for those who are also experiencing it, or will be, I just want to say it’s not the end of the road.
I also want to tell you to put your trust where it counts the most. In yourself. Don’t allow the decisions of a business determine your self-worth. Take the time to relax, to reinvigorate yourself. Do a course, if you can, and spend a bit of time figuring out your next step.
As for me, well I don’t yet know what it will be. Part of me keeps rolling across to starting my own business. Inspiring me to take the skills I’ve learned as a Conference Producer, Senior Manager, Marketer and Content/Copy writer and see what I can build for myself. Another part suggests that today I spend the time watching TV and doing a spot of knitting.
In closing I want to remind you that being made redundant – particularly given today’s rather crappy economic climate – is not a bad thing. And it’s not a personal thing. It’s just a thing. It happens. Dust yourself off, spend a bit of time enjoying the freedom that comes with not having to get up at 5am every day, and when you’re ready get moving again.
Redundancy is as much a curse as it is a blessing. And remember, job hunting is a full time job. It’s up to you to make the most of your skills and experience. Silver linings, doors opening and closing, you know all the cliches. Get out there and find what makes you happy and do it.