Career Crossroads Series: PART 1 – Reclaim Your Confidence When Faced With Redundancy

How to feel confident in redundancy

A crisis of confidence often raises its head when we find ourselves at a crossroads.

In a series of Blog posts I’m going to explore different career crossroads and consider ways to navigate your way through confidently. This week I’m looking at redundancy.

Whether you expect it or not, redundancy can be a scary time. 

There’s so many reasons why redundancy feels scary, here’s some I’ve come across in my work coaching clients 

  1. Being out of control. 
  2. Feeling that your security is threatened
  3. Being forced to make a change
  4. Despair! You may feel ‘gutted’
  5. You liked your job, your colleagues, your office, your hours
  6. The change may affect the way you live your life
  7. You aren’t ready
  8. It’s embarrassing and somehow a reflection on you
  9. Resistance. You don’t want to make a change
  10. You don’t believe anyone else will employ you
  11. You’re not sure what value you can bring to a new organisation. 
  12. What if people in your new job don’t like you/respect you/accept you?
  13. You’re used to feeling confident and this has thrown you.
  14. Will you ever be happy again?
  15. You’re just scared, for all of the reasons above and more

It can be overwhelming. When redundancy forces you to make a change it’s normal to either bury your head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening, or, take the first job you can find just to stop the panic. At a time when you need a level head to make some decisions, your confidence plummets and you can’t think straight. 

What’s worse. everyone around you is reassuring you that everything will be ok. “You’ll be fine, don’t worry about it.” “You’ll find something else.” “Think of it as an opportunity”. “It was time you moved on anyway”. They mean well, but these comments do very little for your fear. 

So, how do you reclaim your confidence and navigate your way through with a level head? Here’s some top tips. 

1. Name your fears

It’s OK to be afraid and to be thrust into panic, it’s a normal reaction. However, staying in the fear will cloud your judgement. Take time to name what it is that you’re afraid of. What is it you’re panicking about? Our confidence is often knocked when we’re afraid. 

2. Challenge your fears

How real are your fears? Start with the fear which is most powerful for you and ask yourself , “To what extent is this really true”. Face into the reality and check out what’s real and what’s just a story. We often tell ourselves stories that we’re not good enough when we’ve been knocked off centre. Building our confidence depends upon being clear about what is real and what is just perceived. 

3. Scenario plan

When you’re clear which of your fears are real and which of those are just stories, do some scenario planning. This is often the case with financial security. Take a close look at your situation, how would you manage, say for the next 3-6 months, if you were out of work. I’m not for a moment suggesting this will happen, but this is fear management. You need to put those fears to rest. 

Once you have your scenario plans in place, take a breath and focus on these next steps. 

4 What do you have to offer? 

Take time to consider your skills, experience, strengths and talents. What can you offer to an employer? What makes you a good catch? Try to get specific with some of the core talents you have. Reflect on feedback you’ve received in work. What are you known for? How do people experience you? Focus on building yourself up, recognise where you bring value. 

5. What do you enjoy? 

What brings you energy at work? Think about the sort of environment you like to work in, the kids of people you like to have around you. Consider which of your skills and talents you like to use the most. What is important to you in work? Make a list of all the things that make work enjoyable for you. Reconnect with positivity and this should help you emerge from the fog of fear.

6. If this was your choice how might you be approaching it differently?

So, it’s not your choice to be changing jobs, but if it were, what would you be doing? If you had decided it was time for a change what sort of change would you be looking for. It may sound like a crazy question but the feeling of being out of control can send us into a spin. Asking yourself this question puts your subconscious mind into a state of calm and from here some clear thinking can emerge. So what would you  be doing if you had chosen this change? 

7. What positive things could emerge from this change? 

Hopefully by now you’re building your positivity and starting to feel a little more hopeful and confident. In this state consider what positive things could emerge from this. Be creative! Anything goes. The point of this exercise is to train your brain into thinking about this as an opportunity.

8. What options do you have?

You’ve probably already got a few options in mind so jot those down, but don’t stop. Think outside of the box, be creative. You don’t have to do them, the idea here is creative thinking. Think back to when you were a child, what did you always want to do? Do you hold a secret about “one day I’d love to……..”, what is it that you’d love to do one day. Put everything you can think of down, don’t edit it or omit anything. Give yourself permission to explore. Get excited, even if just for a moment. 

9. Refine and research

So you have a number of options, some wild, some less so. Pick a number of your favourites and do some research. Speak to people who might be able to help you or tell you more about them. Look online. Read around the subject. 

10. Tell EVERYONE (literally EVERYONE)

By now you may have a couple of ideas you’re working with. Now is the time to go and spread the word. Tell EVERYONE you can think of what you’re considering. Put it all over social media. Are there any events you can attend that are related to your options? By spreading the word people will come to you with opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to find by yourself. There is power in networking. Now is not the time to be shy or reserved. Get out there and plaster your hopes and dreams for the next phase of your career wherever you can find it.

11. Don’t sell your soul

You may feel pressure to take the first thing that lands in your lap, and only you will know your personal situation well enough to know if that’s what you really need to do. If you can afford to take the time to find the right opportunity then I encourage you to take it. When you can look back on being made redundant as a positive experience you will move forward feeling energised and secure. If you look back on this and see it as the time when you left a job you loved through no fault of your own and now you’re ‘stuck’ in a job you hate, you’re going to be miserable. It will do nothing for your self esteem and confidence. Don’t sell your soul. You have more to give than that. 

12. Don’t stop

If you feel you have to find a job, perhaps for security, then get yourself secure and go back to the drawing board. Once you’ve ticked your basic needs as being met, go back and focus on what you really want. Don’t stop until you reach a place where you emerge happier, more confident and more fulfilled in your work than you were before. That way you get to choose how this story ends. Maybe it wasn’t your choice but you can reclaim control by re-writing the ending. 

If you know someone who is facing redundancy please share this with them. Even if they look unfazed on the outside, inside could be a whole world of self doubt. 

In Part 2 we’re going to explore how to move from a job you feel stuck in to identifying your passion and purpose, and in part 3 we’ll be looking at how to overcome fear and finally hand in your notice  

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The Leaders Guide to Finding Passion and Purpose in your work

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